Add Full-Color Images To Your 3D Prints With Toner Transfer

Add Full-Color Images To Your 3D Prints With Toner Transfer

Toner transfer is a generally-utilized approach for implementing textual content and images to flat surfaces this kind of as PCBs, but anyone who has considered employing the exact same method on 3D prints will have recognized that the heat from the iron would be a challenge. [Coverton] has a answer that literally turns the principle on its head, by 3D printing immediately onto the transparency sheet.

instrument panel design with toner transfer markings
The high-quality detail is terrific for intuitive front-panel styles

The technique is remarkably easy, and could signify a sport-changer for hobbyists trying to reach skilled-wanting whole-color photos on their prints.

Very first, the mirrored impression is printed onto a piece of transparency movie with a laser printer. Then, once the 3D printer has laid down the to start with layer of the object, you align the transparency over it and tape it down so it does not transfer close to. The plastic that is been deposited presently is then eradicated, and a minimal h2o is positioned on the center of the mattress. Applying a paper towel, the transparency gets smoothed out till the bubbles are pushed off to the edges.

One more handful of parts of tape maintain the transparency down on all corners, and the hotend peak is altered to take into account the transparency thickness. From there, the print can carry on on as normal. When finished, the impression need to be fused with the plastic. If it is hard to visualize, verify out the movie just after the break for a move-by-move guidebook.

There are, of class, some caveats. Aligning the transfer and the print seems a tiny fiddly at the instant, the transparency product utilized (obviously) has to be rated for use in laser printers, and it only is effective on flat surfaces. But on the other hand, there will be some viewers who by now have anything they need to have to test this out at house suitable now — and we’d really like to see the benefits!

We’ve coated some other approaches to get shade and visuals on to 3D prints in the past, this kind of as this hydrographic approach or by working with an inkjet printhead, but [Coverton]’s idea appears to be a lot more simple than possibly of those.  If you’re fascinated in toner transfer for fewer heat-sensitive resources, then look at out this guidebook from a handful of several years back again, or see what other Hackaday readers have been performing on wooden or brass.

Here’s a quick movie of the toner transfer method. from 3Dprinting

Thanks to [Shaun] for the idea.