About this project
We’ve seen 3D printers become easier to use, more affordable, and more accessible; but the range of objects they can create has remained the same. No one has taken these printers to the next level... until now.
The Palette lets you build an unprecedented range of creations on the 3D printer you already own. The ability to print with up to four colours, or materials with different properties, lets your printer move beyond creating simple, single colour plastic objects.
Bring your printer into the future with The Palette.
The Palette was designed from the ground up for the 3D printing community, it was engineered with simplicity in mind.
If you can use a 3D printer, you can build high quality colour creations with The Palette.
You can skip the upgrade cycle of buying an expensive printer, keep using your favourite slicer, and use whatever filament supplier you want!
The Palette isn’t limited to colour; you can add in many of today’s exotic filaments, like Conductive, Carbon Fiber Infused, Stainless Steel Infused and Woodfill, just to name a few.
This gear is a composite structure made from clear PLA and carbon fiber reinforced filament, meant to illustrate the potential for composites in 3D printing.
The top of this nametag was created with bronze infused filament so it looks and feels like metal. On the back of the nametag there is a bar made from magnetic filament allowing it to work as a magnetic nametag.
This light switch cover has glow in the dark features to help you find it at night.
Did you know coasters can be smart? When a hot item is placed on this one, it tells you so. This was printed using different PLA’s as well as thermochromatic filament.
3D printing is about the communication of ideas. This communication is restricted by the single colour limitation our machines are faced with today.
Removing this single colour limitation lets you increase the communication potential of your printer, and lets you truly bring your imagination into the three dimensional world.
FDM 3D printers run off of plastic filament, the colour of your filament determines the colour of your object.
The Palette takes in four filament inputs and combines them together into a single filament output!
Everything is done automatically, from the order of the filaments, to their exact length, to make sure every colour shows up exactly where it should!
All you have to do is go through the simple setup sequence and print like you normally would!
If your printer uses open 1.75mm filament, has access to the filament feed, and runs on .gcode or .x3g then you can unleash it's true potential with The Palette.
The Palette requires no modifications, wiring, or hardware changes to your printer. Because of this, it's compatible with a wide range of printers!
Check out the F.A.Q. for full details on compatibility, as well as how you can test your printer!
The Palette lets you continue to use your favourite modeling and slicer programs!
You then run the output through our application. Our app gives you the modified .gcode/.x3g file for your printer and the .SEEM file for The Palette!
You put the .gcode/.x3g file onto your printer, the .SEEM file onto your Palette, and hit print!
We're open sourcing all of our software and firmware so you can add in any features you'd like to see!
Below are a few features our backers have already dreamed up:
Printing isn't a perfect science, so we created a feedback loop to ensure The Palette and your printer are always on the same page. Mosaic's app inputs a series of checkpoints into the .gcode/.x3g file.
The Palette reads these checkpoints, and if the buffer is shifting, the Palette makes adjustments to the upcoming lengths of filament to ensure every piece of filament goes back to being perfectly synced!
Add $60 CAD to your pledge if you want to order 4 Filament Storage Modules.
Add $125 CAD to your pledge for 4 KGs of filament (a survey will be sent out for colour selection after the campaign ends).
Our team has lived and breathed colour 3D printing for the past year now. We’ve gone from ideas on a white board, to a fully functioning aesthetic prototype.
Now we need your help to bring it to production. The money we raise on Kickstarter will go straight towards delivering you the best product possible, as quickly as possible.
Proudly Canadian: Design, Assembly, and Quality Control completed in Canada
Press Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Palette would not exist if it wasn’t for our huge support network. We’d like to take a second to thank everyone who’s been following our email updates for the past six months. Without you this project never would have come into existence.
A huge thank you to the Queen’s Innovation Connector, FounderFuel, The National Research Council of Canada, and LaunchLab for their continued support.
Finally, to our friends and family who have supported us every step of the way.
