3D Multi-Color Printing: Explained for Beginners

3D Multi-Color Printing
image from 3dbenchy

How can you pull off multi-color 3D printing without a fancy multi-color printer? It seems like this question has been on a lot of minds lately, so we’ve decided to break down some techniques for achieving those eye-catching multi-color prints, even if your setup is pretty basic.

Here’s the lowdown: you can get creative by printing parts separately and then assembling them, pausing your print job to switch out filaments, using a printer with multiple nozzles, or even sticking to a single nozzle but swapping in different color filaments as you go.

And if you’re looking to step outside the box, some cool multi-color 3D printers or kits will let you print multi-color prints directly.

Let’s not beat around the bush and dive straight into the specifics of each approach:

Methods for Multicolor 3D Printing

image from 3dinsider

When it comes to achieving multicolor 3D printing, several methods have emerged to meet the demands of creators and manufacturers. These methods offer different approaches to printing in multiple colors, each with its advantages and drawbacks.

Printing objects separately

One method involves breaking a single CAD model into individual components based on color. While this approach requires precise pre-processing and post-processing of each part, it allows for easy re-printing of faulty components and avoids issues with multiple materials. This method is accessible to desktop users and is cost-effective, making it a viable option for those on a tight budget.

Pausing mid-print

Another method involves pausing the printing process midway and changing the filament feeding into the extruder. This method requires manual intervention and careful filament changeover to ensure a smooth transition. While it allows for printing in multiple colors, it is limited to layer-wise color changes and is not suitable for creating color transitions or gradients.

Printing with multiple nozzles

Some 3D printers use multiple nozzles, each connected to a separate spool of filament, to achieve multicolor printing. This method offers more versatility in terms of color options but comes with challenges such as nozzle calibration and potential issues with filament oozing and material adhesion. The printing area may also be reduced due to the space occupied by multiple nozzles.

One nozzle with multiple spools of filament

An alternative technique involves feeding multiple spools of filament into a single nozzle. This method allows for a larger printable area and eliminates the need for nozzle calibration. It also includes a waste tower to manage color changes. While this method offers good results on a smaller budget, it still does not solve the issue of printing models with color transitions.

Non-extrusion-based methods

Lastly, there are non-extrusion-based methods that rely on techniques such as laying down layers of sandstone powder or using liquid plastic with CMYK printheads. These methods can produce full-color models with color gradients and minimal post-processing.

However, the cost of these printers is currently prohibitive for most desktop users.

The tips we’ve shared are great for getting started with multi-color printing without having to shell out for a specialized printer right away. But, if you’re getting into the swing of things, picking up a multi-color printer might be your next move.

They’re not just a cool gadget; these printers can save you a ton of time and hassle in the long run. Prices for some of the fan-favorite models out there range from around $399 to $1999.

So, whether you’re watching your wallet or ready to splurge, there’s likely a multi-color printer that fits your budget and your printing ambitions.

image from mosaicmfg

2. The Most Popular Multi-color 3D Printers

In the rapidly evolving world of 3D printing, multicolor 3D printers stand out for their ability to bring prints to life with vibrant colors and intricate details. These printers have garnered significant attention for their ability to create detailed, colorful models without the need for painting post-print.

Here’s an overview of the 8 most popular multicolor 3D printers, known for their advanced capabilities, user-friendliness, and innovation in the field:

Palette 2S & 2S Pro (Color 3D printer adaptor)

These devices are not standalone 3D printers but rather accessories that enable any standard 3D printer to produce multi-color or multi-material prints. They work by splicing different filaments together based on the model’s color or material needs. The Palette 2S series is compatible with a wide range of printers and materials, offering up to four colors or materials in a single print.

Prusa Multi Material Upgrade 2S (Color 3D printer adaptor)

This is an upgrade kit for Prusa 3D printers, allowing them to print with up to five different colors. It’s an affordable solution for existing Prusa owners, priced at around $299, available directly from the Prusa store. This upgrade features a direct drive extruder system and a filament buffer for smooth operation.

3D Chameleon

An affordable multi-color 3D printing solution, the 3D Chameleon kit is compatible with many popular 3D printers. It offers two or four-color printing options and simplifies the process by automatically switching filaments. Prices are $99 for the two-color option and $199 for the four-color version.

