Looking for the very best Multi-Color 3D Printer on the market for 2023?
Then you’re in the right place.
Today we’re going to be:
- Looking at multicolor 3D printing;
- Seeing how viable it is for interested creators;
- Finding out which color 3D printer is the best choice for home users;
- Loads more…
Though 3D printing is still in its infancy – and I believe there’s still plenty of wild and wonderful things to look forward to in the coming years – we’ve already made so much progress in the last decade.
One area of continuous innovation is the ability to print in multiple different colors.
As with most 3D printing innovations, multi-color printing was first seen on industrial machines but has been making its way over to desktop 3D printers lately.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Top 9 Multicolor 3D Printers At a Glance
- 1. Geeetech A20M (Best Value)
- 2. LOTMAXX Shark V3 (Premium Choice)
- 3. Tenlog TL-D3 Pro (Best Choice)
- 4. XYZPrinting Da Vinci Color (Best Full Color 3D Printing for its Price)
- 5. FlashForge Creator Pro (Most Reliable)
- 6. XRize Rize (A Look-See at an Industrial Full Color 3D Printer)
- 7. Qidi Tech iFast
- 8. FlashForge Creator Pro 2
- Multicolor VS Full Color 3D Printers
- Can 3D Printers Do Multiple Colors?
- What is a Multi-Color 3D Printer?
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Multi-Color 3D Printer
- How Do You Print Two Colors?
- Can You Paint 3D Printed Objects?
- A Few Final Thoughts…
- Winner: Lotmaxx Shark V3
Top 9 Multicolor 3D Printers At a Glance
1. Geeetech A20M (Best Value)
2. LOTMAXX Shark V3 (Premium Choice)
3. Tenlog TL-D3 Pro (Best Choice)
4. XYZPrinting Da Vinci Color (Best Full Color 3D Printing for its Price)
5. FlashForge Creator Pro (Most Reliable)
6. XRize Rize (Best Industrial)
7. Qidi Tech iFast
8. FlashForge Creator Pro 2
9. Mosaic Palette 3 Pro (Best Add-On)
3D Printer Type: FDM | Materials: ABS, PLA & PETG | Build Volume: 255 x 255 x 255 mm | Print Speed: 180 mm/s | Color Mixing (Y/N): Y | Extruder: Dual
Geeetech has a couple of different 3D printers on the market, and I found the A20M to be its best option for multi-color 3D printing.
Given that the field is still highly experimental, the A20M doesn’t cost much, which is an immediate bonus.
… for any reliable dual-extruder, the A20M is still a great price. It’s also blessedly easy to set up, and the dual-extrusion 3D printing technology tends to work well.
But the real reason I loved this 3D printer was its ability to push the envelope on color mixing.
You really don’t see this very much in personal 3D printers, and it’s completely unheard of at this price point.
With the Geeetech, you can expect to print in two distinct colors (striping or the like) or even mix and/ or grade your colors, allowing for a full spectrum of shades and hues.
3D Printer Type: FDM | Materials: PLA, PLA+, ABS, TPU & Wood | Build Volume: 235 x 235 x 265 mm |Print Speed: 45-90 mm/s | Color Mixing (Y/N): Y | Extruder: Dual
The upgraded version of the LotMaxx Shark V2 brings new features to the table — and they’re good!
It has improved laser engraving capabilities — yielding finely-detailed engravings — and an overall sturdier frame and design with improved cable management. It’s also much quieter than its predecessor, which will save you some hearing damage as a long-suffering 3D printer user. (Oh those stepper motors…)
The V3 comes with smart G-sensor auto-leveling — the G stands for gravity. This helps you get accurate and super precise leveling that will stay in place for a long time. Nice!
It also has a Resume Print function in case of electricity outages or other interruptions, as well as a filament detection sensor to alert you when the filament has run out.
This printer is compatible with PLA, PLA+, and ABS filaments. For laser engraving, it’s compatible with bamboo, leather, wood, ceramic tile, and craft paper.
