While color in design is a crucial element, it’s not something we follow as much as you would think here in the 3D printing industry. For now. Still somewhat limited for basic 3D printing processes, there lingers a tendency just to be impressed with all that we can make by depositing one layer of filament on other, how fast we can do it, and what’s next.
Most of us are still just quite thrilled enough to buy basic colored filament, stop if we need to change colors or material, and go on with our business. That’s not the case at Honeycomb Graphics though, and indeed we have been following their progress as they have continued to chart a course with color that’s far beyond the basics.
Headquartered in Santiago, Chile, Honeycomb has been working hard to take the term monochromatic out of 3D printing. With a ‘tridimensional coloring system,’ the company plans to transform the world of the average 3D printing user, who generally isn’t able to look forward to many color options.
“Currently, one of the main problems with low-cost 3D printing is limited coloring since it is built adding one layer on top of another in the object, but color is limited to the hue of the filament feeding it,” company founder Andres Bienzobas told EFE.
“What we do is to tint the extruded filament point-by-point with the technology known as Fused Deposition Modeling,” he said.
They are also exploring a technique called solid fiber piling, which eliminates extrusion–and many of the headaches therein–replacing the process with a heating or light technology that fuses the elements being 3D printed.
“This innovation, besides including color, can be applied to multiple materials, for example combining polymers with tin without the need to change machines,” Bienzobas said. “This way metals can be embedded in the same print.”
Founded in 2011, the ambitious company is now also seeking a patent, in 78 countries, for their new colorization process, which we’ve covered in great detail previously, while it was still in extensive research and development. This will follow their previous patent, which focuses on their honeycomb technology that actually prints 2D objects within 3D objects, and uses 3D blocks as honey-comb shaped linings.
This next product, hopefully, will add a world of vibrancy to 3D printing. Currently though they are looking for investors for both of their new technologies, “possibly associated with a well-known manufacturer of 3D printers in North America, to finance the final stage of development on these technologies,” Bienzobas said.
Check out the video below for a quick overview of their new process which, working on the smaller scale, includes dyeing the filament via ink injection in small portions either upon or following extrusion.
Is this a breakthrough for the 3D printing market? Let’s hear your thoughts in the Honeycomb Graphics forum thread on 3DPB.com.[Source: La Prensa]