Frequently Asked Questions
1. Q) Will the 3D Chameleon work on my printer?
A) Most likely, if your printer is stock and have the ability to use custom tool change gcode, then it should work without issue. Some custom configurations will need slight alterations or might be incompatible. If in doubt, return the printer to it's factory state and it should be Ok.
2. Q) What slicers does the 3D Chameleon support?
A) Currently, we have sample code for Prusa Slicer, Slic3r, Cura, Simplify3D and IdeaMaker. The examples are simple and can easily be adapted to other slicers as long as you have the ability to know when a tool change is occurring and have the ability to inject custom gcode when it happens.
3. Q) I have a direct drive printer, will the 3D Chameleon work on it?
A) Yes, you have two options, one, replace the existing extruder motor with one of our motors to match the phase resistance or two, switch to our Bowden setup. Switching to our Bowden setup is far easier to implement.
4. Q) Will the 3D Chameleon work on a Delta Printer?
A) Yes, you can mount the switches at the top of each column.
5. Q) What main 3D printer electronics boards do you currently support?
A) In general, we support most stock boards, however, due to concerns of reliability, we currently do not support some aftermarket boards such as the TH3D EZBoard series as well as closed source boards that do not allow you to run custom gcode. If you are having issues with the Trinamic drivers on your printer, please be sure to include the M84 command before and after the G0 block of commands so that the Trinamic driver knows you are ready to proceed.
6. Q) Why is the two color kit only $99 and the four color kit $199... isn't it just 2 two color kits anyway?
A) Well, sort of, but in addition to the two 2 color kits, there are additional components included to allow both four color or two 2 color configurations. Normally, those 4 color specific components would cost over $40.
7. Q) Can I go to more than 4 colors?
A) Yes, as long as you can find a location for the switches, you can go up to 32 colors.
8. Q) I'm outside the US, can I still buy a 3D Chameleon?
A) Yes, you can use a service like Shipito or similar exporting service. Just as long as we are shipping to a US address, they can take it from there.
9. Q) How hard is it to install the 3D Chameleon?
A) If you follow our instructions, it takes about 1 hours to complete. If you built your own printer (even a simple one like the Ender 3) then you'll have no issues installing this kit. Our step by step instructions make it easy.
10. Q) Help! My motors are just clicking!
A) Make sure the wires are correct. On most printers, the wire from the electronics to the extruder are straight through... if yours are not, you can either swap the wires in the connector to match or use our provided wires. In some cases, the controller has an odd wiring pattern. Basically, you can use your meter to figure out which sets of wires are the phases of the motors by looking for the two pairs of wires that have the same resistance. Once you've found them, you can try them as 1,2 and 3,4 if that doesn't work, try 2,1 and 3,4 by switching only one pair. That will normally fix it.
11. Q) My extruder has a BL Touch on it... does this interfere with the 3D Chameleon's switch?
A) Only if you install it on that side. The 3D Chameleon is flexible... it allows you to install the switch anywhere you want and can command something to hit it via gcode. For example, you might just move it to the right side, or you might decide to mount it under the Y axis and have the button pressed when the Y axis moves to the front of the printer. In any case, you will need to change the gcode in the Tool Change section to allow the printer to hit the buttons during the tool change event.
12. Q) How do I change the Tool Change gcode to hit my buttons?
A) Generally, if you have a two color system, you only need to change the location of the X axis homing, which is normally X0. But if you mount it in another location, look for the line of code that has G0 X0 F2000... this is the line that actually presses the button. G0 is the "GoTo" command, and the X0 is the axis and position to go to... X0 tells the system to move the X axis to position 0... and F2000 is the speed to move it... 2000 mm per minute. If you need to move it to the right side of the printer, you might change the G0 X0 F2000 to G0 X220 F2000 to tell it that the button is actually being pressed when the X axis is at 220. The line above and below this are "waiting" positions... they tell the system to go to that position before the button and after the button is pressed. In the default code, they are G0 X10 F2000... which tells it to go to X position 10. If you moved it to 220 previously, you'd want those lines to be 10mm away... so G0 X210 F2000 would work. Likewise, if you moved it to the Y axis, the command would be G0 Y210 F2000. You can use any combinations of them as well... for example G0 X10 Y100 F2000 would move the build plate forward 100mm and move the extruder to the left 10mm from the homing switch.
