RepRapAlgarve has released a design and kit for a powerful multicolor 3D printer, the RGB STEEL.
The machine is based on the popular P3Steel design, which featured steel components. Stiff frames, such as those made from steel, greatly contribute to higher-quality 3D prints because they dramatically reduce vibrations, vibrations that tickle your nozzle just as it’s laying down a supposedly smooth section of your print.
The machine has some very good, but basic characteristics, such as:
- 3mm carbon steel frame
- 4mm glass heated print surface
- Arduino Mega 2560 powered
- Extruder cooling fan
- LCD control panel
- SD card reader input
But the big thing for me is that this machine can accommodate a Diamond hot end that can actually mix colors on the fly. Using multiple filaments fed into this hot end, you can create a wide variety of colors, although switching colors during a print can take much extra time.
The cost of this machine depends on how you want to proceed. It’s possible to get the open source design and simply build it yourself by sourcing all the parts. Or you could just buy the complete kit from RepRapAlgarve for only €339 (USD$383). They’ll also send you one entirely assembled for the similarly low price of only €375 (USD$424).
However, note that you might want to add the optional kit for €199 (USD$225) that includes:
- Diamond hotend (color mixer),
- +2 engines + electronics,
- +2 extruders E3D lite,
- 2 Mk8 + bowden tubes
That brings the kit price to €538 (USD$608), still a very good deal for a color mixing machine.
Then you’ll have to figure out how to do the color 3D modeling, but that’s another story.