Mosaic Manufacturing has just launched a new software platform for multi-color, multi-material 3D printing. CANVAS is a free, cloud-based software package that will work with a range of 3D printers, including the BCN3D Sigma, the Ultimaker 3, the soon to be released Prusa i3 MK2 Multi-Material Upgrade, and Mosaic’s own Palette solution.
A common frustration among these desktop 3D printers is what inspired Mosaic to start developing CANVAS in the first place, say its creators. “You may have noticed that the software operating these machines was never designed to create more than a single color, single material part,” explain Mosaic reps.
“All the products above operate off of the dual extruder framework – something that was created as a band-aid solution for a small part of the market. There has never been a software platform designed to allow users to operate these machines in a seamless manner – a platform built for especially for multi-material printing.”
To counter the current slicers for multi-color parts on the market, which are plagued by finicky workflows and counter-intuitive processes, Mosaic designed CANVAS.
The aim was initially to simplify the user experience when 3D printing in different colors and materials. A more intuitive multi-color, multi-material slicer that could create a simpler workflow, decrease print time and waste materials, and increase functionality was at the core of developing CANVAS.
But the software package quickly became much more, say its creators. As a slicer, CANVAS users will be able to efficiently transition between different materials and colours, while also easily painting/colouring .stl files.
As a CAD powered customization tool, however, the new Mosaic software offers a range of additional functionalities. Using cloud modelling, users will be able to customize geometries, materials, aesthetics, and functional properties of their prints, even for those who aren’t advanced CAD designers. In lieu of pre-existing customization tools which lack support for multi-material printing, CANVAS’ customization capabilities promise to support designs ranging from simple to the most complex.
“Our goal with the customization portion of CANVAS extends beyond FDM 3D printing, to bring a customization platform to all forms of digital manufacturing,” say Mosaic representatives. That means a long term goal of “bringing the ability to personalize products to the mass market, and having these products be delivered through a number of manufacturing platforms.”
While not open source, CANVAS was designed according to principles of universal design, its creators say. CANVAS will be compatible with the Ultimaker 3, BCN3D Sigma, and other .gcode/.x3g multi-material 3D printers, as a means of pushing multi-color, multi-material printing as a new industry standard. For now though, as long as the hardware continues to allow for non-proprietary file types, users will be able to use CANVAS.
As of today, CANVAS is launching as an entirely free platform, but Mosaic reports that a pricing structure will be included at a later date. In other words, interested buyers may not want to wait around. Best of luck to Mosaic with this innovative solution, and for the rest of you, happy multi-color, multi-material printing!