It has a build volume of 235 x 235 x 265 mm and is equipped with ultra silent TMC2208 stepper drivers.
This printer comes with dual-color switching extruders and yields beautifully-colored prints. We loved our test prints — they came out very clean and the colors were perfect.
This printer can be used with the default LotMaxx slicer, as well as Cura and Simplify3D. It supports microSD and USB connection
3D Printer Type: FDM | Materials: TPU, PVA, PLA, ABS, HIPS, WOOD, PETG & Flexible | Build Volume: 300 x 300 x 350 mm | Print Speed: 10-150 mm/s | Color Mixing (Y/N): Y | Extruder: Dual
Unlike the printers before, the Tenlog TL-D3 Pro’s has two extruders and two nozzles.
It means that you can print two identical items simultaneously, in two distinct colors. You can also print in mirror mode and print in two different materials.
It seems like a pretty simple adaptation of the popular (and increasingly affordable) dual-extruder design.
Without delving too far into the enormous potential of this function (try out different colors, double-up on your creation rate, etc.), this is something I expect a lot of other 3D printers to be adopting soon.
But just as easily, these two nozzles can be used on the same product, either filling in a support filament or going for the multi-color approach.
It almost feels unfair constraining this 3D printer to a list like this… all thanks to its Swiss-Army Knife-Like variety of functions and capabilities.
How long does it take to assemble?
The D3 Pro comes half assembled and it took me 30 minutes to put it together with the help of videos online. What I didn’t like was the printer didn’t come with a lot of instructions.
The printer is not dead silent and there’s a low humming noise from the fans. However, it’s noticeably quieter than my Ender 3 Pro.
The prints so far are very good and I have better results with custom stl files than the test files from Tenlog.
There are cheaper dual color/extruder 3D printers out there but this is the most affordable INDEPENDENT dual extruder (IDEX) 3D printer today.
All in all, this is the best multicolor 3D printer.
3D Printer Type: FFF | Materials: 3D Color-inkjet PLA , PLA , Tough PLA , PETG, Carbon Fiber & Metallic PLA | Build Volume: 200 x 200 x 150 mm | Print Speed: 180mm/sec | Color Mixing (Y/N): Y | Extruder: Single
This super-popular 3D printer is probably the first one you’ll see when you search for a personal-use full-color 3D printer.
And there’s a good reason for that.
The da Vinci Color is one of the first (if not the first) personal printers to offer full color printing.
While this 3D printer still has its bugs, it can offer a 3D printing design experience that’s miles ahead of almost any other 3D printer on the list.
The Da Vinci’s full color capabilities mean creators have almost total control over every aspect of their design, including the exterior color design.
Gone are the days of painting by hand; with the right schematics, you can print just about any design imaginable.
The 3D printer also comes with hands-free calibration, which can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend fiddling with the da Vinci Color.
And while I didn’t have enough time to experiment with this feature as extensively as I might have liked, it seemed to work very well for the few prints I tested.
To note: this printer comes in the regular size – which I looked at here – and a miniature version that is basically a scaled-down version of the original da Vinci Color.
3D Printer Type: FDM | Materials: PLA, ABS, PETG & TPU95A | Build Volume: 227 x 148 x 150 mm | Print Speed: 100 mm/s | Color Mixing (Y/N): Y | Extruder: Dual
Yet another excellent dual extruder 3D printer, the FlashForge Pro, takes the shape of the enclosed-box design, whereas the other dual extruders on the list have all been open-air.
Aesthetically, this has always been my favorite design, though it has its positives and negatives in more objective terms.
Like the previous 3D printer, the FlashForge Creator is a dual-nozzle design, though it doesn’t have the independent-nozzle functionality (and the image mirroring).
However, it does have a substantial metal frame and faster printing on single objects than the two independent heads.
On top of that, the enclosed design allows for better temperature control, and less potential warping as a result.
… FlashForge went the distance with its design, also allowing for increased ventilation options if you’re printing with PLA.
Finally, the reliability of the Creator Pro’s build plate shouldn’t be overlooked.
