New 3-Way Extruder Design Yields Multi-color 3D Printed Parts

Triple extruder head makes multi-color 3D printing a reality.

3-D printing is fantastic but one of limitations we run into all the time is the limited selection of colors of filament to print with. It would be fantastic to print with multiple colors in the same part. The MakerBot Replicator has done this using a two extruder head design. Their approach is fine however it keeps both filaments entirely separate. The melted plastic is not mixed in the head. First one extruder prints then the other extruder prints.

What we really want to do is to actually mix the melted filament in the head as it’s being laid down. Theoretically it certainly possible however no one’s come up with a reasonable solution. At least, not until now.

RichRap just posted some great photos and full explanation of the three way extruder that he developed. His new head design actually melts and mixes the plastic in the same head. It’s already achieved some really impressive results. Take a look at his website tosee some of the multicolor parts that he’s been able to print.

Of course, there’s some downside. The additional mass having three extruders moving with the head is certainly going to result in some technical difficulties. And, no doubt there’ll be some ghosting in the print. Nevertheless his results are extremely encouraging.

via 3-way Quick-fit Extruder and Colour Blending Nozzle.

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