Dual Color Magic Filament

Dual Color Magic Filament

Mark Lanctot
June 30, 2024

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Previously I wrote about my experience with gold silk PLA and the amazing prints that I was able to make with it. Could it get any better?

It could! A fairly recent development is dual extrusion or dual color filament, and most of these have the shiny silk effect like the gold silk filament. Dual extrusion filament is filament produced with two colors. One half of the filament strand is one color and the other half is another color. Contrasting colors are often used for maximum effect.

There are many producers of dual color filament, but a very well known manufacturer is MatterHackers. They call their series “Silky Magic”. The photos are amazing and the best ones use the “loudest” colors. It was a hard decision, but I chose Pink Blue based on the jaw-dropping photo of the model they made. It was a hard decision - blue/green, gold/magenta and blue/yellow all look incredible too. Is the photo enhanced or faked in any way? I was about to find out.

You get a hint of the magic to come from the look of the filament spool. Here it is loaded into my dry box:

Two halves and shiny shiny
A better view showing the cross section and the gleam
It certainly looked like magic. The temperature tower printed smoothly and showed no issues.
The nice shininess is an indication of what was to come

It wasn’t until I printed a Benchy that I understood what made “magic” filament magic.

Unlike my previous silk PLA filament, bed adhesion was excellent, which is probably due to better filament quality. The lettering is interesting - it really stands out because it gets highlighted in the contrasting color.
A hint about the magic - blue on one side, pink on the other

This angle shows what’s going on with this filament. The filament gets deposited exactly as you’d expect - pink on one side, blue on the other. What this means is that the color changes based on the direction the nozzle is moving. In one orientation, the blue gets deposited on the inside and the pink on the outside. The opposite happens when the nozzle changes direction. And the colors get deposited uniformly, they do not change until the nozzle direction changes. This leads to certain surfaces being all one color, and other surfaces being the opposite color. There’s no random mixing of color. This is a striking effect.

Now that testing is over, I printed some prints that should really make this filament shine, pun intended. First, a [blossom vase](https://www.printables.com/model/60696-blossom-vase). The many folds and impressive size should show off this filament.
An amazing result after a very, very long print
Another view
Next up is this [fancy skull](https://www.printables.com/model/61094-fancy-skull). This intricate, elaborate print should really show off the dual color nature of this filament, and the shiny effect will enhance the print’s looks.
The pink side, showing hints of the blue side
The blue side, showing hints of the pink side
The print is extremely intricate, highly detailed and shows off the color transition to its full effect.

This is cool, this is fun! Since these prints I’ve noticed there are triple color silk PLA filaments, though no quadruple color filaments, which may be difficult to manufacture and would look a little too “busy”. But there are also dual color matte filaments - those might be interesting!

I have also used some blue/silver dual color silk PLA from IEMAI. It also makes stunning prints but they’re a little understated compared to this.

So try out one of these amazing new dual color filaments and make something amazing, just for how it looks.

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