Feb.6, 2013

RepRapPro announces the beta release of their multi-material and multi-colour enhancement kit. The enhancement kit can be added to your RepRapPro Mendel and you will get three extruders, and so can build parts in three distinct interlocking colours or in three different plastics.

It has three small and efficient extruder drives that are mounted on the top bars of the machine's frame, and three extrude heads mounted on the machine's X carriage. One extruder drive and hot end is driven by the standard Mendel controller electronics, and the second two are driven by a separate slave controller that plugs into the master control electronics.

How to make multi-colour or multi-material 3D models? RepRapPro explains as follows:

Using the CAD software you can create a separate object for each colour/material. "This is usually just a case of defining a master object using the CAD system in the regular way and using that for the first colour you want. You then subtract one or two other shapes from that, those shapes being made from the second and third materials or colours. Thus you have an object with holes where the different coloured bits go, and definitions of those coloured shapes too.


"You read all three objects into the slicer program (which gets them all in the right relative places automatically), then slice your model to make a G Code file. The slicing program automatically adds a small hollow structure called a shield to one side of your print which it builds as the print progresses. It purges each colour head and wipes any excess in the interior of the shield's hollow.


"The G Code file is then printed in the usual way. On each layer each colour is printed in turn, with a pause between the colours over the shield's hollow to let the current head cool to a standby temperature (to prevent it from oozing and spoiling the next colour) and to let the new head warm up.


The print volume available with colour/multi-materials is about 30mm less in X and Y than with monochrome prints, as all the heads have to be able to reach every part of the print.

Adrian Bowyer created a video showing how to print in three colours, check the video below:

The Enhancement Kit includes:

  • All hardware (nuts, bolts, hobbed drives, wire etc.)
  • Pre-soldered and programmed slave controller electronics
  • All the required 3D printed parts
  • Two extra hot end kits
  • Two extra extruder drive kits
  • All needed motors
  • 2 X 10m 1.75mm colour filament to get you started with multi-colour work alongside your existing filament

The price of the beta-release enhancement is £234/€289/$319.







Posted in 3D Printing Accessories


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