“Witness the world in living color” is more a phrase you’d like to hear a drunk Will Ferrall say, not a phrase usually associated with 3D printing. While some companies (botObjetcs, Spectrom, etc.) tried a slight-of-hand at producing full-color CMYKW prints, most of them fell short of delivering on their claims. Israel-based Something3D wants to throw their hat in the ring. Well, back in the ring, grabbing that phrase and the bona fides of being the first truly capable of full-spectrum, multi-filament color blending with the re-introduction (it was originally introduced in 2015) of their Chameleon 3D printer, unveiled at this year’s CES in Las Vegas.
Not convinced? Well, we’re skeptical too, but tell us what you think of this:
The cool part? The company can use the 3D printer to apply an image (JPEG at this point) to an object’s outer shell using a texture application while the object is being printed, again in almost any color imaginable. The secret to the Chameleon lies in the color cartridge that houses several colored filaments including Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, and White.
To make a multi-colored print, all filaments feed into a single extruder, where they are heated, mixed together and pumped out while the gantry rises above the heated print bed. Printing multiple colors is enough of a headache, as it requires timing for filament feeding and there’s no way you’re getting a blend of colors or the gradients show in their examples.
It’s a nightmare for a printer with several extruders, so you can imagine the thought put into a solution using a single extruder. Something3D states the Chameleon combines the color using their “specialized software and ingenious nozzle design” which adjusts the color on the fly without any lag. It also uses what they call “special gCode” to transfer the image and texture information to the printed object. So, in other words, magic.
While Something3D hasn’t set a price for their Chameleon 3D printer, it will come with everything needed to get up and running including an assembled unit, 1Kg of color filament, USB cable, and software.
As far as specs go, the Chameleon V1.0 printer has a heated print bed, a max print size of 300 X 300 X 340mm and a resolution of 50-microns. It also supports Cura and ColorIT, takes advantage of OBJ file types and has a print speed of 50-80mm/s. Although they have a spot for it on their store page, it’s currently unknown when (or if) the printer will be released and at what price-point. Judging from their other offerings (Tyrian, Han and Royal) it could be anywhere from $2,575 or over $5,000.
Though they have the printer listed among their offerings, their goal is to partner with other hardware/software manufacturers to make the technology available to a wider audience. We like the idea of that. Although, if their demonstration printer is as convincing a product as it seems, we smell an interested buyer snatching it up for keepsies.