A special thank you to all of the designers who created models featured in this campaign:
- 2-color tree frog by nervoussystem (www.thingiverse.com/thing:329436)
- Elephant by LeFabShop (www.thingiverse.com/thing:257911)
- Excavator by MakerBot (www.thingiverse.com/thing:273950)
- Custom Sleeve for Coffee and Tea Cups by sethmoser (www.thingiverse.com/thing:99020)
- Pixel Star from Mario Bros games. by fkjolner (www.thingiverse.com/thing:582011)
- WAVE 01|02|03|04 by Zampik (www.thingiverse.com/thing:390713)
- Maple Leaf Candy Dish by araspitfire (https://www.youmagine.com/designs/4026)
- Another Koch Snowflake Vase by amitnehra (www.thingiverse.com/thing:40087)
- Twisted Bottle by 2ROBOTGUY (www.thingiverse.com/thing:12278)
- Cotte de maille chain by LeFabShop (www.thingiverse.com/thing:746522)
- Koch Snowflake Vase 1 by sphynx (www.thingiverse.com/thing:35246)
- Prosthetic Leg Cover by 3D Life Prints (http://www.3dlifeprints.com/)
- Terrain STL Generator by ThatcherC (http://jthatch.com/terrain2stl/)
- Amiga Boing Ball by rweaving (www.thingiverse.com/thing:21591)
- Canada Opener by s_p_e_x (www.thingiverse.com/thing:28605 )
Risks and challenges
Over the past year the team at Mosaic has encountered numerous challenges as we worked to develop The Palette and the company that would make it a reality. As we move forward with the fulfillment of the rewards we understand there are many associated risks and unforeseen challenges that will arise. There are a few areas that we have identified as having elevated risk, and wanted to share the plans we have in place to deal with them.
Building a reliable supply chain is something we have focused on from very early on in the development of The Palette. We started by making the decision to source components from industrial component suppliers right after we hit the proof of concept stage with our prototype. This meant that we started using the same components we would one day ship in The Palette. Because this was done early in the development process we have developed strong relationships with our suppliers. For almost every component, we ordered similar ones from different suppliers to check the relative quality of the parts, as well as the reliability of each source. We then followed up by making orders by the hundreds and getting personal references to ensure we could be confident about building a given supplier into our supply chain. We have advisors with experience in this space, which has proved invaluable in helping us in building a strong foundation. As we move towards fulfillment we will continue to test various aspects of our supply chain and will ensure we have at least one backup supplier for every component and service.
We believe that having a proof of concept and renders of what the final product would look like was not enough to come to Kickstarter. The process of turning a prototype into a production ready product is not an easy, or predictable task, and can often lead to unexpected costs and delays. To avoid this we set our sights on having pre-production units ready before we launched, made with the same components and manufacturing methods that will be used during production wherever possible. Although we have come most of the way, there are still a few areas where final optimization needs to occur. One example is for some of the internal structure components of the Palette. We have opted to use laser cut PMMA up until now, and are currently in the process of replacing these components with sheet metal. We have completed this transition for the external components of The Palette with the help from a manufacturing partner, and are confident we will be able to work together to transition the internal components in the same manner.
ASSEMBLY AND QUALITY CONTROL
We recognize that going from a handful of units to hundreds, or thousands, while maintaining the same quality standards we were able to achieve when building each by hand is going to be a very difficult task. With a new product, loaded with a new technology inside of it, there will be a lot of learning and optimizing along the way. Pulling from the experience of our advisors who have gone through the process in the past we identified that assembling units here in Canada would lead to the highest quality output, and could be done at a reasonable cost if the right planning was done ahead of time. With this in mind from early on, The Palette has been designed to be highly modular consisting of many discrete off the shelf components and custom sub-assemblies. This makes it practical to complete final assembly in-house as it requires light assembly and electronics termination. We are developing a production team who will come on board well before production begins to become well acquainted with The Palette. The Palettes will be assembled through a batch assembly operation that, when optimized, will allow for substantial throughput. Working with experienced advisors who have set up similar operations in Canada we believe this will lead to the highest consistent output quality possible. When problems arise on the production floor, we will be able to address them within hours, not needing to hop on a plane.
