April 10, 2014

It was just a little over a year ago that Andre Tiemann started playing around with multi-colour relief design and printing using a single extruder printer. He hasn't slowed down since. As described in a tutorial he wrote last year the technique involves manually swapping colours based on specific layer heights.

3D printers work their magic by placing material down in a controlled manner one layer at a time. Andre takes advantage of this layering by designing files in such a way that every colour sits at a very specific level. He uses Sketchup to prepare the files and once the image is created and the layers are set, he sends the file through a standard set of processes to make sure the file is print ready (manifest).

This method requires your printer software to have the ability to pause the print and switch filament on the fly. And you need also to keep an eye out on the print to avoid missing a colour change. At the end you will have something similar to the images shown below.

"The creation of these prints is a really time-consuming and often headache inducing process. Additionally, if all goes according to plan in the coming years with 3D printing, the method used will be obsolete before I blink." Andre said.

"So why keep at it? What's the point?"

"At the end of the day, the answer is why not?" Andre said. "I enjoy the creativity involved and ultimately see the prints as, dare I say, a new fangled method of creating relief art. Just like any creative endeavour, seeing the finished product complete after a whirlwind of colour swapping and design changes feels great."

Andre runs a small 3D Print service centre called Draft Print 3D in Toronto, Canada, and some of his work can be purchased here on Etsy. "As someone that is heavily invested in 3D printing, it's always nice to get a little bit creative with the technology I remain very much passionate about." Andre said.

Check out his work below, all printed using a Makerbot Replicator 2.


Posted in 3D Printing Technology

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michaelc wrote at 4/12/2014 7:27:44 PM:

Great looking stuff and clever technique. It would probably be easier to laminate some sheets of colored plastic and then use a cnc router to cut away the parts at the appropriate heights to get the colors you want. I suppose you could go crazy with this technique and try to create a halftone image by laying down tiny dots of color...

Andre Tiemann wrote at 4/12/2014 6:10:32 PM:

Hey Marcello, thanks for the great feedback. Pop art translates well to the technique because limits of the printers (printing a Rembrandt in this manner would be a bit ridiculous of an undertaking). Moving forward, I'm hoping for more prints that are quasi interactive (like the Flappy Bird print (the bird moves around the hole)) or mixed like the Dancing With the Bulls one. But sometimes finding time / inspiration (re: motivation) is the limiting factor. I either create non-stop or alternatively take long breaks and focus on my other endeavours.

Marcello Bob Calabresi wrote at 4/12/2014 12:24:03 PM:

Great technique! Man this thing looks like pop art to me! Some pictures remind me of Warhol or Roy Liechtenstein... I hope he gets more interesting works on the way... (Why not a tribute to M.C.Escher? ) :-) @Don Stratton I think this matters... and here's why: this artist is showing to the people what he does and what can be done with this technique. That's great since his works make somebody have new ideas (like I am doing right now! ). What better thing is there than a good example?

Don Stratton wrote at 4/11/2014 11:28:32 PM:

This is absolutely useless, and does not contribute to your knowledge of 3D printing in any way.

El. from LTF wrote at 4/11/2014 10:22:02 AM:

man, that's awesome! great idea, thanks for sharing!

bkubicek wrote at 4/10/2014 10:48:26 PM:

with m600 in marlin, you can do this extremely well, for about a year.

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