3D printing objects using dual colors with perfection and neatness is a difficult trait to achieve. Dual extrusion FDM 3D printing is becoming widespread but Microsoft plans to take it a step further. They have just patented a new 3D printing system that 3D prints objects in full color by creating mixtures of 3D printable materials with a 2D printer’s CMYK colors and white.
The patent has been approved by the US patent 9,434,108. The patent was filed by Yulin Jin, Emmett Lalish, Jesse McGatha, Kris N. Iverson, and Shanen J. Boettcher on behalf of Microsoft Technology Licensing. This patent houses various methods for mixing CMYKW (cyan, magenta, yellow, key or black and white) 3D printable materials and translating the design from a CAD model to 3D printed object.
The Windows team attaches color information to every slice of layer and polygon. Thence colored polygon layers are generated on every layer based on colors of various aspects like faces, gradient, and texture. This technique can be used for colored but unspecified 3D printed materials. The polygons are f3D printed and then the colors are switched. The exterior layers of the colors are also smoothened. Transitional materials are also used for support structures.
The 3D printed management system requires a complete set of codes that can be stored in different platforms. Though this sounds easy, a lot of technicalities are involved in commencing the project. The 3D printing technology can take several shapes, Cartesian or others. And the coordinate systems such as polar coordinate systems or similar systems can also be used.
It is yet to be seen how successful this patent of Microsoft is in envisaging a colored 3D printer. It might take several years before this technology becomes a reality. Though they have showcased an example of three colors, they also added that the mixing could be possible with 4, 5, 6 and many more materials.