The QC process has been designed to take place in line with the assembly process. We will leverage the sensory systems built into the Palette, as well as external testing rigs, and overall system tests to ensure each system and subsystem has been checked multiple times. Before each Palette is shipped it will run through a “torture test” that it will need to pass in order to move to packaging. These steps will increase the overall processing time but are necessary to ensure the quality of each unit is up to our standards.
We look forward to developing a relationship with our backers and welcoming you into the Mosaic family. We value two way communication and pledge to do our part to keep you updated on challenges and milestones so that you always know what we are up to. There is no question that we will have our fair share of challenges ahead of us but we are confident that we have the right team, support network, and community alongside us to execute on our plans. We can’t wait to get the power of the Palette in your hands and to see what you will create with it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
You can purchase The Palette on our site: www.mosaicmanufacturing.com
The Palette’s software works with existing multi-extruder slicers on the market. You start by configuring your slicer to prepare a four extruder print and then assign each extruder to the appropriate .stl files. You slice the parts, create four extruder .gcode. Using Mosaic’s software app, this .gcode is processed to make it ready for your single extruder printer. The app also creates a .SEEM file which can be loaded onto the Palette using the included SD card. The .SEEM file contains all of the information that the Palette needs in order to change filaments at the correct times and to stay in tune with your printer.
As a bonus, we have built this process into a simple Cura plugin! This means that all you need to do in Cura (a great - free - open source slicing program) is import your models, press slice, and it will create the .gcode for your printer, and .SEEM file for the Palette in one shot.
We also are creating tutorials explaining the process to ensure you a smooth transition to printing with multiple filaments.
Our software solutions allow the use of a wide variety of slicers. In general, it will work with any slicer that outputs standard .gcode and supports multiple extruders. The software has been designed to allow you to use the slicing package you are most comfortable and experienced with. A few examples of slicers it will work with are Cura, Slic3r, and Simplify 3D.
We will provide documentation on configuring slicers prior to shipping The Palette.
Open 1.75mm Filament
If you can use a standard spool of 1.75mm filament with your printer then you are good! Proprietary filament cartridges like those used on the Stratasys Mojo will not work with the Palette.
The Palette creates filament for your printer to print with so there must be access to pass the filament to your printer’s extruder from outside the printer. In general, there are very few printers where this is a concern.
If your printer runs off of .gcode or .x3g then it will be compatible with our software, learn more If your printer runs on closed source proprietary software then it will not work directly with the Palette’s software solutions.
The hot end on your printer will dictate how well it can transition from one filament to the next.
Yep! You can use The Palette with a direct drive or a Bowden system. From the printer’s point of view, using the The Palette’s output was designed to be essentially the same as pulling a single filament off of a spool.
You don’t need to make any modifications to your printer! The closest thing to a modification is that the scroll wheel will need to be attached to your printer. We include a piece of adhesive backed Velcro to make this quick and easy.
You’ll get your very own Palette, along with the scroll wheel, teflon tubing, a power supply, some basic tools, USB cable and an SD Card. Some basic assembly may be required to accommodate shipping.
Multiple filament models are just like regular single filament models except that there are separate .stl files for each component. When you are modeling for multi-filament prints, you can export each grouping of components as their own .stl file so that you can later assign them to a certain filament colour or type in the slicing software. Downloading multi-filament models is just as easy as before where now there will be multiple .stl files rather than just one. We will provide tutorials to get you started with designing multi-filament models.
9. When switching between colours, my printer blends the two materials together. How does the Palette create clean areas on the part?
HOT END TRANSITONING
As the hot end on a 3D printer transitions from one filament to the next some degree of blending will occur. For instance, when going from blue to yellow, there will be a section of transition material that may have a green tint. To account for this, the transition material can be discarded to allow for only the pure filament to be used. There are some 3D printers that transition from one filament to the next very quickly limiting the amount of transition waste, while others can take much longer to do so. There is a setting in our software solution to control how much transition material is discarded between filament changes to allow this to be easily tweaked for different printers. If you would like to check the transition properties of your 3D printer there is a simple test you can perform. Take two pieces of filament that are different colors and run them through your printer one after another. Keep on extruding the second material through until the extruded material has fully transitioned to the colour of the second filament, the shorter the transition, the less material that will be need to be discarded during a transition when printing with The Palette.
