Palette is a tool from Canada’s Mosaic Manufacturing. Instead of requiring multi-nozzles or upgrades to the printer, this Arduino-based system works side by side with a FFF 3D printer to create multi-material objects in up to four different colors.
No extra nozzles needed
FFF 3D printed multicolor objects are commonly made by using multiple nozzles. However, the calibration of more than one nozzle at the time is tricky, and without stopper systems the multiple ends can drip materials onto the print. It also can make print times longer.
Instead Palette chops up multiple filament feeds to make a custom filament. It is hooked up directly to a 3D printer, and works the same as a typical spool of filament, i.e. the custom filament is then fed to the hot end.
Up to 4 different filaments cab be loaded into the bottom of the machine. A teflon tube is then connected to a 3D printer’s extruder to feed the multicolor filament into the print.
In addition to calculating the exact amount needed for each different colored part, the clever device also calculates run-off of the filament in between changing colors.
The diagram below shows the inner mechanisms of a Palette system.
- The drive system that measures out the filament’s length.
- A rotary cutter used to slice the filaments.
- Where the system connects cut filaments together.
- The patent pending cooling device to ensure the filament stays at 1.75mm.
- External to the machine, the scroll wheel monitors the amount of filament being used to 3D print an object.
3D printing with Palette
3D printing with Palette starts with a multicolor 3D model. This is sliced in Simplify 3D or Cura, giving each different colored part its own process – with this, a user is effectively fooling the software that it will be 3D printed using 4 different nozzles.
The .gcode from slicing software is the imported in to Mosaic Manufacturing’s Chroma software. Here users select the desired colour for each part, and then feed filament into the corresponding slots, 1, 2, 3 & 4.
If you’ve used Palette system before or have an idea for a project, let us know in the comments section below.
Featured image shows a Squirtle army 3D printed on single nozzle Dremel using Mosaic Manufacturing Palette color mixer. Design by Flowalistik. Photo by Michael Petch