Introduction: Full Color 3d Printing With CR-10 and ColorPod

The colorpod sprinkles powder on the buildplate and flattens the powder with a roller.

It sprays ink and water on selected areas on top of the powder. All powder that is sprayed upon becomes the model. Most of the parts of the colorpod setup can be 3d-printed. You will need a colorpod pcb with the electronics and firmware. Data to the colorpod comes from a windows pc with dedicated software.

Step 1: Making the Electrical Connection to the CR10 Mainboard

The colorpod needs the x-step and X-dir signal from the CR10s-board. They are on pin 96 and 97 of the processor on the CR-10s board. On older boards they are on pins 16 and 24.

To make the connection on the CR-10s we can use 2 pieces of flexible (kapton) pcb glued together with the coper sides to the outside. The kapton pcbs can be stuck between two processor pins. Each side of the pcbs is in contact with one of the pins. wires soldered on each side bring out the signals. In the last picture connection is made on a CR10s board. The placement is secured with hotmelt glue. The signals from the CR10 must be connected to the 4 pin header on the colorpod.

Alternatively on the CR10s the X-step and X-dir pins can be duplicated on digital output pins 11 and 12. These pins are on a 0.1 inch header. For this you have to change the firmware (Marlin). I have not tested it. The change is in the file stepper_indirection.h You have to adapt the X_DIR and X_STEP definition in the following way.

  #define X_DIR_INIT do { SET_OUTPUT(X_DIR_PIN) ; SET_OUTPUT(11) ;} while(0)
  #define X_DIR_WRITE(STATE) do {WRITE(X_DIR_PIN,STATE) ; WRITE(11,STATE) ;} while(0)
#define X_STEP_INIT do {SET_OUTPUT(X_STEP_PIN) ;SET_OUTPUT(12); } while (0) 
#define X_STEP_WRITE(STATE) do { WRITE(X_STEP_PIN,STATE) ;WRITE(12,STATE); } while(0) 

Step 2: Printing the Parts.

The parts have to be 3d printed. On the picture is a render of all parts that need to be printed with a fdm 3d printer. Parts are on thingiverse

Step 3: Making the Roller Assembly

The powder mechanism in this design is suitable for working with fine powders (<0.1mm particles) You need a roller and a 6mm motor with a 26 times reduction gearbox. It is convenient when there is some sort of plug on the motor. Here wires from a capacitor are soldered to the motor wires. They are cut and put in a SIL socket. Next the wires are secured with hot melt. Now you can easily unplug the motor.

To avoid that powder particles stick on the roller a scraping knife is necessary. Here a part of a kitchen knife is used. It is cut of with grinding disk. In order to properly place the scraper it is best to let the glue solidify while the roller is spinning.

Step 4: ​Making the Powder Sprinkler

The opening of the powder sprinkler is covered with screen printing mesh. It has grid openings of about 0.25mm. The mesh is fixed with hotmelt glue.

Glue the 2 halves of the column with CA-glue. You also need 2 pieces of thread. The sprinkler should fit loosely over te column. It must be kept in place by 2 pieces of thread.

To test whether there is still powder in it you need a IR sensor (is485), 330 ohm resistor and a 5mm IR led. Bend the wires of the sensors 90 degrees and apart. The should fit nicely in a SIL socket. Cut the wires a few mm. Glue the sensor on the column behind the hole. Also put in the LED. The right pin in the picture must be the anode (+ side) of the led. (test with ohm meter). Solder a wire and the 330 ohm resistor to the outer pins. Apply more glue and also glue on the vibration motor

Step 5: ​Electrical Connections

These are the electrical connections that must be made. The motors and sensor are connected with a single in line (SIL) socket. The bottom side of the sensor is the 0V connection. Make color marks on the sensor and the SIL-socket. If you connect the sensor the wrong way it will be destroyed. Also the roller polarity should be marked.

Other parts for the buildup are similar as for the Ultimaker check here

Step 6: ​Putting the Colorpod on the CR10

One part should be put above the Z-switch on the Y-Carriage. (left on the next picture) Without it the colorpod would be pushed again the build plate when the z-axis is reset. The roller should be about 0.5mm above the build plate after Z-reset. You may have to add or remove material from this part.

The fans and the extruder must be removed from the build plate. Keep them electrically connected. Screw on the colorpod base with 3 M3 screws. Next you can attach the colorpod with a M4 threaded rod and 2 pieces 2mm iron wire. The funnel needs some postprocessing. The pins on the bottom of the funnel can be made more strong by applying CA-glue. To make the funnel more airtight apply some varnish to the inside of the funnel.

Step 7: Start 3d Printing in Full Color.