Multicolor print head allows RepRap to print rainbows

Multicolor 3D printers have been around for a while, but most of these machines – like the Makerbot Replicator – suffer from alignment problems and the inability to mix colors on the fly. [RichRap] came up with an interesting solution to this problem by having three filament extruders feed into a single hot end, allowing him to change and mix colors on the fly.

To print in multiple colors, [RichRap] developed a three-extruder x carriage that sends colored filament to a single hot end. Unlike the Makerbot Replicator, [Rich]‘s extruder can mix and blend different colors into each layer of a print.

The electronics portion of the build, [RichRap] controlled the X, Y, and Z axes of his printer with a RAMPS board, but used a slightly modified Sanguinololu board for the extruder motors. A single motor driver for the extruders is connected to a trio of toggle switches, allowing [RichRap] to switch between filaments on the fly.

[Rich] has a very cool build on his hands, but it’s far from a perfect solution. Right now, any one of the three colors can be used to print, but printing with two or three colors simultaneously requires a change in the firmware. We expect someone to solve this problem in the near future, allowing the holy grail of a CMYK print head to come to fruition.

You can see a demo video of [RichRap]‘s tri-color print head after the break.

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Multicolor RepRap prints the really, really hard way

[Adrian Bowyer] just posted his progress with multicolored printing to the RepRap blog.

The new developments are a continuation of [Adrian]‘s experiments with a mixer extruder that squirts four different colored filaments out of the same nozzle. [Myles Corbett] took this idea and ran with it producing the two-color print seen above. To squirt two different colored filaments out of the nozzle, [Myles] used two Bowden extruders mounted near the apex of the RepRap with tubes leading to the nozzle. Right now, the color of a print is controlled by loosening the grip screws of the extruder, but there are plans for moving that task over to electronic control of the extruders.

While it may be only black and white now, it’ll be a very interesting development once five extruders are loaded up with cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and white filament. Yes, it is now theoretically possible to print full-color 3D objects on a RepRap. While we’re not looking forward towards having to upgrade our one-motor extruder to a four- or five-motor model, the possibilities for desktop fabrication are becoming amazing.

Hackaday Links: October 28th, 2011

An accidental radial engine

Hack A Day’s very own [Jeremy Cook] was trying to figure out how to push four ‘arms’ out one at a time. What he came up with is a very nice model of a radial engine. Everything was cut on a CNC router and a motor from an air freshener provides the power.

Using a candle to produce light

[Chris] sent in his Candela Amplifier. It’s a Pentium 4 heat sink with a very bright Cree Xlamp LED attached to the base. A bunch of Peltier thermoelectric units are attached to the underside of the heat sink. Put the whole thing on top of a candle, and you can light a room. With a candle. Oh, he’s selling these, by the way.

Objectification and video games?!

We really feel sorry for our lady readers. Guys have so many choices for Halloween costumes, but just about every costume available for women can be reduced to, “Sexy [noun].” Whelp, here’s the Sexy Game Boy, just in time for Halloween. [kazmataz] gets a few bonus points because she went with the DMG-01. It’s better than Sexy Chewbacca, so she’s got that going.

Prototypable 32-bit uCs

[Ng Yong Han] wrote in to tell us about some newish 32-bit PICs that are floating around. The datasheet for the PIC32MX1xx/2xx chips is pretty interesting – USB support and an audio and graphics interface. Oh, they come in PDIPs for ease of prototyping as well. We haven’t seen much from the PIC microcontroller faction recently (Atmel is winning the holy war, it seems). Anybody feel like building something with these?

Makerbot dual extruder


[Lomo] at TU-Berlin is taking a class in rapid prototyping. He built a second print head for his department’s Makerbot Cupcake with a few other students. The result are pretty impressive, although from what we’ve seen, it’s generating the G-code that’s a pain in the butt.

Multicolor 3D prints the hard way

After drooling over the Makerbot dual-head extruder, [Brett] decided to get off his duff and make a proper multi-color print.

[Brett] has been making a few bottle openers for friends and has been successfully experimenting with switching filaments in the middle of a print. For his “Saturday Killer” bottle opener, he decided to push multicolored prints to the limit. For the “Saturday Killer,” [Brett] decided to print an abridged version of the classic Simpsons quote, “Beer, the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems” on the side of a bottle opener in 4 different colors.

The files necessary to print the Saturday Killer were generated in OpenSCAD. The general principle behind the design is to generate separate .STL files for the bottle opener and the sides, split those files into 2-layer chunks, and print those files while constantly adjusting the z-height. It’s not called the Saturday Killer for nothing, so [Brett] had to change the color of his filament 25 times.

A much simpler version of a complex multi-color print is [Brett]‘s Shepard Fairey inspired self-portrait. Still, we’re thinking a dual head extruder is somewhere in [Brett]‘s future. At least he’s got the technique down.

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