The Saturday Killer

by br3ttb, published

The Saturday Killer by br3ttb Oct 16, 2011

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26 prints. 25 color changes. 10 Zoffset adjustments. 3 hours. And that's not including designing time (which I'm scared to tally.)

I really, really wanted to see how far I could push multicolor printing, and I think this is it; I'm not sure I can push any farther.

What we have here is a 5 color bottle opener with text on the 4 edges. I went with a play on the classic Simpsons line: "Beer. Cause of. Solution to. Problems" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUVwR0rw5fk )

As you can imagine, the process was pretty tricky. I needed to make and position an object for each color in OpenSCAD. Then, because this was going to be done as a series of prints, I needed to pre-slice those objects into 2 layer pieces (except for the top and bottom - those were 4 layers)

The main challenge I had was getting the text to skein faithfully. Rounded edges caused the text hole to sometimes be a different size than the text that was going there.

So... after 10 hours of trying other fonts... I made my own custom font. sort of. I only made the letters I needed. With layer thickness and path width as variables, I was able to get hole and text to match. But it really only came together once I added a solid bar behind each of the text objects. This caused each layer of the text to be skeined as a nearly-continuous stream, which really improved final quality.

Anyway. I'm tired. Time to go lay down.

More info here: http://brettbeauregard.com/blog/2011/10/a-proper-multi-color-print/

UPDATE: I created the rest of the alphabet and put it into a work-in-progress font here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:12618


  1. Abandon all sense of time

  2. Figure out how to adjust layer thickness in the scad (mine is 0.36mm)

  3. Decide that you really don't want to do this

  4. Wow you still want to do this? Ok. Make the ~26 files you'll need.

  5. Still want to do this?

  6. Ok. Print the files in order, adjusting the Z-offset in the motherboard settings when necessary, and changing colors between each print.

  7. Check yourself into the looney bin. Maybe they'll give you a room next to mine.

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I'm never going to print this but it makes me happy that it exists.

pushing it farther would be to: a write a plugin for skeinforge that can handle multicolour stuff like this. Then add some gcode to pull back the filament at layer change, select the next colour with a T command, and let your colour- (tool) changer jam a next filament into the extruder, purge it and continue printing.

With a lot of gcode massaging (or clever end.gcode and start.gcode) you could let the machine do a lot of work for you (retracting), but some needed stuff like M1 does not seem to work any more in repg-26.

yes. yes that would be farther. I don't think I can go there. in fact just reading it makes we want to curl up into a little ball and suck my thumb.

Awesome! Just think, with 2 extruders it would only take 13 prints. :)

Given the option I think i'd make one dedicated black and swap the other extruder. Changing from black to another color takes FOREVER.

that was quick!

yeah I felt I needed to create a "completely insane" tag for this one

Wow x2, imagine a crack in the red-black zone :O

I was worried about the strength, consdering all the crazy internal tool paths. I printed all the stls in one color ahead of time as a test. turns out there's no noticable difference in strength!