Rarely has a hobby been as capricious as 3D printing. Choosing the right machine at the right price is hard enough, but even the printing itself can be a perilous task. Things get stuck or come unstuck if the temperature changes. Additionally, there is filament loading and unloading and clogged nozzle management. 3D printing can be a bit of a challenge that’s really ready to test your patience, and that’s before you jump into multi-color prints.
Once you get comfortable enough with your printing technique, you’ll want to print some interesting stuff to make it worthwhile. Probably something that has more than one color, but adds a lot of complexity and time. Changing a color while printing usually requires the printer to complete a purge block to make a smooth color transition. These take ages and waste heaps of 3D filament, especially if there is a big difference between the colors.
When prints already take hours or even days, adding bleed blocks here and there to make the color transition can easily double that time. That’s why this Kickstarter (opens in a new tab) promising an interchangeable nozzle for your 3D printer, it could save your life.
The Swapper3D is a removable mod that adds automatic nozzle swapping to your existing FDM 3D printer. It is developed by BigBrain3D (opens in a new tab) which has already had successful Kickstarter campaigns around color 3D printing software.
The unit can hold up to 25 nozzles ready for quick replacement during the printing process. They sit on a rotating disc and, as each nozzle contains only one color of filament, eliminates the need to print unnecessary and unnecessary bleed blocks. They can also contain different materials or sizes for more variations.
The project is still supported, so if you want to take advantage of pre-sale offers, you can pre-purchase a Swapper3D for $399 CAD (about $310 USD). It actually costs more than my 3D printer so I’m probably not the target market for this device. However, for anyone doing a decent amount of color swap printing, it could save a lot of time, money, and waste.
If you are looking for cool printing projects, the CAD files for a Steam Deck (opens in a new tab) shell are available. Or maybe you can donate your printing skills for good and get accessible controllers adaptable to people in need. (opens in a new tab).