13. Q)How do I make a proper tip shape to avoid jamming?
A) The 3D Chameleon is a mechanical system designed to remove and reinsert filament into your existing hot end. To be able to do this correctly, the 3D Chameleon requires the tip of the filament to be correctly shaped to be able to easily be inserted back into the hot end. Under normal circumstances, PLA filament, when extracted from the standard hot end, will swell in diameter about .5mm larger than the tube it is pulled from if not controlled correctly. In addition to that, if the temperature of the PLA is not correctly set prior to extraction, it will "string", which is where the PLA sticks to the hot nozzle while it is being extracted, creating a long thread attaching the filament to the hot end. These strings can become quite long, easily 50 or 60 mm in length. When the 3D Chameleon tries to reinsert filament with an attached "blob" from swelling or a long string, it can jam. The swollen filament will become too large to reinsert into the 1.8mm PTFE tube and will immediately jam. The stringy filament will double back on itself, causing the filament string itself to jam against itself as it loops by.
To combat this, the 3D Chameleon relies on proper gcode to control the shape of the tip by tackling it in three ways.
1) The proper temperature is maintained to prevent stringing.
2) The tip of the filament is "rammed" back into the hot end at appropriate speeds and distances to force the "blob" to reattach to the end of the filament.
3) The filament is "forged" inside the 1.8mm PTFE and again inside the 3D Chameleon Y adapter.
Let's discuss each of these in detail.
Tip temperature. This is critical to prevent stringing. There are two basic types of string. High temperature, long thin, round strings. These are easily identified by their continuous decrease in diameter as well as their nice round shape. When you see this type of string, simply lower the temperature by 5 degree increments until it goes away. The second type is a long thin, flat stringing caused by to low of a temperature. These are caused by a low temperature in the filament "cooling" against the PTFE tube and being physically pulled from it. To combat them, simply raise the temperature by 5 degree increments until they go away.
Ramming. The ramming sequence is critical to prevent blobs from separating (and possibly falling off and jamming) the Y adapter or PTFE tube. In theory, the filament is pulled from the hot end and a blob of melted filament is allowed to form inside the hot end, but before it is extracted fully, the filament is rammed back into the hot end and into the molten filament and then is quickly retracted back out. This is repeated a few times at different depths to completely remove the molten filament from the nozzle as much as possible. This "blob" is then moved to the next step, forging, very rapidly.
Forging. The act of forging is basically keeping the filament confined in a space or moving it through a space that constricts it from "growing" beyond the diameter of the 1.8mm PTFE tube while it is cooling and hardening. Once the temperature drops below the "glass transition temperature" the PTFE will hold it's shape and size. We don't need all of the filament to be solidified, only the surface of the tip. For our purposes, we rapidly retract the filament (with attached blob) about 10 mm out of the hot end, then rapidly slow down the retraction for the next 25mm. This slow pull allows the filament to slowly cool down while it is confined in the 1.8mm filament. We then rapidly move it up and down while staying inside the 1.8mm PTFE to prevent it from swelling and sticking to the sides. This process takes several seconds. Once that completes, it is pulled into the 3D Chameleon Y adapter where it is passed back and forth into another region called the "forging zone" where the Polycarbonate casing is the thinnest. This also has the effect of insuring the tip is in it's correct final shape.
Once these three steps are complete, the filament is pulled all the way out of the 3D Chameleon Y adapter and stored about 30-50mm above the Y adapter entrance. The gcode then commands the extruder to press the buttons to move to the next color, where it is reinserted and the process is allowed to continue.