XYZprinting Da Vinci Color

da Vinci Color – Full Color/Monochrome Desktop 3D Printer-7.9″x 7.9″x 5.9″ Built Size (3Dcolorjet Technology)- Color PLA/PLA/Tough PLA/PETG, Upgradable to print Metallic/Carbon PLA
  • 3Dcolorjet technology: our unique technology combines 2D inkjet technology with 3D filament printing technology to bring you 16 millions different shades of color
  • Ez removable print bed: our unique magnetic print bed design will allow you to remove the print object off the print bed smoothly without hassle
  • Made in Thailand

This printer stands out for its full-color printing capabilities, using 3D Color-inkjet PLA among other materials. It offers a significant color palette, hands-free calibration, and is designed for those who need precise color control in their prints. It’s on the pricier side, with prices available on Amazon.

FlashForge Creator Pro

FLASHFORGE 3D Printer Creator Pro 2, Independent Dual Direct Drive Extruder W/2 Spools, 4 Printing Modes, Metal Frame Structure, Acrylic Covers, Optimized Build Platform
  • 【IDEX 3D Printer with 4 Printing Modes】Creator Pro 2 3D printer is equipped with independent…
  • 【Double Productivit 】 Creator Pro 2 equips with Independent dual extruders (IDEX). 2 nozzles…
  • 【Heating bed】 Rapid steady heating prevent model warping much easier to take down models. Better…
  • 【Anti-scrape Design】When using dual color printing, there is much less cross contamination than…
  • 【Efficient After-sales Support】All of our 3d printers provide one month free return and…

Known for its reliability and build quality, the FlashForge Creator Pro is a dual-extruder 3D printer enclosed in a box design for better temperature control. It supports a variety of materials and offers high-quality dual-color printing. Check Amazon for the latest pricing.


R QIDI TECHNOLOGY i Fast 3D Printer, Industrial Grade Structure, with Dual Extruder for Fast Printing, Super Large Printing Size 330×250×320mm
  • 【Faster printing】Fully industrial-grade structure, using the second-generation Qidi dual Z-axis…
  • 【Freedom in the choice of the filament】 Qidi iFast can print almost all kinds of filaments which…
  • 【Freedom in manufacturing of the complex parts】 Qidi iFast is equipped with automatic dual…
  • 【All metal high temp extruder】 Compared with the normal brass nozzles which on the market, it is…
  • 【Excellent user experience, large UI interface】It’s equipped with self-developed QIDI slicing…

This printer is celebrated for its large build volume and dual extruder system, allowing for two-color prints or the use of different materials in a single print. It’s designed for fast printing and is well-suited for professional environments. Pricing and purchase options are available on Amazon, 3DPrintersBay, and Walmart.


GEEETECH Mizar S Auto Leveling 3D Printer Support Klipper Firmware, Dual-Gear Direct Extruder FDM All Metal 3D Printer, Large Printing Size 10.0″x 10.0″x 10.2″, Fully Open Source Filmware, Dual Z-axis
  • 【Precise Auto leveling】GEEETECH Mizar S 3D printer is the only 3d-printer with the dual-leveling…
  • 【Stable Magnetic Platform】The heat bed of 3d ptinters adopts a fully fixed design, the aluminum…
  • 【Large Build Volume & Dual Z-axis 】GEEETECH Mizar S FDM 3D Printer achieves a bigger print size…
  • 【Super Silent Driver & Open Sourse】The Mizar S 3-d printers motherboard uses a high-performance…
  • 【Resume Printing Function】This large 3d printer can detect interruptions of power failure,…

Offering great value, the GEEETECH Mizar S is compatible with a wide range of filaments and features a double Z-axis screw design for improved stability. It’s designed for both beginners and experienced users, with pricing information available on Amazon.

Raise3D E2

Raise3D E2 Desktop 3D Printer – Features IDEX (Independent Dual Extruders), Auto Bed Leveling, Video-Assisted Offset Calibration, Power Loss Recovery, Filament Run-Out Sensors
  • INDEPENDENT DUAL EXTRUDERS – E2 features Raise3D’s IDEX technology, which allows the printer to…
  • EASY SET UP, EASY TO USE – E2 features auto bed leveling technology and a video-assisted offset…
  • NEVER LOSE A PRINT – E2 features filament run-out sensors that automatically pause the printer if it…
  • COMPATIBLE WITH A VARIETY OF MATERIALS – E2 works with a wide variety of 1.75mm filament materials,…
  • AND THERE’S SO MUCH MORE – E2 features up to 13× inch build volume, a flexible build plate…

Ideal for industrial-grade 3D printing, this printer features independent dual extruders, a large build volume, and multiple filament compatibility. It’s suitable for large-scale 3D printing projects and is available for purchase on Amazon.


In summary, the world of 3D multi-color printing is an exciting and rapidly evolving field. By staying informed about the latest methods and techniques, creators can unlock the full potential of multi-color 3D printing and bring their visions to life. So, join us on this journey as we continue to explore and push the boundaries of what is possible in the fascinating world of 3D multi-color printing.


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