While 3D printing innovators, designers, and artists often share amazing new products with us, we see the bright and shiny results–often in an apparent display of tech-savvy genius and talent that leaves many of wishing we had thought of that first, or simply sitting in awe, as inspiration builds. What we don’t consider often, though, is how hard it may have been for that designer to finally reach the end result.
While the creative process can often be enjoyable, relaxing, and even therapeutic, when you are working with machines and materials, it can be a stop and start process due to settings, errors, and both checking on and changing out materials. So while that 3D model may be a thing of perfection, getting there may not have been such a perfect process whatsoever.
Printing with multiple colors has been perhaps one of the greatest challenges in 3D printing. While it’s certainly possible, and often done, the print process requires maintenance and can cause complication. 3DT Labs has been considering this for some time now, as they believe that 3D printing innovators should have access to the world of color–and easily. You shouldn’t have to be brave to 3D print in color, and they are working to change that.
The 3DT Labs team is headquartered in downtown Las Vegas, where they also have a retail store. Founded by a technical team with both experience and enthusiasm for all that 3D printing has to offer, they also specialize in building their own 3D printers and peripheral products, as well as selling them. 3DT labs has been researching and developing their Chameleon filament inking system to streamline color 3D printing for the past year, and is just bringing it to the marketplace for users, including a Kickstarter campaign that has just launched so that we can all try their new system with great early bird prices while also helping them to hit the ground running with manufacturing.
Many hobbyists who own single extruder 3D printers are just used to the hassle and can write the book on stopping and starting their prints to change color, working to splice filament together and so on. 3D printers boasting multiple hot-ends for printing with multiple colors have their own list of precise requirements and challenges offered regarding nozzle settings, calibration, and more. The Chameleon system works with any FDM 3D printer, offers affordability, user-friendliness–and best of all–speed.
Working as the 3D printer is in process, the Chameleon consists of a color ink cartridge that is simply snapped in. These aren’t short-lived cartridges either–each one contains enough color to cover two football fields. Providing even, thorough color, the ink is high quality, won’t ‘rub off,’ and is nontoxic.
“When it’s time to change the color in your print, you simply snap in two cartridges of a color and it just keeps on going, with no printer stopping, no cutting of filament,” Mike Halvorson of 3DT Labs told 3Dprint.com. “Just change the ink and you have changed the color of your object to the color of the ink being applied.”
The economical implications of the Chameleon system are enticing as well for color enthusiasts. The amount of funds you can put into purchasing 16 different rolls of traditional filament just to use a color once and then put it on the shelf is staggering, and especially if you are not on a corporate budget. Just do the math as you consider what you usually spend on one roll of filament. With the 64 color Chameleon kit available for $99.99, that’s a no-brainer for huge savings if you are committed to color printing.
“You get four times as many colors and you are in control of when and how much color you apply,” said Halvorson. “Chameleon is like going from an old dot matrix printer to a full color ink jet all in one fell swoop.”
The results are quite impressive, and the systemoffers you the chance to get creative with a lot less hassle.
“Chameleon colorizes on the fly,” says Halvorson. “It is so easy to use and it really extends the capability of any 3D printer to have almost unlimited color.”
You can order kits that span the rainbow of colors with options to order packs with 16 colors, 32 colors, 48 colors or the ‘big mega box’ of 64 colors. We will be reporting more on the 3DT Labs as their Kickstarter campaign launches in the near future.
Is this a product that would help you in your 3D printing endeavors involving color? Have you backed their Kickstarter campaign? Discuss in the Chameleon Ink Cartridge System forum thread over at 3DPB.com.