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Candy Cane Filament Concept

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Posted · Candy Cane Filament Concept

This is yet another way to print dual-color or dual-material objects with a single nozzle printer. It's so simple I can't believe it's not being done yet (and I have occasionally mentioned it to folks for over a year now). It goes like this.

In the filament manufacture process, create a "candy cane" filament (for lack of a better name) with 10cm alternating segments of each material. For example, the popular PVA and PLA would be a good place to start. 10cm of PVA followed by 10cm of PLA followed by 10cm of PVA and so on for the entire length of the filament.

Then write a slicer that directs the printer using standard G-code to print with discard areas between segments of each material. For example, print 2.5cm of waste, 5cm of PVA, 2.5 cm of waste and the first segment of PVA is done. Then flush with 2.5cm of PLA, use up to 5cm of PLA if and as much as required, and finish with 2.5cm of waste. The waste draws meaningless shapes in the corners.

Of course, the operator must load the filament with the start of a PVA segment leading the way. And so it goes, alternating, wasting a lot, printing a little, and making the desired object with typical Ultimaker quality. It's a wasteful approach, for sure, however it does require absolutely no equipment purchase or installation. You just buy a spool of this candy cane filament, install the slicer, and print to your heart's content.

If spliced filament is not your style because it tends to snap every so often, consider nylon filament dyed as RGB (or RYB, or whatever works) for true color prints, tye dye prints, patriotic prints, company logo prints, or any kind of print requiring multiple colors. Well, the mind can run amok with ideas here but what I would suggest is a simple test with a well written slicer and a two color dyed nylon for strength and simplicity. I could maybe just barely handle the task. Could you?


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