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LesHall

MultiColor / MultiMaterial Filaments

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Hey folks, I've got a fun 3D printing technique to share with you.  Back in October of 2016 I imagined this technique and shared it via email with two fellow enthusiasts.  Now I'm revisiting the topic for fun (and maybe to try to earn a little cash).  It could be that in the two years since it has gotten out into the widely known culture, I don't know.  Here it is in a nutshell.  

 

Let's take some filament in different colors and/or different materials and splice it into mixed segments forming a spool that varies in type along it's length.  Next let's write a slicing program that begins with a certain color/material and prints with each segment onto the printed object in such a way that desired colors are printed where they are desired and printed in discard piles where they are not desired.  Then we get a multicolored / multimaterial object plus a (probably) large amount of wasted filament, all printed on just a single nozzle 3D printer.  

 

That's it.  There are a lot of details to discuss including ways to splice the filament, how to synch the colors, sudden or gradual transitions between colors, PLA based exotics, and probably other relevant details.  If anyone would like to discuss this, here I am.  

 

Les

 

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Thank  you for your replies ahoeben and Smithy.  Yes those are similar yet different enough to be of different purpose.  Here's why.  

ahoeben's link goes to the Palette which does filament chopping and splicing to create exactly what this idea accomplishes, but with almost zero waste.  However it's cost is $600 to $900 depending on what you buy and there is no 2.85mm solution, only 1.75mm.  

 

Smithy's link is really cool also, a rainbow filament that paints rainbow colors in your print.  This one does a similar thing but does not place colors in a controlled way.  

 

It was the kind of stuff you show that led me to think of the one I imagined.  The difference here is that no or nearly no equipment is required, just buy or make the special filament and accurately position it in your printer, use the special slicer to make your gcode, and let it print.  

 

 

I hope that's a little more clear.  Your examples are helpful, thanks again.  

 

Les

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So you mean, your solution is like the rainbow spool, but in a controlled way. Means you slice the object with your slicer, get some information on how which filament with the exact length you should splice together and then print off this spool your object, right?

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The way you mention is pretty close.  In fact, in the original emails that is one idea that arose.  

 

The original version is a little bit different.  You buy or make a spool of pre-sliced filament.  This spool has say:  black and white filament alternating with lengths of 100mm each.  So we have 100mm black, 100mm white, 100mm black, 100mm white and so on.  

 

We slice the STL file with a custom slicer that knows this and directs filament where needed, either filament where optional (such as infill), and discard prints on the corners and edges when fast-forward (waste) printing is required.  

 

Then we line up the filament by feeding it in and extruding it until black shows (clearer color to see) and then run the gcode from the slicer.  If all goes well we get a gray-scale (dithered) black-and white object.  

 

Does that make the idea a bit "clearer" (pun intended)?

 

Les

 

p.s. if we are making our own filament, then the approach you mention uses less waste.  If we are buying the filament then it is the opposite.  Or so I believe.  

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