As Valentines Day is upon us once more, we wondered what amorous objects we could 3D print. After scouring Thingiverse, our Marketing Assistant Yaros found these very affectionate salt and pepper pots. He soon learned valuable lessons about how to deal with 3d problems like cross contamination when printing in two colours and cracks on your prints.

Having chosen what he would print, it was now time to try printing with two colours at once. The benefits are clear: you can press print, come back in two hours and everything is ready. There is no need to start each figure independently, clean the platform and preheat the printer. There is however one big disadvantage that lead to our 3d problems. Can you guess what it is?

When you print in two colours, the printer automatically creates a wall, surrounding the object in order to protect the new creation from cross colour contamination. It essentially stops the leftovers on the left nozzle brushing over the object and cross-contaminating the colours.

In the image below you can see how the black wall caught bits of white leftovers. If there was no wall, these would end up on the black figure, messing up the object.

While the black wall did a great job of stopping white filament accidentally contaminating the black figure, the white wall was not as effective, causing some bits of black being spread over the white statue.

In another case Yaros printed two pieces at once using two colours and deselected the “raft” option. This also deactivated the protective wallsthat prevent the colour cross contamination from happening. Due to this, the object was printed with visible defects.

Once the hugging salt and pepper couple were finished, he noticed that, apart from a slight mixture of colours, the white figure had a crack across the face. Although he did not realise why at first, our Designer and Engineer, Ralph, explained that this usually happens due to changes in temperature. He also remembered that towards the end of building these hugging figures, he ran out of filament and had to stop the print. This was only a three minute break or so but it must have been enough for the object to cool down enough not to stick to the next layer.


Salt figure with crack across his face

Well, as Shakespeare himself said, “the course of true love never did run smooth”. None of us are perfect and our pepper pots are no exception, however, with some practice and another reprint we hope that we can fix these 3d problems and perfect the couple post-Valentines Day. We’ll be sure to post the results…

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