DEALING WITH TRANSITION MATERIAL
There are a number of common ways to deal with the transition material. The most common solution is to use a transition tower which is a sacrificial structure built up alongside your printer part. This is similar to a wipe tower or cooling tower commonly used with multi-extruder systems. When the hot end needs to transition from one filament to the next, it prints the transition material onto this transition tower. Another solution is to discard the transition material off the side of the printer’s build plate. This is a quick and simple way to achieve a similar result to the transition tower. For some parts the transition material can be hidden as infill. We are working on streamlining our software to simplify the process of setting this up on different printers. There is also a lot of opportunity to optimize the transition process and minimizing the amount of material that is wasted. We are continuously working on this and have already seen large improvements in the last couple months.
The reward price does not include shipping, duties, or taxes unless specified in the reward. Following the campaign we will be collecting more information from backers including shipping information, filament colours, and any other specifics relevant to their rewards. In the months leading up to shipping rewards we will get in touch to collect payment for shipping and any other country specific duties or taxes required to get you your rewards.
Multi-colour printing means that The Palette can use the 4 input filament colours to create a part on your 3D printer that has these 4 colours in it. The same can be said for multi-filament printing where this is more broad and can apply to the use of filaments with different properties such as strength, conductance, or texture to name a few. There is incidental blending that occurs inside of a 3D printer’s hot end which can, in some cases, be leveraged to create gradients and blending although the Palette itself does not blend the 4 input filaments together. There have been some publications that loosely use the terms ‘full colour’ or ‘colour blending’ and we wanted to clarify that The Palette is in fact a multi-colour / multi-filament technology.
One of the requirements to use different filaments together is that they have temperature compatibility. This means that they can both be extruded at similar temperature since they will be passing through the same hot end. As a lot of 3DP filaments were engineered to be used on printers designed to extrude PLA or ABS, we have found that there are a large number of filaments that meet this requirement. We have found that as long as the extrusion temperatures of the 4 filaments are within 5-10 degrees of each other, good performance can be achieved. In a more extreme case we were able to splice and print filaments that differed by 20 degrees although this is something we would consider experimental at this point.
The Palette has been optimized for the PLA family of filaments. You can use the filament you already have with your Palette or buy some new material from your favorite filament suppliers.
We have used over a dozen different brands of filament and have been able to print reliably with all of them. We have found that you get the best results when using 4 filaments from the same supplier, although we have had success loading The Palette with 4 filaments from different suppliers.
If you purchase the ‘Ultimate Package’ reward or the 4KG Colour Filament Pack add on, you will receive very high quality PLA filament. We have done extensive testing with this filament and would highly recommend using it with your Palette.
The filament storage modules are designed to provide a low rolling friction, sturdy, and durable, stacking solution that fits almost any sized spool of filament. These units can be used with The Palette for multi-filament printing. Loading a spool of filament into each unit allows it to spin freely on 4 roller bearings. The low rolling resistance allows more consistent performance from The Palette. The storage units are stackable allowing you to arrange them however you like to save desk space. They also include filament locking holes where you can fix the filament end when the spool is not being used. This is really convenient as it helps avoid the filament getting tangled.
The storage units will be shipped as a kit which includes the necessary roller bearings, steel hardware, vertical structures, and tools to put them together. We estimate it will take less than 20 minutes for the one time assembly of the units. We will provide STL files for the 3D printed cross struts of the storage units in dozens of common spool thicknesses so that you can download and print the right size for your spools. You will be required to print these cross struts yourself (4 cross struts per storage module). The struts have been designed so that regardless of the spool size they have been printed for, they are all able to stack onto one another. We will provide an instructional video as well as written documentation to ensure you can get your storage units assembled in no time.
Please note, the storage units shown in the campaign are subject to change as the design has not yet been finalized. We are working to optimize the stability, rolling performance, and ease of assembly for the units. We appreciate your understanding and will be sure to share images of the finalized storage unit designs as soon as they are ready.
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