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  1. RamblinDan
  2. 3D Printing
  3. Tuesday, January 28 2020
I have a new 3D printer on order. It is another Geeetech Cartesian almost identical to my A20M. It is the A20T with the “T” meaning three or triple color print head. The A20M , “M” for multiple, is a 2 color printer but capable, as is the A20T of mixing to make many colors. The A20T has three base filament colors.

C,Y, M, (K) seems like a good choice for filament colors but my experience shows that colors don’t completely blend in the print head to make new colors. C, Y, M is Cyan, Yellow and Magenta with K being a true Black. I will only have three colors from which to choose.

These are the standard colors used in inkjet (INK) printers to produce a rainbow of colors.

I think experimenting with the colors will be the most interesting past-time for me with this printer and the A20M. The actual printing has become almost routine (not perfect) and the color options add totally new design ares to explore.

The CAD drawings are always the starting point. Color can be used two basic ways with a mixing (single nozzle) color 3D printer. The standard individual filament colors with each part of the print separated to a component of that single color. So the CAD drawing must be specifically drawn so each color component has its own .stl file. Multiple components of the same color can be in a single .stl file. Different colors must be in separate files or file groups.

The second way mixing single nozzle printer can be used is to blend two (or more) colors within the nozzle. Blue and Yellow for Green as an example. The blending is not complete or uniform, but the effects are pleasing in most examples. This is not part of the CAD, but a code modification to the Printer “gcode” to select the blending ratios within the nozzle.

A single part can be all one blended color or the color can be programed to change from one color to another progressively as the print develops its layers.

“Phantom” nozzles can be created in slicer software so the three primary filament colors are available, then any number of “fantom” nozzles, each with its own blend ratio of the three primary colors. This means three primary and any number of mixed colors can be programed into the printer. Four, five, or more colors printed items can be produced. A huge area for experimentation…

The CAD drawing must be designed for these additional “available” nozzle colors and the printer set-up programed foo make them available when desired.

Did I mention. all the multiple color 3D printers CAN be also be used as single color printers? But where is the fun of using multiple colors? Ha!

Managing multiple colors is not a simple task. For this reason, my research shows many multiple color printers are used for single color prints. Nothing wrong with that. One can use their printer any way they desire. Just different strokes for different folks. My plan is to experiment with color. I have all the single color printers I desire.
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