About the Nimble

The Nimble, in all its glory

A bit of history

The Nimble was born out of frustration. While designing a new 3D printer, we wanted to optimise every aspect of it. After a dig through all the available options for an extruder, we concluded that none of them met our requirements. So we took an existing concept and pushed it a lot further. We added some innovations and reduced the size and weight.  

Requirements

So what are these requirements that drove us to develop our own? The list is pretty long, but here are the main points:

  • Light of weight
    It has to be as light as possible. Weight matters in print quality and speed.
  • Ease of use
    We want an extruder that is simple to use, easy to load and easy to keep clean.
  • Adaptable
    We know there are so many variations out there, we need this Nimble to be able to fit in everywhere.
  • Ambidextrous
    For our printer we need a shape that works left handed and right handed.

Overall, I think we came pretty close to the optimum on all these points. Let's take a closer look.

Nimble on the scale, 25.7 grams

The weight of the Nimble, including all the nuts and bolts needed to mount and use, is an amazing 27 grams. Now that is light! OK, I know, the scale reads 25.7 grams, but we prefer to have a little margin. We estimate that the production process itself will add another 0.6 grams. 

The low weight is done by optimising the shape of the Nimble, minimising material use and reducing the overall size. We started out with 56 grams and through our development managed to get it down to this.

The Nimble has a breech loading system. This means, it never has been as easy to load filament before. Simply open the breech, see the top of the hot end, slide the filament into the hot end and close the breech. It is that simple.

Here we are using yellow neon TPU filament to show the filament path as clearly as possible. You can see the V6 Lite tip and the filament sliding in. 

 Open breech, neon filament inserted

Openings to clear out chaff

To clean the filament chaff out of the extruder, simply blow some air into the special opening. How does this work? Simple really, we designed a garbage chute for the chaff. It is transported down into the "leg" of the Nimble and a puff of air blows it out. Here we used a blue Nimble to better show the openings.

Internally there is a whole channel that collects and dumps the chaff down the chute. 

The interesting thing is, why did we bother? The hobbed wheel is designed to minimise chaff and it does. But by then we had already designed and implemented the cleaning system. 

Because of the open breech it is also very simple to clean the hobbed wheel itself. A custom "click in" brush is coming.

We are working on a wide range of adapters that will allow you to mount the Nimble on almost any printer. Instead of having to buy a complete new unit, simply print or buy a small adapter and mount the Nimble. 

For instance, you decide to upgrade to a Chimera hot end. You don't have to buy a complete new double extruder, simply add another Nimble and our mounting plate. Or buy the kit that adds only those parts you need to make it a Dual. This makes the Nimble the best dual extruder.

The list of adapters is growing, but here is a short sample of a few. 

Delta printer like Rostock, Kossel, BI V2.5, and others. Sometimes a complete unit including an effector, sometimes a simple adapter like the Groove mount adapter. We even have a Diamond nozzle unit with 3 Nimbles.

Corexy and cartesian printers like Ultimaker, DBot, Vulcanus, Prusa i3 and clones. For instance, we have developed a nice adapter to mount 2 Nimbles on a Prusa i3. It has mounting options for 4 different calibration sensors. Again, this is work based on a lot of other peoples development efforts, as described on our Thingiverse page.

Ambidextrous. That was a challenge. To make sure that the unit could be simply turned over and used that way. The fact that we were aiming to use adapters made it a bit easier. So now it is easy to position the Nimble in the best way possible. If it doesn't fit one way, flip it over and it will fit that way. This also allows us to move 2 Nimbles close together. In fact, the minimum distance between 2 filament paths can be as little as 12 mm. 

We are using 2 different colours to better show you what is going on. Also, the yellow neon filament makes a return to show you how close the filaments can be. 

 Proof that the Nimble is ambidextrous

 

Convinced? Get your Nimble today

The results

The results are easy to see. The Nimble is a very compact, easy to use direct drive extruder that produces great results.

Have a look at our Youtube channel to see the Nimble in action. I particularly like the video of printing 4 different filaments, ranging from Ninjaflex to carbon fiber.

Of course we also have a few photos of prints we made.