Painting with a single nozzle

I can’t paint. Maybe a barn door, but painting a printed model would just make a mess. (Actually I’d make a mess of painting a barn door as well.)

So I’ve worked out a way to ‘paint’ directly on the printer.

Unless you’re a Brit and you have a mutt called Jack then the stl files won’t do you much good. If anybody is interested in this please give me a shout and I’ll explain how I did it.

Full disclosure. This was my first success and it was printed on my Ender 3; it needs perfect levelling and adhesion to work and I haven’t quite got there yet on the SM. Working on it!

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I would. Like to know how ya did this

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Sure! But rather that gumming up this forum I’ve written up how to do it as a doc file. Let’s see if I can give you the link to my DropBox…

Let’s hope that first, works and second, makes sense! :slight_smile:

That is a really ingenious process, and I can definitely see how it can be quite frustrating to get the level of calibration necessary to complete it. Nice job!

The print results look really impressive and i also feel the pain you must have had for this print. But isn’t it a little easier to print the parts in the different colors and glue them together later? Your method is 1000 times cooler, but you can only print a few layers up with the color change.

But, but, the problem I wanted to solve was the painting. Can’t see how printing a colour piece 0.2mm thick and then gluing it in place could work. Solid 3d models in different colours would need your method; this only works for flat surfaces.

No real pain, constantly changing the filament is a bit boring maybe. I’m nearly there with getting it to work on the SM machine but, goodness, changing filament on that is really sloooow compared to the Ender! Why does everything move at such a glacial pace on the SnapMaker?

I’ll just leave this here. Here’s where I’m going! :slight_smile:

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Wow, I didn’t think you could print such accurate things with this methode but this is really a nice result.

Off the Ender! I have the stl files for that but I want to print the actual board as one piece on the bigger-bed SnapMaker. Still fiddling about with getting the adhesion perfect. Um, I’d be happy to share the current stl files if a) anybody is interested and, b) I can work out a way to upload the pesky things.

I think I may have worked out how to share files, - maybe,
Ur_zip(1).zip (868.8 KB)
Ur_zip(2).zip (1.3 MB) (2.7 MB)

Sorry, Snapmaker,com if that loads up your server.

So if I’m reading this right, you’re basically doing a multicolour print by defining multiple files/layers, and having the previous layers as holes/negative space in the subsequent layers. Do you need to do anything special for the print settings then? Presumably a z-hop when moving over any previously printed areas, but anything else?

Yep, absolutrly right. But not multiple layers as such. All the ‘painting’ is done on the first single 0.2mm layer and then the body part printed on top of that. Punching holes through is important as some filaments are not very opaque. In fact I find that they all benefit from a layer of white on top, (underneath?).

Z-hop. yes. I set it at 0.2mm. Note that the z-hop height for the final black layer of Jack’s tag, the one with the black and white flag and my mobile phone number, needed to be set at 2mm to stop the nozzle crashing on the already-printed part. This, of course, only applies if you’re trying to be clever and paint both sides.

I tweaked up the retraction distance a tad to try and keep the many holes clear of whiskers which would muddy the next colour.

Otherwise normal Cura profile settings used.

Progress report: None, still having adhesion problems on the SM for those tiny patches of print. Arrgh!

Have you tried glue stick or magigoo?


2:15AM here. Can’t sleep!

I’m using hair-spray. Never had much luck with glue stick as I was never sure how much to put on. Magigoo I’ve heard of but never tried.

I can get an adequate first layer using the spray for normal prints; OK maybe not exactly perfect but good enough for the subsequent layers to stick. It’s the tiny letters on the key-tags that either grind into the bed and get knocked off by the nozzle or just don’t stick if I raise the nozzle.

I’ll get there, - eventually. Just that I’m totally fed up with re-calibrating over and over.

Here’s a question though. I notice that the Z-offset will grip the calibration card harder for the same shown offset depending on whether the last adjustment was up or down. That seems to imply some sort of backlash in the lead screw. Which is the more accurate? Anybody know?

For glue stick I just do a quick swipe with just enough overlap to make sure it’s covered and seems to work fine.
I know some people use a damp paper towel to smooth and thin it out, but I haven’t found that necessary. I always use it for petg, and generally when I’m doing smaller pla parts. Just gives a little extra margin of error. Redo it after 4 or 5 prints. Haven’t personally used magigoo, since glue stick works fine for me (Elmers that is purple until dry) but @MooseJuice swears by it.

I just assume that if I go to far and it grips too hard that if I go back one then I’m where I want to be. Most people find that the pull/no push recommended by SM is too low. I find that one less where it pushes and pulls with resistance works best for me - for a starting point. For PLA, tpu likes to squish and is less offset, PETG more.

Thanks for the response. Can’t find Elmer’s out here in the wilds of Portugal. :slight_smile: But hair spray seems to give good results for normal prints.

I’ll have to experiment with approaching the right offset from below or above. There’s certainly a difference in grip depending which way you get to the offset. Like I said, we do this for fun, right!


I believe UHU Stic is the European equivalent.


Elmer’s is a PVA (poly vinyl acetate) glue. If it’s white and labelled “PVA glue”, it’s essentially the same as Elmer’s.

Hi guys, thanks again for the info. PVA glue? I’ve got a bottle of that but it’s not in a stick and I’m a bit hesitant in pouring an untested liquid glue on my lovely new SnapMaker bed!


I’ve given up on getting the SM machine to print these models. The Ender works fine and they’re not very big so don’t need the big bed that the SM provides. I’ve also got quite a few things I’d like to print on the bigger bed and my rather heavily perfumed hair spray does an adequate job on the big machine. I’ve got the SM as perfectly tuned as I think it’s capable of; maybe if they issue a firmware update with a <0.05mm adjustment to the nozzle height I’ll give it another try. But, until then, I’m happy to provide neatly printed key-tags and other small prints using the Ender 3. (Ricardo now provides me with free beer. But he was so pleased with his key-tag and showed it a load of people so I now have orders for five more. Busy, busy!) [Sigh] I thought that, by now, I’d be exploring the Laser and CNC modules. They’ll just have to wait while I earn brownie points in the village! :slight_smile: