Programmable Filament For Multicolor Printing

Programmable Filament For Multicolor Printing

A recent research paper shows a way to create multicolored 3D prints from a single extruder if you’re too lazy to babysit the machine and change filament. The concept: Print your own “programmable” filament with the right colors in the right place. This is the same idea as splicing filament manually, but is likely to be more efficient because the process works with one color at a time and does not repeat itself. In other words, to print the 64 squares of a chessboard, you would swap the filament at least 64 times on each layer. With programmable filament, you load a spool, print half the filament, load another spool, print the other half, and finally load the newly created filament and print the checkerboard. Note that the first two operations do not print the chessboard. You print the spool of filament that you go through on the third pass.

There are machines out there, of course, that are made for this, although generally they just stitch lengths of filament together for you automatically. Using a filament solves the problems of aligning multiple heads, as well as the added cost and complexity. However, you now have different problems such as: B. the transition between materials and knowing exactly how much material will be at each point of the print.

We were wondering how much filament you can print spooled on a properly sized print bed. According to the paper:

The maximum length of a printed filament depends to a large extent on the building area, which depends on the type of 3D printer. With a bed size of 300 × 300 mm, a spirally printed filament can be approximately 20 m long.

Printing the work thread is also time consuming. The paper reports that a boat that took two hours to print took five hours to print the programmable filament. We suppose it’s still better than replacing a few pieces of plastic by hand.

Oddly enough, the inspiration for this paper came from an Instructable. If this is what you want to try, you should check out the videos on how to print hexagonal filaments of different colors there.

If the idea of ​​printing filaments seems strange, we’ve seen it before. Of course, you don’t need any equipment at all if you are patient and willing to lie about it.

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