Frequently Asked Questions
1. Q) What is included in the package?
A) The 3D Chameleon Mk2 includes everything necessary to connect the four Color 3D Chameleon except any specific custom mounts for your particular printer. You can download custom mounts from Thingiverse by searching for 3DChameleon (all one word.) Please note, the new Mk2 unit only needs to use two motors to drive four colors... so don't be alarmed when you only find two stepper motors in your package... the single preassembled unit has four filament tubes and can drive any of the four colors loaded into it. See here for how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLxnlgyOWrM
2. Q) Will the 3D Chameleon work on my printer?
A) Yes. It's designed to be universal (and work with any printer), so if your printer is stock and has the ability to use custom tool change gcode, then it should work without issue. Some custom configurations will need slight alterations for the switch or extruder mounting location. Those file can be found here: https://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=3dchameleon
3. Q) What slicers does the 3D Chameleon support?
A) Currently, we have sample code for PrusaSlicer. The example is 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. See the PrusaSlicer example video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc6sDGCO5fI
4. Q) I have a direct drive printer, will the 3D Chameleon work on it?
5. Q) Will the 3D Chameleon work on a Delta Printer?
A) Yes, you can mount the switch at the top of any column.
6. Q) What main 3D printer electronics boards do you currently support?
A) The Mk2 is universal and works with any printer. No firmware or electrical modifications are necessary.
7. Q) Can I go to more than 4 colors?
A) Yes, the 3D Chameleon can be combined together to allow up to 32 colors with just a single switch.
8. Q) How hard is it to install the 3D Chameleon?
A) If you follow our instructions, the most basic install takes less than 1/2 an hour to complete.
9. Q) How do I change the Tool Change gcode to hit my button?
A) Look for the G0 X0 commands in the tool change gcode. Edit the X0 to point to the new location of the switch.
10. 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.
11. Q) What is included in the Mk1 to Mk2 Upgrade kit?
A) The Upgrade Kit is intended only for those customers who have purchased the Mk1 kit. It includes all the necessary components to convert your existing Mk1 to the Mk2. Since there is only a 4 color Mk2, the kit will upgrade you to a 4 color kit even if you only have the 2 color Mk1. You will need components from the Mk1 kit to compete the installation of the of the upgrade. This upgrade is limited only to customers who have purchased the Mk1 or were in the previous beta program.
12. Q) I'm international, what are the shipping fees?
A) USPS charge a flat rate pricing starting at $55.15 for most countries (using USPS Flat Rate International Shipping), however, due to the differences in each country and their associated charges, we might contact you for additional funds for shipping fees. See the USPS Price Group Table here: https://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immpg.htm for more details on your specific country. Due to those differences, we can not collect Customs Fees, Duties, Taxes or VAT, you must arrange payment of those import fees for your own country, if there are any. The Harmony Code for our products are 84779000, which is classified as a 3D printer part. Each country has their own import structure for the various products. If you have questions, use this harmony code to look up your local import laws for the required taxes and fees.