We made these color cubes to test the new XYZ da Vinci Color 3D printer. The cubes were colored as they were printed, with each extrusion layer “painted” by CMYK ink cartridges inside the printer. Like most really great ideas, the idea of combining FFF with ink jet color is so elegant and obvious that we can’t believe we didn’t think of it earlier, but we’re glad that XYZ did! The cubes are designed to ben impossible to print in color simply by swapping filament at different layer heights; it’s fun to hand these cubes to someone familiar with typical desktop 3D printing and watch them try to figure out how they could have been made.
Although adding color to 3D models can sometimes be a challenge, in this case it was very easy. We simply built the model in Tinkercad and assigned colors there before exporting in OBJ format with an MTL texture file. You can play with the Tinkercad file yourself if you want to remix the cube for your own color tests.
Full disclaimer: XYZprinting provided us with a beta version of their da Vinci Color printer for testing, and that’s why we designed this model. To tell you the truth, before it arrived we really didn’t expect it to work at all, since we had never thought a full-color filament printer would be possible. But we were wrong; the printer really does work, and it really does print in color!