FriDIY: Multicolor Chainmail Bracelet

Welcome to our first FriDIY! Today is the first installment of our weekly DIY series where we will post a fun project to do at home that makes 3D printing even more exciting. Our hope is to open the eyes of makers everywhere to new and exciting ways to use a desktop 3D printer.

Today’s project is printing the popular chainmail bracelet from Thingiverse, made by user gpvillamil, in multicolor with a single extruder printer.

megan_bracelet

First, you’ll need to download the model here.

This guide covers printing the “chainmail_bracelet_v4.stl” file, given that the lengths of filament you’ll need to use are specific to it.

Next, you’ll need to slice the model. We used the MakerBot Desktop software (also known as Makerware) to slice for our MakerBot Replicator 2. The instructions for printing the file specify changing a couple settings in your slicing config (in the MakerBot software, create a new slicing profile based on MakerBot PLA Standard and edit it to find these):

  • Layer Height: 0.27 mm
  • solidFillOrientationOffset: 0

Any kind of support including raft should be turned off. You can reference the instructions section of the model’s Thingiverse page for the additional instruction on cleaning the model up after printing.

We printed in PLA at 210C to limit any oozing across the links given that there are so many gap movements.

If you have a MakerBot Replicator 2 and want to use our x3g file, you can download it here.

 

Now comes printing. We’ve come up with a couple recipes you can use for achieving a cool multicolor look using either 2 or 3 colors as these seemed to come out best. The lengths specify how long to cut each piece of filament.

Recipe 1: 2-color alternating reversible bracelet

  • Piece 1: Color 1, ~925 mm
  • Piece 2: Color 2, ~975 mm
  • Piece 3: Color 1, ~985 mm
  • Piece 4: Color 2, feed from spool or ~ 1500 mm (long enough to finish the print)

Recipe 2: 3-color reversible bracelet

  • Piece 1: Color 1, ~925 mm
  • Piece 2: Color 2, ~1960 mm
  • Piece 3: Color 3, feed from spool or ~ 1500 mm (long enough to finish print)

Obviously these lengths are specific to the slice we use, so if you are using a different slicer or have some different settings they will be off, but shouldn’t be by much. We did the color changes on layers where the link posts were being printed so there is plenty of room for the changes without really being able to notice.

How you do the change is up to you. We tried out two different ways and had success with both. The first way is to pause the print and change the filament; this will give you crisp color changes if you purge out the previous color with the new and shouldn’t lead to and structural issues if you are quick about it. The second way is to feed in the next piece of filament while the print is still running; we achieved this by waiting until the current piece gets sucked into the extruder and is out of sight and then gently placing the next piece into the extruder as if you were feeding in new filament in a change. However, you have to make sure that you don’t press down on the filament that’s already in there or you could cause over extrusion or even a jam. This particular print is constantly retracting so the filament will be bobbing up and down when you do this which can be tricky but just make sure to keep the new piece touching the top of the old very gently and eventually the gear will bite the new piece.

Have fun with it, try color changes in different places to see how it affects the overall look of the bracelet. In experimenting with the changes, we found that modifying the color change points can lead to quite different outcomes, as well as the colors you choose. You can check out our gallery below to see some of the bracelets we made.

We would love to see the bracelets that YOU made and hope this guide was helpful. If you had a good time with our multicolor bracelet project or have any comments at all, please leave us a comment below on this page or send us an email.

If you are interested in buying a premade piece of filament for this print, you can buy one from us here! We will ship it to you already fused so all you need to do is load the filament and press print and your bracelet will come out perfect (or almost :)).

IMG_2940 IMG_2939 IMG_2938 IMG_2937 IMG_2935 IMG_2934 IMG_2933 IMG_2932 IMG_2931
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