“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” ~ Wassily Kandinsky, famous Russian painter and art theorist.
Isn’t this so true? Think about it for a minute. How boring would your everyday life be without colorful sunsets, the different color outfits you and your friends wear, and color TV? Sure you could survive without color, but life would be quite a bit less exciting.
When it come to 3D Printing, at least on consumer-level machines, we are still stuck in a time when our options for printing objects with many different colors is limited. There are some printers beginning to come to market which promise the ability for printing in more than 2 colors at once, but nothing solid has yet to really catch on. This is where one Italian based company, 3DMakerLab looks to make an influence. This week at MakerFaire Rome, the company plans to show off their Multiextruder NPr2, a multi-modular 3D printer extruder that will be able to print in up to 6 colors per object. It is based off of the Prusa I3 extruders, but includes new engineering and many accessories which will facilitate calibration and correct some design problems seen within the I3 project.
“The Multiextruder NPr2 is an extruder [which] allows you to print in 4 colors (6 colors in the next [iteration]),” explained Nicola Patucelli of 3DMakerLab to 3DPrint.com. “It is equiped with 2 nema 17 (stepper motors); one for tracking filament and one for selection of color, so you can use a normal two-extruder-board to print in multiple colors. All filaments are canalized in one hotend for melting material. It uses a custom firmware based on standard Marlin.”
Right now the extruder is still in a prototype stage, as typical slicing software is not able to control real multi-color extrusion at this point in time on a single hotend. However, Patucelli tells us that he is working with an Italian software company to try and create a solution. Currently he can only print with custom G-code, which he says it not very efficient. “I hope I can print something interesting during MakerFaire (Rome) but I am still working on it,” he explained.
If all goes as planned, Patucelli hopes to release this extruder in December of 2014, just in time for the holiday season. Without a doubt, this will be a tremendous addition to 3D printers. Allowing owners of FFF based machines to print in up to 6 colors means the creation of more unique, patterned objects, which will also provide designers with many more tools in creating just that right 3D printable design. The ability to print words, initials and names into objects, as well as team logos should make an extruder such as this a hot commodity.
What do you think? Would you be interested in having the Multiextruder NPr2 on your 3D Printer? Discuss in the Multiextruder NPr2 forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of this extruder in action below.
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