How To: Multi-Colored 3D Printing

People are always interested in how they can create 3D printed objects with multiple colors. Sure, you can buy a printer with multiple extruders, but those are costly and not always reliable. Using three methods, I’m going to show you how to make some cool colorful prints!

There are three different methods: Filament Switch, Sharpie-Coloring and Spray-Painting Filament.

Filament Switch

The Filament Switch process is something I figured out a few years back. Someone asked if I could I print in multiple colors without a dual-extruder. I answered “Maybe”, because I wasn’t quite sure, and eventually I figured out an easy way! Using this method, you are able to get a look similar to this:

colorful_vase

So all you need is at least two different colored spools of filament, and a printer of course!

I have some Hatchbox purple and orange filament

Hatchbox_opt

  1. Load your first color and start your print. Once you find a point where you want to change colors, pause the print.
  2. Go to the Controls and raise the Z-axis up 10mm.
  3. Then retract the current filament from the extruder and replace it with the next color.
  4. Extrude just a little bit until you see some filament seep out.
    • Do all this without moving the printer or else you’ll ruin your print!
  5. Now lower the z-axis by 10mm.
  6. Continue the print and repeat those steps as many times as you want.

This is how my print turned out using the Filament Switch method to achieving multi-colored prints.

froggy_opt(For Reference, I’m using this file on Thingiverse, a Garden Frog.)

Sharpie-Coloring

Using this method will give you some cool vibrant multi-colored layers. All you need is few sharpies and white or clear filament.

Sharpie_Holder

To get started, print one of the marker holders in the picture (above).

sharpie-holder_opt (1)

So you just stick the sharpies on the side and insert the filament through the middle hole as shown in the picture (above). This technique puts you in complete control of how your print would look, which is awesome!

froggy2.0

Here’s how my print turned out, I switched out sharpies every 15-20 minutes and it turned out pretty sweet.

Here are some pictures from a cool guy who took Sharpie-Coloring to another level, Tom Burtonwood.

tburtonwood1_opt

(Instagram:Tom Burtonwood)

tburtonwood4_opt

(Instagram:Tom Burtonwood)

tburtonwood2_opt

(Instagram:Tom Burtonwood)

He created a cool little gadget using a Arduino and a servo which turns the sharpie in increments. You can check it out on Thingiverse.

Spray-Painting

Lastly is the Spray-Painting Technique, this is something I came across a few months ago. I’m pretty new to this technique so I wouldn’t highly recommend this one yet. So far, I’ve gotten pretty good results.

I did only one coat front and back. You don’t want to rush the drying process, spray paint doesn’t take that long to dry but, I sat it to out to dry for a few days to eliminate any fumes.

Spray Paint also has a flammable property, aerosol, that you shouldn’t have to worry much about, it evaporates pretty quickly. Just use it in a well-ventilated area (outside is best) and give it to time dry!

Here’s the final results:

20160425_162853 (1)_opt

File from Thingiverse: Giant Crystal

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