Universal Filament Colorizer

by berky93, published

Universal Filament Colorizer by berky93 Jun 30, 2016
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A simple filament dyer that should work with most filament sizes and printers. Uses a standard Sharpie permanent marker (other brands should work, as well) as a pigment source. The simple design allows for easy changing of markers mid-print and won't interfere with a print, allowing you to keep the Colorizer on at all times even when not using a marker.

Prints easily with no supports. Simply supply a rubber band of appropriate size for the marker you are using. I recommend using a mini permanent marker if your printer is enclosed to ensure it won't hit any walls and cause print errors. As with all pigment systems, it's recommended to "flush" your nozzle with un-colored filament every so often to prevent jamming. Simply printing a model without the markers in should do the trick.

I've also included a filament_colorizer_double.STL file that allows for the use of two markers for more even pigment application (with only one you get a sort of directional coloring effect that can actually be used to create some awesome looking parts, but it might not be ideal for every situation). It can be used to get more even color application or to mix colors for interesting effects. Some users have found that (carefully) splitting the tip of your marker with a sharp blade can make the color application more effective.

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Will the sharpie fumes from melting it be bad to breath in?

I've never experienced nor heard about side effects from this process but I imagine i could be somewhat akin to people who use markers as inhalants. That is, not great, but not immediately life-threatening. My suggestion would be to treat it similar to printing with a filament that might give off toxic fumes: print in a ventilated area, and you should be fine.

Will this pollute my hot-end or is it no worse than the pigment already in the filament?

I haven't had any issues in my tests but others using similar techniques have said that prolonged use can cause clogs. I would say just clean out your nozzle by printing without the markers every so often and you should be fine.

Tried my own remixed version of this with disappointing results although I did not use a sharpie I expected some kind of result now I only got a disappointing discolouration of the filament i ran through it. If you have had better results any tips are appreciated. I suppose I have the sharpie left to try but haw are your results looking?

It depends on what your issue is. I found that some colors of Sharpie markers work better than others. For instance, red seems to come out as more of a dull yellow but blue worked pretty well. I also find it helps to "prime" the marker by sliding the holder up the filament about an inch and then inserting the Sharpie and then sliding it back down to ensure ink is flowing well. I've heard of some people splitting the head of the marker with a razor so it has a groove for the filament to fit through, though I haven't tried this myself.

The problem is that here simply isn't enough pigment getting on the filament I even drilled a hole straight through a pen and pulled the filament through this covered it as much as is possible still the colour came out disappointing. Given this pen was red but i would have expected more.

That's interesting, I haven't experienced anything like that. Generally I find that if you can see a clear streak of color on the filament you'll get at least some noticeable tinting on the print. I would suggest perhaps trying another color or another brand of marker as there are definite differences in each type of pigment.

maybe at some point in the future at the moment however i have moved on to other projects.

Comments deleted.

Thanks for your response. I printed the thing earlier and will experiment with it later...if I can find a Sharpie in a color other than black! Just in case, I'll cover the open end with a bit of tape.

This is a great idea but...one question: Sharpies are notorious for drying out when left uncapped for even a short while. And this thing is open at the end. Do you recommend coloring a bunch of filament before printing, or coloring while printing? If the latter, how do you cover the end to keep the sharpie from drying out?

So far I haven't experienced any drying out from my markers. I believe this is because ink is constantly being pulled through the tip onto the filament. If you were to just leave the marker there when not printing I imagine it would dry out. However, I don't recommend that anyway as in my experience leaving a marker touching the filament in the same spot for an extended period of time makes it prone to breakage when it starts feeding. Your best bet for smooth, consistent operation is to insert the marker right at the start of the print. I either pause my print right as it starts or just quickly insert the marker during the initial bit of material my printer lays down before it starts printing the actual model. I also recommend using a raft simply to force a bit of extra extrusion time before the printer actually starts on your model. This ensures there is no undyed section at the base of your object.

Cool design, it's different. Thanks