How 3D Printing in Multiple Colors Works

Have you ever thought about printing something with color mixed into the layers? Now various options are available on the market to create colorful 3D Prints.

In this guide, we share our experience on how 3D printing in multiple colors works.

Yes! it’s doable and here are a couple of things to consider.

What’s Multi Color 3D Printing?

Multicolor 3D printing directly applies colors in the 3D printed object, and it allows different color combinations using just one printer.

The printer lay down thin layers of sandstone powder or liquid plastic using PolyJet technology. The printer applies color to each layer and binds it together until the print is completed.

2 Major Options are:

  • Direct color 3D printing – Color is derived from the filaments in an FDM printer
  • Indirect color 3D printing – Color is applied from an external source to the filament during the printing process

There are also divided into 3 main color 3D printing technologies:

  • Binder Jetting
  • Selective Deposition Lamination
  • Polyjet

Direct Color 3D Printing

The user can use a single extruder printer by assigning multiple tasks within the slicking software.

The G Code will instruct the printer to print with a single color filament, then a new filament is swapped out and the print continues.

This is the technique used for single extruder printers, and they do require constant monitoring of the printing process.

There are also single extruder 3D printers that can easily print up to 4 different color filaments at the same time by fusing them into a single multicolored filament strand.

Indirect Color 3D Printing

Indirect colored 3D printing applies the color from the external source to the filament. It’s a lot more precise and allows for a more realistic appearance of the 3D prints.

However, this process requires a bit more professional knowledge.

There are 3 types of color printing technologies available today:

  • ColorJet Technology – Up to 36,000 colors. Print with fine, sandstone-like powder. It works by laying the material, then apply color that adheres to the layer (Process repeats)
  • PolyJet Technology – Works with liquid resin and can print as much as 16 microns with a good surface finish. Color is cured with UV light, and it can adjust the level of color transparency
  • Mimaki – Up to 10 million+ full colors 3D printing. A layer of powder material is spread and then pigmented resin is mixed with the inkjet head. Finally, the UV cures the resin into a solid state.

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