Multicolor tools

Next year, I have a big miniature project planned to print. I have been eying at multicolor options. There is no way to cut most of the models in pieces to print in a color each. Or to fiddle with gcode to swap filaments. Since I am disabled, painting models is preferably not done.

First choice would be a latest MMU for my Prusa, but I read many complaints about it. Not that I mind troubleshooting stuff like that, as the 2 printers I had before it required it almost daily, but now that I am use to printing with ease with my Prusa, I am not keen on spending loads of money to get a frustrating tool anymore. Disability makes everything harder, see.

I looked into the Mosaic one, but that’s too expensive to start with.

The Pitta looks promising and is a lot cheaper. Yet, only support for some Ender 3 versions to start with. And, I have no clue about their helpdesk, as that plays a huge factor in buying stuff too. A clueless helpdesk, like I have witnessed in the past, even giving incorrect advice, is the most frustrating to deal with.

Would love your input.

I would always go for a real tool changer or a IDEX system (which is basically a two tool head printer).

MMU and stuff wastes often more (even twice as much) filament than the actual print needs. A failed print hurts even more.

Also the MMU solutions are complex devices. Several components need to work flawless for often 1000 times to ensure a successful print. Just think about all the filament cuts, joins, retraction, printing the waste tower. Even a failed waste tower can ruin your print.

With a tool changer the tool needs to swap and done. Everything else is in place. And no filament tower as each tool head has already the color loaded and primed. It just need a little push and a wipe and it is good to go and both are unlikely to fail.

Dual colors do not suffice. I need 4 minimum, actually. Sorry, should have made that clear. Language difference, I guess. Multi means many in Dutch, it means more than 1 in English apparently.

Well, if you need more than two colors still go for a tool changer. The waste of any other method is overkill and printing is slow like hell.

MMU systems just call for printing problems due to the complexity, while with a tool changer (and IDEX) you “just” need to get the nozzle aligned.

After watching a few vids on ToolChanger, what I get from these are still swapping filament with gcode. It’s not a color change per line, but per “item” or “block”, so that means I can get up to 4 colors per line at it’s worst. Not what I need. Plus the price tag on that one is beyond acceptable. The endless amount of fiddling till it might work, that was exactly what I am avoiding like the plague.

I looked at a few other types of tool changers: all of those required a lot of physical fiddling. Since I have MS, that’s not an option for me, as doing that requires hub’s help. The amount of stuff I can do with my hands is limited. He’s not available to do that constantly. And again: color changes only per line.

You get e.g. four colors per layer with a four color tool changer. It basically prints everything with color1, does a tool swap, prints everything with color2 and so on. Then it enters the next layer and prints again with all four colors. So you can print anything with four colors. If you have colors only appear in sections, like a figurine with blue feed and a white head, you can add a filament swap at a specific layer like you would to with normal printing.

But, yes. Color printing comes with a hassle. There is no solution for that without sacrifice. Mostly time, filament waste and/or an increased failure rate.

So the best option is splitting parts or use the slicer option to manual swap color at a specific height.

irvshapiro, wouldn’t this make a great subject for a vid? You have 2 vids, if I’m correct, on using different colors, but not about multicolor tools or multi-material tools yet.

I talked to a local filament seller today. He sent me a link of this tool. I love it, but it’s on top of another tool to purchase. I hope that Prusa just makes a better MMU next time. It sure is great that they could get rid of a purge block almost entirely too. Since I print miniatures mostly, and purge blocks are often bigger than the printed model in that case, I welcome a solution for that.