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Dry stuff! Comparison of five coloring methods for 3D printing

1. Hand coloring
In a sense, hand coloring is the easiest to learn and operate. But if you want a good surface color effect,
It is necessary to apply a light-colored base color (light gray or white), and then apply the main color to prevent uneven or reversed colors. And it is necessary to use the cross painting method for coloring, that is, when the first layer is dry, add the second layer of fresh paint, and the brush direction of the second layer becomes perpendicular to the first layer.
In terms of color gloss, since most oil-based dyes are used, it is slightly higher than dip dyeing, but lower than spray painting, electroplating, and nano spray plating.
It is simple, easy to obtain and easy to operate, and the cost is lower than the other four types.

Purely hand-painted, the product effect is affected by many factors such as manual proficiency and secondary coloring control.
It is difficult to achieve the ideal state in terms of effect.

2. Spray painting
Spray painting is one of the main coloring processes for current 3D printing products. Because the paint adhesion is high, its application range is relatively wide. In terms of color gloss, affected by the original mirror surface of the product, the gloss is second only to the effect of electroplating and nano-spraying. However, the color of the job is relatively single. Due to the influence of spraying technology and paint dryness, multi-color spraying is more difficult.
In terms of production cycle, after spraying, it needs to be dried and fine-tuned in details, so the operation cycle takes 3 to 4 hours.
Spray painting and coloring are affordable and have the widest range of applications. The product effect is affected by many factors such as manual proficiency, secondary coloring control, and spray point connection, so the technical demand is strong. If the product can achieve its best effect when its surface is plain and smooth,

3. Dyeing
Dip dyeing, as one of the coloring processes for 3D printing products, is only suitable for nylon materials. In terms of color diversity, solid color dip dyeing is darker and mainly monochrome. And the glossiness is the lowest compared to the other four types. Although limited by materials and colors, the production cycle is short and the coloring effect can be completed in 30 minutes.
The cost of dip dyeing is higher than that of pure handwork and spray painting, but the material and color limitations are greater and the final product has a mediocre appearance.

4. Electroplating
Electroplating is a process that uses the principle of electrolysis to plate a thin layer of other metals or alloys on certain metal surfaces to improve wear resistance, conductivity, reflectivity, corrosion resistance and enhance aesthetics. There are only three colors: chrome, nickel, and gold, and they are only suitable for metal and ABS plastic.
Although the coloring effect will be affected by the volume and shape of the product, the mirror gloss of the color is extremely high, which is completely impossible to achieve by pure handwork, spray painting and dip dyeing.

Electroplating and coloring have the highest cost. Although it is greatly affected by the limitations of materials and product volume and shape, the appearance of the product is excellent.

5. Nano-spraying
Nano-spraying is the most cutting-edge high-tech spraying technology in the world. It uses special equipment and advanced materials.
Applying chemical principles through direct spraying, the surface of the coated object can present various mirror high-gloss effects such as gold, silver, chromium and various colors.
Nano-spraying can choose from a variety of colors and is suitable for various materials. And it is not affected by the limitations of volume and shape. It can use multiple colors at the same time, and the color transition is extremely natural. The mirror gloss of its color is equivalent to the electroplating effect, and the equipment investment can be customized according to the production capacity. Comparable products cost less and work great.

Summary comparison:
For the coloring process of 3D printing products, before product shaping, we can use colored PLA filaments, colored ABS filaments, full-color sandstone, and colorful plastics for color product shaping. However, if you need more and more personalized shapes and colors, you still need to adopt the above five methods to achieve the final effect requirements.

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