Development of a Multicolor 3D Printer Using a Novel Filament Shifting Mechanism

Van Nguyen Thi Hai, Sinh Nguyen Phu, Terence Essomba, Jiing Yih Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Three-dimensional printing has become an unchallenged method for the manufacturing of complex shape objects. Although multicolor devices in Fuse Filament Feeder category recently have shown promising developments, their number still remains limited. The present study intro-duces the design of a new prototype of three-dimensional printer using Fused Filament Feeder and capable of printing multicolor objects. A single-color three-dimensional printer is used as a platform and is augmented for multicolor printing by the implementation of a mechatronic device that pro-vides two functions. First, a transmission mechanism based on planetary gears allows feeding the selected filament color toward the printing head. The second function is provided by a combination of a central cam disk and several pushing rods. It allows selecting the filament color to be fed by the transmission system. The mechatronic device has been dimensioned to manage five different filament colors and the printing head has been modified to accommodate a five-to-one diamond noz-zle. The filament shifting device is integrated into the single-color three-dimensional printer and a series of validation experiments has been carried out. These tests have demonstrated the new prototype ability to print out multicolor objects and to rival with commercial three-dimensional printers in terms of dimensional accuracy. This shows the ability of the proposed design and method to be used to upgrade a standard single-color 3D printer into a multicolor one. The presented multicolor 3D printer will be available to the 3D printing community for free.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • additive manufacturing
  • filament shifting device
  • multicolor 3D printer


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