This article was written by Steve Olsson, Lead Program Manager on the 3D Print team.
What does it mean to make 3D prints with multiple colors or materials? Has anyone really accomplished this in the desktop printer arena? I know of a few that have but it is really not easy to get right.
3D printing with multiple colors and materials has just become much easier with the latest release of 3D Builder. For this release, the focus of 3D builder has been multi-color and textures while maintaining the ease of use. These new features are available whether you have a desktop printer or not, as one can easily order a print through our "Buy Print" functionality. We have partnered with 3D Systems to provide a very simple way for users to get terrific looking professional parts through their Cubify platform. Cubify has CloudPrint capabilities for dozens of high end materials including full-CMYK Colorstone, durable Everalast nylon and Lucite-like Clear material.
We have been working with 3D Systems and their new Cube 3 printer. This printer is interesting for several reasons:
- It can determine what the material and color is loaded in the printer so we can allow the user to choose colors and materials directly in 3D builder.
- It has an auto bed leveling and auto z-gap capability making the printer easy to use right out of the box.
- It is a sleek design and it has a Windows driver that makes it plug and play. It was the first printer to get the windows logo.
We are all impressed with this printer and we think these advanced features will help move the market to an easier experience with 3D print.
3D builder has new features that make it work well with the Cube 3. We allow a user to choose the material and color for a model prior to printing and provide a color rendering for viewing prior to print. If the material and color don't match the loaded material, the printer will ask if the user wishes to load the proper material or continue with the material loaded. Since the Cube 3 is a multi-extruder machine you can now create models with 2 colors, visualize them and print them directly.
We also added the ability to import and export .PLY files with color. This will allow one to import or export objects with color into different applications or professional tools.
As we work with the industry we expect to see great new capabilities in these printers. In the meantime please don't hesitate trying scanning yourself or your best friend in 3D builder using the Kinect V2 scanner and order a full color model with the "Buy Print " option. We have all had great fun scanning and printing ourselves. We even scanned the Microsoft executives to make a chess set but we could not get volunteers to be the pawns from that group. Scanned Models, placed on a trophy base and embossed, make great trophies and keepsakes at a reasonable price.
Microsoft continues to seek innovations from manufacturers to improve 3D builder and evolve 3D printing. We are working closely with the industry to ensure new plug and play drivers are available for many of the popular models, a list of the newly supported printers and applications follow:
These applications can 3D print using the "file print" capabilities in Windows 8.1:
We continue to work with the industry to get printers supported with a plug and play driver:
- 3D Systems - Cube 3
- MakerBot - Replicator 2, Replicator 3 (gen 5), Mini, Z-18
- Printrbot - Metal Simple
- XYZ Printing - Da Vinci 1.0
- TierTime - Up Plus 2, Up Plus 2 Mini