By and large, issues with build plates, leveling, and covers have been the most prevalent issue I’ve had with printing.
Having a solid, completely level plate was a wonderful change for me.
3D Printer Type: FFF with AMD | Materials: Rizium Carbon, GF (Glass Filled), ST (Semi-Translucent), Rizium One White & Black, CMYK Inks & Release Ink | Build Volume: 310 x 200 x 200 mm | Color Mixing (Y/N): Y
This one’s just on the list for fun (unless you’re a large-scale industrial manufacturer, of course).
That said, it’s interesting to look at the difference in the price points of desktop-style multicolor 3D printers and an industrial-grade model full color 3D printer like the Rize.
So how much does the Rize cost?
Well, as you can see from its listing, you’ll need to request a quote to find the exact cost.
… what I can tell you is that based on some of the other sites I looked at while conducting preliminary research, the price should fall somewhere around $55,000 – brand spanking new.
And believe me, that isn’t even close to being the most expensive full color 3D printer on the market.
A full color 3D printer can set you back a dime or two.
So what do you get out of one of these color 3D printers that you’ll miss in one of these other, comparatively affordable versions?
For a start off, this full color 3D printer has a precision and control over their 3D print products that nothing else on my list can come close to.
Like the da Vinci Color (one of our most expensive desktop 3D printers besides the Rize), this printer uses Inkjet toner (the same as a traditional 2D printer) to externally bind colors to the filament as it prints.
… with a full color 3D printer of this price, you can expect much, much better color control than anything you’ll get from the DaVinci.
This color 3D printer can also print logos, QR codes… literally anything you can imagine slapping on the side of a 3D printing; this Rize can make it happen.
This full color 3D printer also comes loaded with all sorts of extra features that make it suitable for industrial production: a heated build chamber, automatic filament swapping and digitally-encoded ink cartridges, to name a few.
More than anything, the XRize is interesting because it provides us with a potential roadmap of what a future desktop 3D printer will be trying to emulate.
… the evolution of desktop 3D printer technology usually aims to copy the best capabilities of industrial best 3D printers, but on a smaller, less-expensive scale, of course.
3D Printer Type: FDM | Materials: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, PVA, Carbon Fiber, Nylon & PC | Build Volume: 330 x 250 x 320 mm | Print Speed: 60-120 mm/s | Color Mixing (Y/N): Y | Extruder: Dual
Yet another awesomely robust dual-extrusion 3D printer?!
The Qidi Tech iFast is an industrial and engineering-grade that’s much more affordable than other printers of its caliber.
With a super spacious build volume of 330 x 250 x 320 mm, you can make a whole lot of medium to large-sized objects.
It has in-built air filters providing thorough ventilation, which makes it ideal for indoor use.
This printer can print PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Nylon, carbon fiber, and water-soluble PVA for supports.
It also has a double Z-axis for double the precision! Okay, that sounded right out of an infomercial. Anyway. (It’s still true!)
The Qidi Tech iFast comes with a whopping 4 direct extruders! That’s 2 extruders for normal-temperature filaments like PLA and 2 high-temp extruders for nylon and other toasty materials.
This printer also comes with a removable build plate for easy part removal. It has a filament run-out sensor to detect when filament… well… runs out, and it’s also got a camera for remote viewing of your print!
We loved the large touchscreen — it helped us easily navigate controls and get set up quickly. The printer also has WiFi capabilities so you can easily send your print file.
It also comes with a heated enclosure which is perfect for higher temp filaments like ASA, nylon, and PBS.
We found that the stepper drivers were a bit noisy when using this printer. Also, this printer is only compatible with Qidi’s own software, which isn’t as robust as say, Cura or Simplify3D. Also, it doesn’t come with auto bed leveling but with a sturdy printer of this type, it’s not that necessary.
This printer also comes with a 2 year guarantee and round-the-clock tech support. If you’re a pro who wants a mid-range printer with high-end capabilities, go for the Qidi Tech iFast.
