How 3D Printing in Multiple Colours Works

Nov 6, 2017 | 3D Printing

With the increase in popularity in 3D printing, it makes sense that it wouldn’t just stop at black and white, but also explores multicolour printing. Multicolour printing is an interesting 3D printing technique that allows your 3D project seem more lifelike in full colour.

Why is 3D Multicolour Printing so Important?

To date, the use of 3D printing was for creating prototypes for products, and these physical models were important because they provided critical information. However, a lot of objects contain multiple colours and materials, meaning that most forms of regular 3D printing were not deemed adequate. Being able to print in multiple colours makes for creating usable parts/products. Some of the other benefits are that it:

  • Makes the printing process more efficient
  • Allows for more detailed models
  • Reduces the number of post-processing steps
  • Is more cost-efficient

Now there are a range of solutions to allow makers to print in different colours. Here are some of the methods that they use:

Method One: Printing Objects Separately

This involves breaking a single CAD model into individual parts based off of colour. This actually requires a lot of pre-processing, in order for it to be precise for a smooth finish. One of the positives of this method is that if there is anything wrong with any individual part of the model, it can just be reprinted separately.

This method is also accessible to desktop users because it only requires a single extruder, making this a cost effective solution.

Method Two: Pausing Mid Print

This is a similar method to the first one since it involves multiple colours and a single extruder, but it involves less pre-processing and produces an entire single model rather than multiple parts. To do this, you just pause the printing halfway through and change the filament feeding in the extruder. One thing to consider is that, while you can do a multicolour print with this method, you can only do it in layers.

Method Three: Printing with Multiple Nozzles

This method requires multiple extruders, and it uses fused deposition modeling techniques to form models. What is different about this method is that instead of using a single nozzle, separate nozzles are used for each spool of filament, and each nozzle will represent one colour that will be used. This method is more or less automatic since everything is done by the machine. There is no manual changing of the spools of filament or dealing with any processing and assembly afterwards.

Method Four: One Nozzle with Multiple Spools of Filament

This method consists of feeding multiple spools of filament into a single nozzle. This helps with any existing calibration issues, and is a great low cost way of getting good results without the added expenses of multiple nozzles.

In conclusion, multicolour 3D printing is a great way to create reproductions of various parts and products at a low cost with a more simplified process.



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