We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
Mosaic Manufacturing has just launched the Pallete project on Kickstarter, an addon for your existing 3D printer that will give you the ability to print with up to four colors, or materials with different properties, thus giving your printer additional abilities beyond being able to print single color plastic objects. By getting the Pallete you can essentially skip the upgrade cycle of buying a new expensive printer and keep using your favorite slicer, and use whatever filament supplier you want. The best this is that the Palette isn’t limited to just different colors – you can add in many of today’s exotic filaments, like Conductive, Carbon Fiber Infused, Stainless Steel Infused and Woodfill, just to name a few.
The Palette takes in four filament inputs and combines them together into a single filament output. Everything is done automatically, from the order of the filaments, to their exact length, to make sure every color or material shows up exactly where it should be. If your printer uses open 1.75mm filament, has access to the filament feed, and runs on .gcode or .x3g then you should be able to unleash it’s true potential with The Palette. The Palette requires no modifications, wiring, or hardware changes to your printer. Because of this, it’s compatible with a wide range of printers. The Palette lets you continue to use your favorite modeling and slicer programs. Design in your current modeling program, process with your favorite slicer and then run the output through the Palette application and it should give you the modified .gcode/.x3g file for your printer and the .SEEM file for the Palette. The best thing is that the makers of the device are open sourcing all of the software and firmware so you can add in any features you’d like to see… like for example mixing multiple colors to create gradients or a different color could be a possibility.
The project was just launched on Kickstarter and it has already reached its goal of $75000 Canadian Dollars and all of the early bird units are already not available. You can get in line for a regular priced unit however of the Palette that will cost you $849 CAD and you can expect to get yours in January next year. This means that you would need to wait a bit more before you can get your hands on one of these addons, so there is the possibility that we could see an affordable multi-color 3D printing option available by that time, but it it is not currently very likely to happen. Meanwhile you would still have to deal with the limitation of a single color or dual color option for your 3D printer depending on the number of extruders you have available. One important thing to note, there is no mention of ABS material being supported, only PLA along with exotic materials, but there will be limitation to these as well most likely, so do have that in mind.
Mosaic Manufacturing are getting ready to launch their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for The Palette – a device that would allow you to print with 4 different filaments using a 3D printer with a single extruder. The Palette should be compatible with any 3D printer as it has 4 different filaments as input and the software for the addon calculates a single filament output with the different colors combined based on the 3D model you want to print. For the moment the device is just combining 4 different filaments into a single one and allows only 4 different colors to be printed, it is not mixing the different colors to create other colors. So it is not going to be full color 3D printing addon, just multi-color 3D printing capabilities to a single extruder 3D printer.
The Kickstarter campaign will be launched in the next three to four weeks. The expected starting price for The Pallet addon should be around $475 USD ($600 CAD). We are already looking forward to seeing one of these addons in action and getting one to try out on our MakerBot replicator 2 3D printer that comes with just a single extrduder and that is a bit limiting in the capabilities that the device has and the same goes for many other 3D printers. The Palette addon is also interesting for devices that do have dual extruders as it allows for the use of four different colors and not just two. Also the fact that all of the colors are combined in a single filament does offer some advantages over the use of two different filaments loaded in two different extruders.