3D Print Your Own Multi-Color Filament

Interested in experimenting with your own multi-color filament? [Turbo_SunShine] says to just print your own, and experiment away! Now, if you’re thinking that 3D printing some filament sounds inefficient at best (and a gimmick at worst) you’re not alone. But there’s at least one use case that it makes sense for, and maybe others as well.

Printing with bi-color filament results in an object whose color depends on viewing angle, and part geometry.

There is such a thing as bi-color filament (like MatterHackers Quantum PLA) which can be thought of as filament that is split down the center into two different colors. Printing with such filament can result in some trippy visuals, like objects whose color depends in part on the angle from which they are viewed. Of course, for best results it makes sense to purchase a factory-made spool, but for light experimenting, it’s entirely possible to 3D print your own bi-color filament. Back when [Turbo_SunShine] first shared his results, this kind of stuff wasn’t available off the shelf like it is today, but the technique can still make sense in cases where buying a whole spool isn’t called for.

Here is how it works: the 3D model for filament is a spiral that is the right diameter for filament, printed as a solid object. The cross-section of this printed “filament” is a hexagon rather than a circle, which helps get consistent results. To make bi-color filament, one simply prints the first half of the object in one color, then performs a color change, and finishes the print with a second color. End result? A short coil of printed “filament”, in two colors, that is similar enough to the normal thing to be fed right back into the printer that created it. This gallery of photos from [_Icarus] showcases the kind of results that are possible.

What do you think? Is 3D printing filament mainly an exercise in inefficiency, or is it a clever leveraging of a printer’s capabilities? You be the judge, but it’s pretty clear that some interesting results can be had from the process. Take a few minutes to check out the video (embedded below) for some additional background.

11 thoughts on “3D Print Your Own Multi-Color Filament

      1. Stephan from CNC Kitchen did this a while ago, mimicking some super specialized filament that is supposed to be extra strong. ABS with a nylon core IIRC.

        TPU does has a lot of nice properties, i wonder if there is some advantage to blending it with something else.

  1. I did this a few years ago, using black and red filament. I then printed out a few different Mjolnir models with it. It gave the hammers a nice slightly rusty cast iron look.

  2. From what I’ve seen those dual extrusion filaments tend to be slightly oval in shape as well. Still the same sectional area as a round 1.75mm filament though. But the ovality helps keep the filament aligned in the extruder gears and helps keep it from spinning at all

    1. Unfortunately, that wasn’t my experience. The multicolored “filament” liked to twist during printing, when I wanted it to stay put and keep each color on its own side.

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