In order to create clean, high-quality multi-color/material prints, Palette™ uses a Transition Tower. This allows your extruder to purge the filament in between transitions, creating precise breaks in your model. Without these towers, the quality of the print would be reduced due to filament bleed and other print issues.
Our MRI Brain scan model with the transition tower to its left
Although necessary, these towers will create filament waste as a certain amount of filament is needed to ensure that all the transition splices are purged before your extruder returns to the model. This article provides options to help minimize the amount of waste used in a print. We recommend trying these only once you're found your optimal printer/Palette settings and have successfully printed models with exceptional transitions.
Adjust Transition Settings
The easiest way to reduce filament waste is to make adjustments to your transition length in Chroma and CANVAS. You can access these settings in Chroma by turning on the Advanced settings (Tools > Preferences > Enable Advanced Settings) and editing the Transitions tab in your Printer profile (Profiles > Printer Profile > Edit > Transitions). In CANVAS, this is found in your Style Profile under the Transition tab.
Under this tab, you'll be able to adjust the "Transition Length", which refers to the amount of material used when transitioning between filaments. By lowering this value, your printer will use less material to transition, leading to a smaller tower. We suggest starting at the comfortable length (around 130 mm) when first testing your printer and Palette, and slowly lowering the value based on your results.
Transition Length in CANVAS
If you find that your prints are losing calibration with the lower transition length, it would be best to increase the transition length slightly and lower your Target Position (~30%).
Transition in Infill
This feature will give you the option to transition material in the infill or supports of the model and can reduce filament waste by 50-90%+. Infill Transitioning can be found in Chroma by turning on Advanced Settings (Tools > Preferences > Advanced Settings) and then selecting the option in the Transitions tab. In CANVAS, this option is found in the Transition tab.
Infill transitioning in Chroma
Using this option will still create a sparse (~5% infill) transition tower to be used for pinging (unless you're using side transitions). Note: This feature works with Simplify3D, Cura, and KISSlicer PRO. Slic3r's G-code comments do not yet distinguish between infill and shells.
First Layer of Tower/Higher Early Transition Length
This feature is only available in Chroma. When printing with Palette, the first few layers are the most important as these are printed before Palette's live feedback systems kick in (pinging). Larger first layers will help catch calibration early on and will also help for better adhesion of the tower to your print bed. Once these first layers are complete, the area to transition for the remainder of the print can be reduced, and Palette's Pinging and Ponging system will have kicked in, helping to keep the remainder of the print in calibration. Learn more about Pinging and Ponging here.
To adjust this, refer to the same Transitions tab of your Printer Profile within Chroma. Increase the Early Transition Length while keeping the actual Transition Length at a lower amount. This will create a tower with a larger base and a smaller tower. Currently, this feature is not available in CANVAS, but will be included in the near future.
Printing Multiple Models
When applicable, printing multiples of an object in the same print will reduce the amount of filament waste as a percentage of a print. This is due to the number of transitions staying the same throughout the print regardless of how many objects are being printed at one time, meaning that the tower size would be constant whether you're printing a single or multiples of a model. This is also true for printing multiple different models which share the same colors/materials.
Increasing Layer Heights
Depending on the intended quality of the final product, increasing layer heights can also effectively reduce filament waste. If you're planning to print intricate, precise models this may not be the best option, but if you have a print with large areas and faces, increasing the layer height to 0.3 mm can reduce the transition tower size by a large amount.
If you have any questions, please feel free to send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org!