The average cost of a desktop 3D printer has dropped like a stone over the last few years. They went from a piece of equipment you had to wait your turn to use at the hackerspace to something you can pick up on Prime Day, which has definitely been a good thing for our community. But to get the price down, these printers are almost exclusively running single extruder setups with no provision for multi-material printing other than swapping the filament manually.
From a practical standpoint, that’s not much of a problem. But wanting to add a little visual flair to his prints, [Devin Montes] came up with a simple 3D printed mount that holds the tip of up to three Sharpie permanent markers against the filament as it enters the top of the extruder. When used with white or translucent filaments, these markers can give the final print an interesting splash of color. Obviously it’s not true multi-color 3D printing, but it can certainly make for some attractive decorative objects.
The mount is designed for the Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer, which is relatively well suited to such a contraption as it has a direct drive extruder and there’s plenty of clearance for the markers to stick up. The concept could certainly be adapted to other printers, but it might be a little trickier in the case of a Bowden extruder or an i3 clone that has frame components running over the top. It sounds like [Devin] is working on a generic version of the marker holder that can work on other printers, so it should be interesting to see how he addresses these issues.
Technically this isn’t a new concept, as makers were pulling off similar tricks back in the earliest days of desktop 3D printing. But this is an especially well-implemented version of the idea, and if [Devin] can really come up with a mount that will work on a wider array of hardware, we could certainly see it becoming a popular way to make printed projects a bit more exciting.