You might recall the controversial BotObjects ProDesk3D full color personal 3D printer? It’s controversial because many believe it doesn’t really exist. Or does it?
Missed shipping dates, suspicious images of 3D prints, lack of media access and other unusual behavior have everyone’s spider sense on alert.
A recent article on PopSci investigated the mysterious machine a bit more deeply and was able to take a short, controlled video of the machine. The video may tell us more about how the ProDesk3D operates.
The image above, taken from said video, shows the ProDesk3D’s filament feeding system. What can we learn from this?
The system apparently has a color standard CYMK mix. We see cyan, magenta, yellow, black filaments feeding the system. We also see a white filament, which makes sense. In a 2D paper color printer, the “white color” is provided by the paper itself. Not so in a 3D printer, which would have to supply white somehow.
But we also see a sixth filament, which we suspect is support material.
This all makes sense, if you have an ability to dynamically mix these colors and materials on the fly in an advanced extruder. That’s the part that is still mysterious to us. However, the video also provides a brief glimpse of the extruder above. Now, what can we learn from seeing it?
The most interesting observation is that there are six, if we count them correctly, feed tubes entering the extruder. The feed tubes seem to contain filament of the CMYKWS spools, or at least some of them do.
This implies that the color mixing occurs in the very difficult to see extruder at the bottom. It’s not clear how this takes place.
We’re still of the opinion that the machine does not actually produce arbitrary RGB colors on the fly. Instead, we suspect it simply allows periodic switching to color combinations. In other words, it can print layers of color mixes - but not have different colors on a single layer.