Hello Everyone! It’s Ben and Tiffany from TiffysLemonadeStand.com
As you can see, we have recently gotten into multi color 3D printing. With this shift in our business from traditional single color FDM to multi color, we wanted to cover how we started, and what we are capable of now with the Mosaic Palette.
Before we jump into the Palette, a little more about our operation. We are a stay-at-home Mom owned small business that’s been open since January 25 2020, and like we said; we print lightweight funky earrings. We have a small fleet of printers, 9 at the moment.
Creality Ender 3 (3)
Creality CR10 S
Creality Ender 5 Plus
Prusa Mini (Not here yet)
SeeMeCNC Rostock Max V2
One might say we have a soft spot for Creality printers but that could be an entirely different blog post. We slice almost entirely with Simplify3D, and are constantly perfecting our profiles. When we aren’t selling in our Shopify store, we are going to local craft shows. Unfortunately craft shows aren’t an option with the current COVID-19 crisis, so we donated our efforts to printing PPE for the month of April. We printed just over 2000 of the 3DVerkstan face shields.
Now that you know a little about us and what we have been up to, let’s talk multicolor.
Multicolor 3D printing has been around since the conception of the RepRap movement but it has required stopping at a predetermined Z height and doing a color swap. Firmwares like Marlin have conveniently added GCode to assist with this process. The cupcake earrings (or as we call them stud muffins) were printed with this feature using the Prusa MK3S and GCode based color change. This is the cheapest way to get multicolor, but it doesn’t come without its limitations. This would require models to change color only at specific Z height and limit the orientation of the model.
These limitations are starting to become a thing of the past with devices such as the Mosaic Palette and Prusa MMU. These devices can assist in doing ”live color changes” during a print with 4-5 colors.
Specifically the Mosaic Palette works by cutting, splicing with heat, and feeding a continuous line of filament to your 3D printers extruder. The Palette comes with a web based software to upload, slice, and even paint your models. Prints can be run in an accessory mode, where you place a file on your Palette’s SD card, and GCode on your printer. Alternatively it can be run in connected mode with a install of Octoprint + a suite of custom Mosaic plugins. There are advantages of running in connected mode however due to the Palettes ability to control your printer, it can perform what they call Ping/Pongs to constantly calibrate the amount of filament being produced and the accuracy of the splice locations. If you have a calibrated extruder (E Steps), you can achieve some stunning results.
Let’s talk about the color change. In order to perform the color swap, a purge block is added by the Palette’s slicer to purge the nozzle from one color to the other. The more complicated the print, and the more colors that are used, the larger and denser the purge block is. For this print of Bruni, the purge bloc weighed more than both of the models combined.
One thing to note however is the number of models you print does not affect the size of the purge block.
The Palette 2 has built in machine learning that takes your input about the success or failure of your print and constantly improves itself.
In addition to providing their own suite of slicing tools, they support slicing your models in supported slicers like Simplify3D, Prusa Slic3r, and Cura. There are even community efforts to add post processing scripts to Prusa Slic3r to make the purge blocks smaller, and do more complicated side transitions instead of purge blocks. If the amount of waste is something that is keeping you from looking into multicolor printing, your going to want to check these out.
We think Mosaic has come a long way since their inception, and with the Palette 2, there isn’t a better time to get into multicolor printing
Before we go, here are some more photos of the Palette 2 in action.