3D Printer Type: FDM | Materials: PLA, Pearl PLA, ABS, ABS Pro, PVA & HIPS | Build Volume: 200 x 148 x 150 mm | Print Speed: 30-100 mm/s | Color Mixing (Y/N): Y | Extruder: Dual
The Pro 2 offers cool new features — namely, a mirror mode where you can print two of the same object at once! Crazy.
It also has an improved dual-extrusion system with only one nozzle. This grants it more flexibility and ease of use than the original Pro design. And it’s got a dandy 3.5″ touchscreen which the Pro doesn’t have!
The Pro, however, has a larger build volume at 227 x 148 x 150 mm and is cheaper than the Pro 2.
The Pro 2 has a slower build speed at 10-100mm/s unlike the Pro’s 30-200mm/s. They both come with 0.4 mm nozzles and have a maximum temperature of 240°C.
If you’re on a budget and/or want a slightly larger printer, go for the Pro. If you want a better dual-color printer, the Pro 2 is definitely it.
The Pro 2 has a build volume of 200 x 148 x 150 mm and offers 4 printing modes: mirror, duplicate, dual filament and dual color.
And with a 1 year warranty and lifetime technical assistance, the FlashForge team really have got your back!
While there are plenty of color 3D printers that can handle multi-color print jobs within their basic design, others need some help.
Nowadays, one of the best ways of getting excellent and low-cost multi-color creations is using a multi-color add-on for color 3D printers. These tend to cost less than getting a new printer altogether and are compatible with plenty of models (though you should always research the cross-compatibility before you order one).
3D Printer Compatibility: Accepts Non-Proprietary Filament Which is 1.75 mm in Diameter & Recognizes Files Sliced in Slic3r/PrusaSlicer or CANVAS, and Has Open Access to Filament Feed | Materials: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, PVA & HIPS | Extruder: On
Want to make a glorious color explosion with your 3D printer? Or have you been dreaming of multi-color capabilities but don’t want to get another 3D printer?
Introducing the Mosaic Palette 3 Pro!
This awesome doo-dad isn’t a printer in itself but rather a device that you hook up to your existing printer to give it multi-color capabilities. With the Mosaic Palette 3 Pro, you can print up to 8 different colors and materials at once — kind of like a multi-colored filament octopus.
With the Palette 3, you can print breakaway or soluble supports using different materials, allowing you to easily tackle difficult overhangs.
To get started printing, place spools on the filament stand and feed them individually into the material inputs on the device. It kinda sounds like something out of Star Trek, but it’s simple enough when you get the hang of it!
What the Palette 3 Pro then does is it heats and splices filaments together into a single multi-filament strand.
It comes with Canvas Hub software for remote monitoring of your print. So even when you’re not nearby, you can see how things are going!
The Palette 3 also has a high-resolution touchscreen where you can execute commands and change settings. Nice!
This device has three color printing modes: Gradient Mode (for an awesome gradient/ombré effect), Pattern Mode which enables you to print patterns, and our personal favorite, Random Mode! Which is a bit like throwing paint at the wall blindfolded. (Our favorite pastime outside of 3D printers.)
Multicolor VS Full Color 3D Printers
I want to start with a pretty important distinction when talking about 3D printers that can print in multiple colors.
Sometimes “full color” is a term used to describe these printers.
And while this is technically true, “full color” more often describes industrial-grade printers that are able to produce intricate color scaling and manipulation (I included one of these on the list – the XRize Rize – for comparison’s sake).
On the other hand…
… we’re going to be mostly looking at multicolor 3D printers, which can usually handle only a small number of different colors, but which tend to fall under the “personal 3D printer” umbrella.
They’re smaller and much, much less expensive.
All that said, multicolor printing is still a very experimental field – much less established than its industrial counterparts.
Given the scarcity of personal 3D printers that can handle multiple colors, I’m going to be looking at every option on the market today, including dual-extruder printers where each extruder can print a separate color and multi-color printer upgrades.
So let’s take a look at the best multicolor 3D printers!
Can 3D Printers Do Multiple Colors?
