Stereolithography is excellent for creating detailed prints, but up until now the colour choice has been limited. Today Formlabs have released Colour Kit – a system of a base resin and coloured pigments, as part of their experimental Form X program.
The Colour Kit is a huge time saver from painting parts. Consider a model of a forest. Whereas before each tree would have to be painted, now they can be printed in the desired colours and assembled quickly.
Alternatively the Colour Kit can be used to provide coloured accents on prints, to highlight important areas.
How Colour Kit Works
Colour Kit comes in two parts: base cartridge and pigment. Pigment is added into the base cartridge according to the desired recipe and then the cartridge is shaken vigourously to mix it all through.
A recipe book with 16 different colour recipes is provided with each purchase.
Each colour base cartridge is 800ml and each recipe adds in exactly 100ml of pigment, giving a finished product of 900ml. The reason that this is 900ml rather than 1 litre is due to needing extra space in the cartridge for shaking.
The cartridge shaking is a vital part of the process as this is what mixes the pigment in with the base. Too little shaking can lead to streaky resin and non-uniform colour. Four minutes of vigorous shaking is the recommended time. Unfortunately, due to this process, colour matching cannot be guaranteed between different batches of a recipe.
To remove the pigment from the bottles into the base cartidge, 10ml syringes are included. Each pigment has its own syringe and cleaning syringes or swapping syringes between pigments is not recommended to prevent colour contamination. Similarly, resin tanks should be only be used with one colour of pigment. A syringe can be used multiple times for the same pigment colour and a guide on the side of the pigment bottle lets you see how much of that pigment you have remaining.
The neck of the pigment bottle provides a seal around the syringe, allowing the bottle to be inverted and the pigment extracted as shown in the picture below.
Preform is also getting an update, with colour settings being released. Every colour has the same settings so you will not have to change settings should you move from Grass to Cherry. The Colour Kit supports 25, 50 or 100 micron layer resolution.
All of the other processes for setting a print off remain the same and the post-processing hasn’t changed either. Wash off with IPA and then cure in just the same way as the standard resins. Due to the colour coming from pigment rather than dye, colour will not leech into the IPA meaning you do not need to change your washing routine for coloured prints. Colour Kit resin also has the same material properties as standard resin.
What’s in the Box?
When you purchase the Formlabs Colour Kit you will receive:
1 x 800ml Colour Base Cartridge
5 x Resealable Light Blocking Bags
5 x 115ml Pigment Bottles
5 x Syringes
1 x Recipe Book
Everything above (except the recipe book) is also available to purchase individually. Estimated shipping is late December 2017.
The pigments are not suitable for use with any of the standard Formlabs resins, and trying to mix these may result in ruining the entire resin cartridge. For optimal results, use the pigments only with the Colour Base Resin.
For more information on the Colour Kit, please watch this short video.
What is Form X?
Form X is Formlabs’ experimental product platform. Form X showcases innovative tools, materials, and approaches, for advanced users who want to explore the boundaries of what’s possible with desktop stereolithography (SLA).
To purchase your Colour Kit, please visit the GoPrint3D website.