Most 3D printing applied sciences can solely print in a single coloration. For almost all of makers, creating multi-colored prints requires that you simply use paint or different post-processing methods so as to add coloration afterwards. For advanced objects, portray afterwards will not be an choice and the one answer is to print the half in coloration from the beginning. On this tutorial, we’ll be going over 5 methods for including coloration to your 3D prints. We’ll begin with decrease price choices like filament swapping and twin extrusion, and work our means as much as costly and industrial choices like PolyJet and Binder Jetting.
Colour Equipment Resin
SLA Resins have conventionally been out there solely in a small variety of colours chosen by the producer. For these much less educated in regards to the SLA printing course of, develop your understanding with this information. Limitations within the coloration choice of SLA resins restricts the power of product designers and engineers to create fashions which have the identical visible look of their closing prototypes.
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The newly launched Colour Equipment by Formlabs permits product designers and engineers to create looks-like prototypes of their designs with the standard and floor end SLA is understood for. Colour Equipment begins as a White base resin that Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Black, and White is added to so as to create a full spectrum of various coloration choices. Every of the parts for the controller within the header picture had been made utilizing the brand new Colour Equipment.
Filament swapping is a method utilized in FDM printing which lets you use completely different colours for various layers of your mannequin. It’s a comparatively easy course of and will be finished on most FDM machines:
- Pause the print the place you wish to swap out colours
- Elevate the nozzle 20mm within the Z axis utilizing your management software program
- Retract the prevailing filament
- Extrude the brand new filament till you see the colour change
- Take away the extruded filament
- Decrease the Z axis 20mm to the unique place
- Resume the print
This methodology is nice for issues like logos or plaques with extruded textual content. The underside portion of the mannequin will be printed in a single coloration after which modified to spotlight the higher parts. This may be finished as many occasions as you’d like however is usually a bit tedious and is commonly difficult to get proper.
Filament dyeing, very like filament swapping, permits you to coloration completely different layers in your mannequin. This system works greatest with nylon filament. Nylon is infamous for absorbing moisture and must be saved in a dry or sealed setting, however it’s this property that additionally permits it to readily take in material dye. We’ve discovered that Rit dye works greatest for this course of, and for a extra in-depth tutorial, take a look at our weblog on the 5 Steps to Tie Dye Filament. We’ll give a fast rundown of the method right here.
- Wrap your filament right into a coil and safe it with string or zip ties
- Boil water and blend in your Rit Dye
- Place a bit of your nylon filament within the answer for as much as 10 minutes
- Take away and repeat for the remaining sections utilizing as many colours as you’d like
This course of can produce some fairly spectacular outcomes, however provides little or no management over the position of various colours in your mannequin. Many nylon filaments require excessive extrusion temperatures, upwards of 245C, which is larger than many hotends can deal with. For a decrease temperature nylon, take a look at Taulman’s Nylon 230.
Printers with a number of extruders have traditionally run into challenges with reliability and ease-of-use, however the expertise continues to enhance. Twin-extrusion printers perform by having a number of extruders feed differing kinds and/or colours of filament right into a hotend or hotends. There are two principal methods for doing this.
The extra fashionable contains two or extra extruders and two or extra hotends. Every extruder feeds filament to a single hotend which is used to print a bit of the mannequin. The variety of extruders used straight correlates with the variety of completely different colours or supplies that can be utilized.
A more moderen and fewer frequent approach for multi-extrusion entails one hotend and a number of extruders. Every of the extruders feeds to a coupling and just one extruder is lively at a time. The lively extruder continues to feed filament to the hotend. For otherwise coloured sections, the lively extruder stops and one other takes over. The residual filament within the hotend is ‘purged’ till the brand new materials begins to move. This system eliminates most of the calibration challenges related to typical multi-extrusion and is the method used for the multi-extrusion improve on the Prusa Mk II.
One of many larger advantages of dual-extrusion is the power to print your object and helps individually. This lets you use water soluble supplies like PVA as assist constructions. After printing, your half will be submerged in water or an analogous suitable solvent to dissolve the helps.
Filament splicing is a method that permits you to produce selectively coloured prints with a single extruder and hotend. The Palette is among the extra fashionable units for splicing filament. It takes in as much as 4 completely different colours and ‘splices’ them collectively right into a single steady strand.
That is just like filament swapping and dyeing, however the palette is autonomous that means you will be extra selective with which elements of your mannequin are coloured. The palette will routinely splice completely different filaments into the required configuration to paint the sections you’re searching for. This system is nice for including coloration to your prints however doesn’t work as nicely for dissimilar supplies. Strategies like printing the helps and object individually work much less nicely on the palette each as a result of splicing dissimilar supplies is difficult and since the completely different supplies require completely different print settings.
Supported Applied sciences
There are a number of printing applied sciences that permit multi-color printing by default although these are presently out there solely in skilled stage machines.
PolyJet is a course of by which small droplets of photo-polymer resin are ‘jetted’ onto an object after which cured by a UV mild. Some PolyJet machines can coloration these droplets previous to deposition producing a full-color 3D half. PolyJet machines may print in a number of supplies with one of many extra frequent examples being the usage of a wax-like materials for assist constructions that’s melted out through a heated chamber after printing.
Binder jetting is a special course of by which a binder or glue-like substance is deposited onto a powderized substrate. On this case, the binder is coloured previous to being deposited. Binder jetting typically produces much less crisp outcomes in contrast PolyJet as a result of the dye bleeds into surrounding powder. Each PolyJet and binder jetting are industrial stage processes that aren’t but accessible to hobbyists.
New methods for printing in a number of supplies or including coloration to your designs are all the time being developed. These are a number of the hottest strategies presently and provide a various vary of prices and required gear. If you happen to’re extra focused on portray, keep tuned for an upcoming weblog publish that can educate you the fundamentals of portray your printed elements.