3D printers can do multiple colors! However, the method varies between printers. Single-extruder printers rely on a method of manually switching out spools of filament, while multi-color printers do this process for you.
What is a Multi-Color 3D Printer?
A multi-color 3D printer is a device that 3D prints different filaments using multiple extruders and nozzles.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Multi-Color 3D Printer
The obvious advantages of a multi-color 3D printer: you get awesome multi-colored prints without having to manually swap filaments. Also, such printers are compatible with water-soluble filaments for easy support removal.
The disadvantages: twice the extruders, twice the maintenance. Hot end assemblies can run into any number of issues — and dealing with two of them can be a hassle. Also, it’s much more expensive than a single-extruder printer.
How Do You Print Two Colors?
If you have a single-extruder printer, you can pause and swap.
What does this mean?
Well, whenever you want to change colors in a print, you just stop the print and swap the filament. This can be a major chore, however, and with multi-color printers the process is much easier.
First, you load your two spools onto the spool holder, and then you feed the filament into the printer. Then you just let it do its multi-colored magic!
Can You Paint 3D Printed Objects?
Yes, you definitely can!
Acrylic and enamel paints are best for 3D printed surfaces. However, you’ll have to sand your 3D printed part first. This gets rid of visible layer lines and helps the paint stick better to the surface.
A Few Final Thoughts…
So there you have it – a fairly comprehensive guide to multi-color 3D printing, the best (affordable) multicolor 3D printers out there, one crazy-expensive one, and an alternative option altogether!
When it comes to choosing your best color 3D printer, there are plenty of factors to keep in mind.
When making your decision, you should always consider what specific projects you have in mind and tailor your choice to fit. After all, if you’re looking to upgrade towards multicolor 3D printing, you probably have a couple of exciting ideas in the bag already.
Some of these 3D printers excel at color combining.
For color control, the Da Vinci provides an entirely different system from anything else on the list (besides the XRize) but does so at a higher price point and with a few concerning bugs.
Some color 3D printers come packed with excellent side features, like the Lotmaax Shark V3.
And others have an ingenious design that comes with other exciting applications, like the dual-nozzle design of the TenLog.
Anyway, your preferences will determine your best color 3D printer, so I’ll hand over the baton to you to make your choice.
You’ll be churning out those colorful 3D prints before you know it.
Great 3D printer for beginners
This printer cranked out quality prints right out of the box in our test. Comes with excellent, all-metal nozzle and extruder and many more features makes this the best value.
Winner: Lotmaxx Shark V3
So this was kind of an underdog story for me. When I first started looking for the best color 3D printer, the Lotmaxx wasn’t even on my radar.
Yet the more I learned about this 3D printer, the more I was impressed – both by its original design and by its execution. Not to mention that it’s a Kickstarter success and really demonstrates the best aspects of grassroots ingenuity coming out of the color 3D printing field.
Not only is the Lotmaxx an excellent base 3D printer capable of color 3D printing, but it also comes with some innovative features that I haven’t seen in a single other color 3D printer.
The laser engraving upgrade opens up new doors in creative design. The auto bed-leveling works pretty well, and the handheld removable touch-screen is something I haven’t seen in any other 3D printers, no matter what price point.
And to speak on the price… all of this costs less than $500.
Typically, when I review 3D printers by newly-launched companies or Kickstarter campaigns, I’m overwhelmed by a sea of mechanical, software, and assembly issues. I had none of these with the Lotmaxx.
In fact, the only persistent issue I had with this color 3D printer came from the build plate adhesion.
In some cases, my recent prints would require a lot of elbow grease and some light chiseling to remove the prints from the plate. This is one of the most straightforward issues to remedy, though, so it’s not even something worth criticizing.
So there you have it!
Whether you choose the Shark or some other color 3D printer on the list (XRize, anyone?), multicolor 3D printing opens up many new avenues for you and your creations.
In a field where companies and creators are innovating every day, I can’t wait to see what new color 3D printer awaits us! Until then, thanks for reading, and happy printing!