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mosaic-dual-color-print-samples

The Mosaic device that is supposed to make multi-color 3D printing possible on a 3D printers with a single extruder is set to be finalized in early 2015 according to the latest updates from the Mosaic Manufacturing team. The device itself will hopefully most likely start shipping to customers later in the year if everything goes as planned.

The plans for the next couple months:
– We will be releasing our first product in early 2015.
– This product will have more than two inputs, and be much smaller than the black box featured on our website.
– After finalizing the build, we will be going through an optimization/testing phase, and then start a crowdsourcing campaign to launch our product.
– Our goal is to have all of this complete in the first quarter of 2015.

We are looking forward to getting a Mosaic upgrade for our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer that has just a single extruder, so it is the perfect candidate to get a multi-color and material printing capabilities thanks to this device. It is nice that we are also going to be getting a product capable of using more than just two colors as this can make it more functional as well as an interesting option for upgrade even for dual extruder 3D printers giving them the ability to print easily with more than just two colors. Unfortunately there is still no information about the expected end user price of the Mosaic device.

For more information about the Mosaic 3D printer multi-color printing upgrade…

mosaic-multi-color-printing

With FDM/FFF printers extruding thermoplastic you normally need to have multiple extruders in order to be able to print with multiple colors or materials that all build a single 3D object. If you have just a single extruder you might still be able to print in multiple colors, but the complexity of the printed part should not be that high as you will have to change the filament when a new color is needed. So normally dual extruder printers are the next level of devices that offer wider functionality as they are easy to use with dual color printing or for use with a different material that will be used for printing support material so that it can easily be dissolved for example as a way of removing from the main print. There is however an interesting new solution being worked on at the moment that should allow multi-color printing with a single extruder 3D printer by a Canadian company called Mosaic Manufacturing.

What their device called Mosaic does is to have multiple filaments as input and a single filament as output by using SEEM Technology or Series Enabled Extrusion of Material. What the Mosaic essentially does is to slice the model you want to 3D print and fuse the multiple input filament colors into a single filament with different colored segments that are fed to the 3D printer and thus the printer creates the 3D print with multiple colors from a single extruder. The demo shown on the developer’s website is with two colors, but the technology should be capable of using even more, provided that it does not make the device too expensive. The Mosaic should be affordable way to upgrade your single extruder filament to a multi-color printing device, so it should not cost as much as a dual extruder 3D printer in order for the users to actually choose it.

mosaic-vs-dual-extruder-prints

We are going to keep an eye on the development of the Mosaic devices as it is a really interesting product for owners of single extruder 3D printers that would want to extend the functionality of their thermoplastic extruders. The device should be capable of working with standard filaments (we assume that these are ABS and PLA) and with printers that run on G-Code/X3G. What is the most significant advantage of using a single extruder and single filament with multiple colors is that you should be getting a continuous print, which leaves no opportunity for dripping or oozing, meaning a cleaner and crispier print than when relying on multiple extruders. Unfortunately there is still no information on when we can expect to see the Mosaic device available for order and what will be the expected price, but it will most likely take a few more months at least.

For more information about the Mosaic 3D printer multi-color printing upgrade…

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.

For additional details on the Palette project by Mosaic Manufacturing on Kickstarter…


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