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How to print text in a second color


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Posted · How to print text in a second color

I am designing a small electronic enclosure and would like to add text (for ports) in a different color.I have the two color printing more or less sorted out but am running into a fair bit of contamination of the base model with the color of the text and the text is a bit spotty as well.

Before I start digging into all possibilities, I would like to do a sanity check about the practical size/definition limits of two color text.

The way I am attempting to do the text is to cut out the text shape from the base model and the cut out portion is assigned to the second color. In the real world the printer prints the base model with empty space where the text is and then comes back to fill the empty space with the second (text) color.

My questions:

1) what is the smallest text that can be reasonably printed - is it reasonable to print text that is one layer wide ?

2) is there a preferred orientation for text? I tried both printing flat (less contamination) and upright (more contamination but better definition)

3) is there a better way to get text on a model (should I design the text as laying on top of a solid model, should I print a solid layer of text color and then overlay it with a layer of base color that has the text shape cut out?)

4) am I trying to do something that a two color printer just wasn't designed to do?

5) any other thoughts ?


Thanks in advance for any input!


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    Posted · How to print text in a second color

    I have printed text as small as 9 points using a 0.25mm nozzle (3DSolex) on my UM3 machines.  I have only done so when placing the letters on the substrate, not within the substrate.  Try a 0.15 layer and choose a sans serif font.  My best results have been with Arial Rounded because the end of the strokes are round not squared off.

    I have printed personalize dog tags for our family dog as well as some small plaques in this matter.  I'll post some pictures later today.

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    Posted · How to print text in a second color

    That is even better than I had imagined! Well done and thank you for posting the pictures.

    I will redo my design and see what I can come up with now that I know what is possible.

    Thank you !

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    Posted · How to print text in a second color

    The more I try, the more I am impressed with your results in the pictures.

    Could I ask what kind of printing temperature you are using ? I don't know if it was mentioned but I am assuming you print in PLA?  I can't quite tell but the dog tags are printed with a solid white layer below a cutout black layer so the white shows through the cutouts ?

    My results with printing on top have not been much more successful as the inset text. A bit of an improvement but the small quantity of extrusion still prints spotty even with a substantial priming.

    I am printing a 0.15 mm layer but still have the 0.4 mm nozzle.


    I will be trying the solid layer with a top layer with a cutout next.


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    Posted · How to print text in a second color

    Yes, all of the examples are printed in PLA.  All of the lettering you see in the photos was printed on top of the substrate.  I have never tried to print with the letters embedded in the substrate.  That would be considerably more difficult because the two nozzles would have to be really well calibrated to each other.  The TUCKER dog tag is a solid black PLA tag printed with a 0.4 nozzle, and the letters and border around the edge are Ultimaker Silver printed with the 3DSolex 0.25 nozzle.  I printed these parts rather slow 20mm/s.  Also, depending on the size of the text, the usefulness of the 0.25 nozzle can't be over emphasized.

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    Posted · How to print text in a second color

    I think with embedded text you will more likely run into issues with strings, blobs and gaps, ruining the aesthetics, than with raised text. Recessed text (pits) is also likely to give issues: the pits getting closed-down, just like small circular holes.


    The smallest text that I can print and that is legible is 3.5mm high characters (caps height), with legs of 0.5mm wide. This on an UM2 with 0.4mm nozzle, and of course single nozzle and single color. So it has to be recessed or raised text, or hollowed-out (watermark) in transparent materials. This is *not suitable* for aesthetic purposes, it doesn't come close to the beautifull prints of XYZDesignPro, but it is good enough for simple technical labels, such as on the back or bottom of equipment.


    The reason why I use 0.5mm wide legs instead of 0.4mm (nozzle size), is that in corners the legs often get a little bit narrower than 0.5mm, e.g. 0.48mm (and sometimes a bit wider too, but that doesn't matter). If this was on a 0.40mm leg and it would get 0.38mm, it might not slice correctly and too thin parts might be dropped.


    Printing slow and cool also helps improving quality.


    I have a couple of test-plates with recessed, raised and hollowed-out text. Feel free to try them or to use them as inspiration.

    See here (scroll down a bit to "character set..."):



    This is what such text looks like:






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    Posted (edited) · How to print text in a second color

    These were printed on my old UM2, but again with a 0.25 nozzle. (Olsson Block).  What type of printer are you using?













    Edited by XYZDesignPro
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    Posted · How to print text in a second color

    I am using a Creality CR10-S5 for the mechanics, a Duet wifi for the controller, a chimera with volcano heatblock for the hot end. I have checked my stash of spare parts and I do not have a smaller nozzle. For now this arrangement will have to do.

    I will see if I can get some smaller nozzles specifically for lettering.

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