As technology continues to evolve, lesser-known markets are beginning to come into their own. One such area that is starting to spread its wings is 3D printing. This industry has shown that it has a place in the world of consumer technology during the past few years.
Even though this industry isn’t as mainstream as other technologies yet, it is still making significant noise in the tech sector. But what about those that aren’t as familiar with 3D printing?
That’s where we want to help. Choosing the right color 3D printer can be challenging. So, with that in mind, what should you consider when selecting a color 3D printer? Let’s take a look at some criteria to consider as you make your decision.
What Will You Use It For?
This Is arguably the most important item to consider while you’re making your choice. What do you plan on doing with your color 3D printer? Are you going to make large or small items? Do you plan on printing in batches?
What applications do you plan on using? What types of moulds will you use? What about tooling, fixtures, and casting? You’ll want to answer these questions to have a solid idea of which color 3D printer will work best for you.
What Features Are Most Important to You?
After you decide what you’re going to do with your multi-color 3D printer, you’ll want to determine which features are a priority. Different products offer different features with different qualities.
Each 3D printer is going to provide a different level of surface finish, resolution, and accuracy. Which of these features are most important to you? Determine that and you’ll have a solid idea of which 3D printer fits your needs.
Surface finish is important for a few pieces. Keep in mind that you can smooth the surface of your item after its done printing, however, it’s usually best to choose a 3D printer that does this for you.
There are a few reasons you want to select a printer with this feature. First, it reduces the total amount of time it takes to produce an item since nothing needs to be done post-processing. Plus, if the smoothing process isn’t done properly there could wind up being problems.
Next up on the list of features to consider is the printer’s resolution capabilities. Some 3D printers only print with the minimum resolution possible. However, there are also options on the market that offers excellent resolution, so determine how important this feature is to you.
Remember that the layer height is what tells your 3D printer what resolution to print. The lower the designated layer height, the higher the resolution you’ll get on your printed item.
Last, but definitely not list, is the accuracy of your multi-color 3D printer. You want complex pieces and geometrical parts to print just the way you expect them to, so you want to be sure you’re getting a 3D printer that can handle it.
Additionally, if you plan on printing pieces that will need to be put together later, accuracy is of the utmost importance. Accuracy is definitely something to keep in mind as you decide which 3D multi-color printer makes the most sense for you.
3D Printing Speed
If you’re unfamiliar with 3D printing speed, it’s measured by inches printed each hour. Of course, the amount of time it takes to print your item depends a lot on the size and complexity of its design.
Oftentimes, speed will also depend on the type of material you’re printing with. Take all these factors into account before you settle on a multi-color 3D printer. Sometimes the ones that brag about their speed aren’t the ones that can handle heavy workloads.
Also, remember that just because you’re getting higher speeds doesn’t mean you’re getting precision. Some 3D multi-color printers sacrifice on accuracy in favor of higher speeds. So, if you’re planning on printing parts that require extreme accuracy, a high-speed printer may not make sense for you.
3D Printer Build Size
When it comes to the size of your printer, you’ll want to primarily think about how much room you have and what you plan on printing. That’s because you can find multi-color 3D printers that are big enough to fill a closet while others are small enough to sit on a desk.
Most 3D printers specify their build size, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the right one. Just be sure you don’t ignore the printer’s build size. If you wind up printing items that are bigger than your 3D printer build size, you’ll wind up with a useless printer.
3D Printer Material
Next, let’s take a look at what type of material you plan on using with your multi-color 3D printer. Were you aware that today, there are a wide variety of materials available to choose from? And the list keeps growing!
When 3D printers launched, the only option was photosensitive resin. But as 3D printing technology has progressed, different materials and options have come into the picture.
Of course, selecting the materials for your 3D printer may depend entirely on what you plan on printing. So, for instance, if you need to print items that need to be durable or flexible, you want to be sure you choose a material that allows for those capabilities.
In today’s 3D printing market, there are a wide variety of materials available. There’s even a good possibility you’ll find varying degrees of quality with the type of material you select. That’s why it’s critical that you know exactly what you’re printing and what type of material you’ll need.
For example, if you plan to print using PLA filament, then your 3D multi-color printer will have to work with that type of material. Chances are you’ll want to use various types of materials, so try to find a printer that will accept different options.
Best Multi Color 3D Printers
Now that you have an idea of what to look for as you search for the ideal multi-color 3D printer, here are a few of the top options to consider.
XYZ Printing da Vinci Color – Best Desktop Option
First up on our list is the XYZ Printing da Vinci Color. This multi-color 3D printer uses its jet technology to print out full color 3D objects. Base material used with this printer is white PLA, which the printer colors by using its CMYK cartridge.
So that it doesn’t waste ink, the Da Vinci only colors the layers that are visible, rather than the entire item. If you’re interested in a smaller version of this printer, it also comes in a mini. However, the smaller option only uses one cartridge whereas the bigger version uses four.
If you have a home office, this is the ideal multi-color 3D printer for you. It allows you to have a 3D printer in your home without taking up a lot of space. Plus, the option of an even smaller unit makes this printer appealing to anyone who doesn’t have a lot of room to maneuver.
