Musings and Experiments on the Art and Science of 3D Printing

Mosaic Palette - the journey begins

By Michael Hackney Wednesday, June 7, 2017
I've been watching the Mosaic Palette since its Kickstarter and have come close to buying one on four occasions. But each time I hesitated and moved on to other projects and challenges – a little gun-shy from the shipping delay and lack of time. So what, you might be asking, is the Mosaic Palette?
(photo used with permission)
That 290mmx170mmx140mm (11.4"x6.7"x5.5") white box above is what it looks like in case you haven't seen one. But the all-important question is "What does it do?"

In a nutshell, you feed four different colors of filament into Palette and it chops them up into short segments and fuses them back together to make a single multi-colored filament. Here's a little graphic to show the concept:

The length and position of the colored segments are calculated from an object's g-code file. It delivers this sequence of chopped up colored segments to your 3D printer, with its standard extruder and hot end, so it can print objects in up to four colors. If that isn't difficult enough, it does the cutting and fusing in near real time as the object is printed. It's a fascinating concept and it isn't difficult to imagine the technical challenge to pull it off. Is it art, technology or black magic (or a combination)? Over the next few months I am going to find out.

Due to a combination of a successful Kickstarter campaign and some last minute technical challenges, Palettes were scarce with a long waiting list. That was one of my deterrents for jumping on board; I tend to be opportunistic due to my very busy "life schedule". I can't predict what I'll be doing and how much time I'll have next week let alone six months from now! But while I faltered Mosaic stuck to it, resolved the technical issues one by one, and finally caught up shipping to backers and those patient early buyers.

I was a bit surprised when I made my monthly pilgrimage to the Mosaic web site this week and found they were offering a 25% discount to the first 50 new customers. That was just the extra kick I needed - well, that and having seen Jetguy's Palette at the Midwest RepRap Festival in March. I knew it was just a matter of time before I got my hands on one to see exactly what it can do with visions of four-color 3D printed fly-fishing and spinning reels dancing in my mind. I placed my order at 12:45pm yesterday and today at 12:30pm this package arrived at my door:
An amazing feat when you realize that Mosaic is in Toronto, Canada and I'm in Boston, MA USA. The tracking showed my package routed through Cincinnati, OH! Less than 24hrs from order to delivery - your mileage may vary :)

Inside the box, packed in paper any molded foam, is this purple box (one of my favorite colors):


Inside the purple box is the Palette. It might be a good omen that a postcard from my all-time favorite filament designer – Proto-pasta – greeted me when I opened the box!
Over the next months I'll post updates on my progress, tests and prints as I install and learn how to use this unique device. My plan is to commission it on an UltiBots D300VS large delta printer modified with an E3D Titan Aero direct drive extruder. The Aero should provide very precise filament delivery without the issues of Bowden hysteresis - an issue that some early delta Palette users have discussed on the SeeMeCNC forum.

Please be patient though! I have a lot on my plate so progress might be slow. But I'll get there... 

2 comments to ''Mosaic Palette - the journey begins"

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  1. Sweet, looking forward to this review. This magic box would make some interesting fidget spinners... yes, I made one for my nephew and now I have my Rostock max printing 24/7. All his friends want one lol

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  2. Cool, yes multi colors would be very cool!

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