Feb.16, 2014

Spectrom, an automated, continuous, and variable coloring process for desktop FDM 3D printers won both the $10,000 Schoofs Prize for Creativity and the $2,500 Tong Prototype Prize at the 20th annual Innovation Days competition at the university of Wisconsin-Madison.

Innovation Days is a student invention competition open to all undergraduates at UW-Madison to encourage them to explore and conduct self-directed research, outside the classroom environment. This year the winners were selected from a field of 18 different inventions from 27 students.

Kovacs-Johnson and Charles Haider, both chemical engineers, created the winning invention for color 3D printing. The device serves as an add-on to existing FDM 3D printers and allows for differential color modulation within a single printed layer. The developed prototype puts a heavy emphasis on 3D printed parts, Arduino controlling and C++ prototyping.

Charles Haider and Cédric Kovacs-Johnson. Photo: Brett Stepanik

"Unlike the current state of the art in FDM color printing, which is limited to the spools of pre-dyed plastic filament, Spectrom delivers solvent dyes directly to clear plastic filament in a continuous, on-demand process. This allows a 3D printer to mix colors and function more like an inkjet printer, unlocking the full rainbow of vibrant colors to 3D printed objects." the team describes the process.

Now you can print 3D color models quickly and affordably. Kovacs-Johnson and Haider envision the process to be used in creating color-matched prosthetics. "With 3D printing you have the ability to scan someone's face and build an exact face profile," says Kovacs-Johnson. "You can then print off, using Spectrom, a nose that would match their skin exactly."

Color also can be used in prototyping to set a design apart or add clarity for clients. "One of the things when you're doing prototyping is that you're looking to highlight specific, complex features," says Haider. "Being able to bring clarity to the parts that are unique - while in meetings with clients and upper-level management - that's where we have an advantage."

"The next great technology of our generation that will see the change to color is 3D printing," adds Kovacs-Johnson.


Posted in 3D Printers



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a wrote at 3/15/2014 1:38:55 AM:

http://gigaom.com/2014/03/06/two-college-students-invented-an-adapter-that-allow-3d-printers-to-print-in-full-color-for-less-than-100/ has pictures

Thinkyhead wrote at 2/23/2014 12:44:27 PM:

Good job! A lot of RepRap enthusiasts have thought how cool it would be to dye filament as it goes into the extruder, and some of us have played with various dyes, but no one came up with a simple standardized method until now. I look forward to learning more about how their system works!

paucus wrote at 2/18/2014 12:37:28 PM:

no pics of objects?

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