3D Systems ProJet CJP 660 – Best for High Volume or Large Scale Projects
The ProJet 660 offers a full-color printing experience that will have you creating high-quality pieces in no time. By depositing liquid color and using it as a binding agent, the ProJet makes use of its Color Jet Printing process to print amazing items.
This multi-color printer offers a capacity of 508 x 381 x 229 mm, which makes it one of the most productive options on our list. With this ProJet CJP660, you’re getting both a high-resolution print and high build volume. Using the CJP 660 means you can easily create large-scale concepts and models at any point during the development process.
ProJet says it can print faster than other technologies and multi-color printers on the market. Whether or not that’s true, you can create large models within just a few hours. Plus, if you’re creating a project that doesn’t require color, the CJP 660 will print 35% faster if you’re only using black and white.
The HP Jet Fusion multi-color 3D printer focuses on allowing various binding agents to deposit onto plain materials. With this process, which HP calls “Voxel Transforming Agents,” you can manipulate not only the color or your project, but also the texture.
Additionally, you control the density, translucency, and many other features that allow you to print exactly what you want the way you want it. There are up to eight various agents to choose from, all giving you the 3D print you desire.
If you’re printing intricate designs with integrating complex parts, then the HP Jet Fusion multi-color 3D printer is a great option. You’ll be able to produce functional, fully-formed pieces with plenty of detail. This 3D printer is great for small or medium-sized businesses that want to focus primarily on design and functionality.
ComeTrue T10 – Best for Faster Print Speeds
This multi-color 3D printer utilizes sandstone as its base material. This plater-like and neutral powder is colored and solidified with the ComeTrue process that allows for the colored liquid to bond to the agent itself.
At that point, you’ll need to put the pieces into a dry vacuum device – which you purchase separately – to get rid of any remaining powder by using an airbrush. The ComeTrue10 is a solid multi-color 3D printer, but the entire process takes some getting used to.
If you want to print your pieces quickly, then the ComeTrue T10 might be the right multi-color 3D printer for you. Of course, remember that sometimes you’ll sacrifice quality for speed. However, the T10 does provide additional features like multiple use cases, a wide range of applications, and the ability to print complex parts.
Rize XRIZE – Best for Beginners
If you’re in the market for a professional multi-color 3D printer, then take a serious look at the XRIZE. This unit uses a combination of ink-jetting technology, along with its proprietary Augmented Deposition process to provide pieces that are strong and vibrant.
Additionally, the XRIZE multi-color printer also deposits Release Ink – a special proprietary material – into the support structures and the piece itself. This makes it easy for users to quickly disconnect the support materials. Doing so leaves the piece smooth, which means users don’t have to mess with a lot of post-processing.
Even though this multi-color 3D printer offers professional-grade quality, it’s still a great printer for beginners. It’s easy to use and setup and doesn’t require a lot of pre and post-process effort. The XRIZE works with environmentally friendly and recyclable materials and makes things simple for those that are unfamiliar with the world of 3D printing.
FAQs About 3D Printers
Can my 3D printed items be sanded?
Plastic parts made of FDM are capable of being sanded with belt sanders or by hand. Think of it as sanding down an automotive part of a piece of wood. The nice thing about sanding is that it doesn’t cost a lot and is and effective method for getting a smooth finish on your print.
Sanding is one of the most commonly used techniques for finishing a 3D-printed part. You can sand and smooth nearly all your pieces with the exception of a few tiny parts.
What is the life expectancy of a PLA print?
A decent 3D printed piece will take roughly 6 months to start showing signs of stress and decay. This will show up in the form of cracks and lines in your piece. Of course, the length of time it takes depends largely on the conditions in which the piece resides.
While you may notice that the piece isn’t as perfect as it once was, in the right conditions, your printed project may last up to a decade and a half.
Are the parts I printed on my 3D printer airtight?
With a high-quality 3D printer, you can now print watertight objects such as canisters, cups, and containers. This type of technology makes it possible to create 3D prints that will float or even hold water.
So, what are you waiting for? Go print that 3D boat you’ve always wanted and give take it for a swim!
Can I make money using my 3D printer?
Sure, you can! One of the simplest ways to earn a little extra money is by using your multi-color 3D printer to create items and sell them. There are sites available online through which you can sell your goods, or you can always create your own.
List your multi-color 3D printer as a service available to others and have them pay you for any items or pieces that you print.
Getting started with 3D printing is not an easy thing to do, which makes it all the more important that you find the printer that fits your needs. It is a difficult task, but one that needs to be taken seriously.
The fact that 3D printers and the materials they need can be costly makes the decision that much more important. Chances are you don’t have an unlimited budget, so buying a multi-color 3D printer more than one time likely isn’t an option.
That’s why it is crucial that you consider each and every feature you want prior to making your final decision. These printers are costly and are designed to serve specific purposes and functions. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth it.
Be sure to find one that meets your needs and expectations. Focus on the details. What requirements does your multi-color 3D printer have to have? As you do your research, you’ll discover that the choices will be narrowed down to less than a handful of options.
Once you’ve found a few you like, you’ll be able to find the one that fits what you need. If need be, make a list and check off the items as you complete your search. Remember, you don’t need a multi-color 3D printer that has all the best bells and whistles. You need one that has the features and functionality that suits your purposes. Look for that, and you’ll wind up with exactly what you want.