Introduction: How to 3d Print a 6 Color Fox

This instructable will combine art and 3d Printing together to create the knight logo mascot of my school. The knight is made up of 4 filaments: black, green, white and grey. The way this works is that you print the stl, after certain amount of layers with one color you change the color into the next to get the multiple color look from above. This concept may be hard to understand so please read through the rest of the instructable which will explain the concept and the intricate steps involved.

So this is what you need:

1. A printer (suited for this: explained later)

2. Different color filaments for each layer

3. Cutters

4. Ruler/measuring tape

5. Slicing engine for the printer

*the printer you need must make it easy to change out filament one after the other without stopping or pausing the print so bowden type extruder or ones with very long tube will be more difficult as you rely on the new filament to push the rest of the old filament out (every time you transition a layer)

Step 1: Prepare Your Filaments

Combining art with 3d printing requires some math to get the image just right when printing.This step will make sense once the later steps are viewed. You have to calculate how much of each colored filament is in each section before you print so you have them lined up so once a color is done, the next is immediately witched in. Since there are 6 layers there will be 6 different lengths of filament to switch in. The diagram shows this principle of how the extrusion layer work from a side and top view.

Attached is a cad of the model we are printing (it is very flat like a painting with layers of filament instead of paint). I cadded it using an image and extruding 6 layers representing the 6 colors that will show.

Step 2: Prepare .stl to .gcode

Using your slicing engine make sure you have these settings or the print and math wont work!

1. 100% infill = This is the most important to make calculating filament easiest

2. No brim or raft = No extra is needed for this because makes math unnecessary complicated

3. Top layer rectilinear = This is usually the default but concentric may be available, the rectilinear is just for a consistent aesthetics

Step 3: Print First Layer

The first layer is orange to make up the background of fox fur. To figure out just how much filament length for the first layer you have to do some math. Using the rollback feature of SolidWorks, you can see just the first layer is shown and you can measure the volume of the layer. Since extruding is just depositing the filament to fill the volume you just have to find what length of filament of certain diameter (1.75mm or 3.00mm) will equate the volume of the first layer. Below is a shorten explanation of the math:

Volume of layer= length * area of filament

(Get volume from cad and area of filament from manufacturer information) .

.11140 inch^3 = length * (pi (1.75mm/2)^2)

(Remember to convert the unit)

length = 29.88 inch ~ 31 inches

(added extra from experimentation and its better to have extra filament than less)

*Forgot to take picture of this layer while printing

Step 4: Print Second Layer

Now you get the math for the first layer, the second layer will be easier to understand! The second layer is a clear that give the mane contrast.

To get the volume of the second layer only, you have to rollback to just the first and second layers to get the volume of first and second.

Then you subtract the volume of first from the previous.

Next use the math again to calculate how much filament needed.

The math gets 41.66 but we will use 43 inches from experimentation. You will definitely want to experiment before having it work on your printer. Watching the first layer and seeing when that becomes the second layer as you change it will get you a better idea of how close the estimate length are.

Step 5: Print Third Layer

The math from now to the 5th layer will be the very same since all you need is to isolate this layer's volume to get the correct length.

The white makes up the rest of mane. The math got 8.025 inches exactly but i used 9 inches.

Step 6: Print Fourth Layer

The math from now to the 5th layer will be the very same since all you need is to isolate this layer's volume to get the correct length.

The gold gives the fox another layer of color of the fur and eyes. The math got 10.62 inches exactly but i used 11 inches.

Step 7: Print Fifth Layer

This layer is the second to last layer which makes up the black of the shadow on the side of the fox. Repeating the math you get 7.883 inches exactly so 8 inches was used (just rounding and from experiments).

Step 8: Print Last Layer

The last layer is the yellow to cover the top of the fur. The last layer is the easiest, you don't even need to calculate length! Since the print will finish, you can just put more than enough of the last color because you don't need to switch again.

It is important to experiment with the filament lengths! But most importantly it is to have fun while pushing the boundaries of 3d printing to create art!

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