Change material at layer heights

I would love the ability to pause based on the layer height to allow switching materials or colors.

My biggest challenge with using the castable resins is the material is so weak compared to the acrylic resins. I am going to do a manual test to see if I can start with a standard resin for the base and first 4-5mm (which is all supports) then switch to the wax. You can’t build solid without a solid foundation, so if it works, it could really help.

Not to mention the castable formulas are much more expensive and end up throwing away the base - it doesn’t need to burn out cleanly.

My biggest concern doing it manually will be that I can only use one resin profile instead of two. Still worth a shot I guess - I think it might be fine if the acrylic is over exposed a bit.

Regardless of the acrylic base/wax idea, I think it would be awesome to be able to change material and colors at various heights.

That’s something people have talked about before, not sure if it’s going to happen. I don’t think it’s possible to do at this point, I would think if you remove the resin tray it might abort the print.

I think you could do this as long as you didn’t change the vat. The problem is not removing vat but the heights of the silicone layer. Unless it is in the exact same thickness across the vat, you will get compression in some places and have too large a gap in others. Your best bet would be to remove the resin in the vat (without moving it or knocking into the part or build platform) and pouring in the different resin.

Hmm - I guess I would need a syringe to pull the old resin out. But actually, the print would be confined to one resin profile that matches the tray, so as long as pulling the tray out doesn’t kill the job it would be possible to drain and then replace the same tray back.

This should really be implemented into PreForm. It would allow us to do so much more with the printer. We could have flexible resin where needed, transparent resin, different colors, etc. etc. Obviously it would be limited to planes, but I still think a lot could be done with it if one was to use their creativity.

It would be rather trivial to add the feature to the software and the return on that investment could be game-changing for what the printer is capable of.

Exactly, thus it’s utility would be limited at best. Better to create multi-material assemblies from mono-material parts.

In other printers they also had to clean the partial print before switching resins, which could be an issue.

Can you give examples of these other printers?
I am really keen on this and wondering if by having 2 printers, once the partial print from printer 1 is done, remove the platform, clean a little and switch to printer 2 and use the partial print as the starting print with second resin.

Seems doable with OpenFL but setting up the STL layer for the 2nd printer would be tricky to get right especially with complex shapes and adjusting compression for first few layers… Would be interesting if others have different ideas. :smiley:

I believe I saw a video done with the Autodesk Ember, but it was by Autodesk, so they stopped the print, then cleaned it off and reattached it and then continued with a different material. That’s not something you can do with the Formlabs printers.

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I think that just depends on part being made. Even though minimizing surface area per slice is usually the priority (and this orienting geometry at an angle), sometimes exceptions to the rule works well enough.

Thus this feature suggestion. :wink:

Don’t get me wrong - multiple materials in a single part would be fantastic! I’d use it today if I could. But to do that correctly, a different technology is needed. It’ll happen in a desktop footprint, but it won’t be a feature being added to a Form1 or 2.