HomeBuyer's guides3D printersThe 10 best full-color 3D printers in 2020

The 10 best full-color 3D printers in 2020


Full-color 3D printers are able to 3D print in photorealistic colors. They are often used for prototyping, signage, and product design. Find out more about color 3D printing in this guide.

What is the best full-color 3D printer?

It’s complex to 3D print in full, photorealistic color, and there are less than ten 3D printer manufacturers that achieve this.

Until recently, full-color 3D printing was exclusive to expensive industrial additive manufacturing systems from brands such as Stratasys or 3D Systems. Today, more affordable (under $10K) desktop full-color 3D printers also exist.

What is full-color 3D printing?

Full-color 3D printers are able to create objects with photorealistic color.

To do so, the 3D printer must be able to mix different filaments or inks together to obtain precise shades and gradients, similar to regular 2D paper printers.

This is also known as indirect color 3D printing, as the color is applied to the base material (the base material isn’t pre-colored before 3D printing).

 

Full-color 3D printing vs. multicolor 3D printing

In the 3D printing industry, the term “multicolor” is sometimes used as a synonym for full-color.

However, for clarity in this article, we will only refer to multicolor for 3D printers and accessories that are able to 3D print a few colors (e.g.: 2-color 3D printers, 3-color 3D printers, Prusa multi-material add-on, Mosaic Palette, etc.).

This type of 3D printing is also called direct color 3D printing, as the filament already has a specific color before being 3D printed.

Examples of full-color 3D prints vs. multicolor 3D prints

Examples of full-color 3D prints (left) and multicolor 3D prints (right).

The best full-color 3D printers

Full color 3D printerBuild volume in mmTechnologyCountryPrice*Buy
3D Systems ProJet CJP 660Pro254 x 381 x 203 mmBinder JettingUS$100,000Quote
ComeTrue T10200 x 160 x 150 mmBinder JettingTaiwan$30,000Quote
HP Jet Fusion 580190 x 332 x 248 mmPowderUS> $50KQuote
Mimaki 3DUJ-553508 x 508 x 305 mmMaterial JettingJapan$200,000Quote
Rize XRIZE310 x 200 x 200 mmExtrusionUS$55,000Quote
Stratasys J735350 x 350 x 200 mmMaterial JettingUS> $250KQuote
Stratasys J826255 x 252 x 200 mmMaterial JettingUS$100K - $250KQuote
XYZPrinting Da Vinci Color200 x 200 x 150 mmExtrusionTaiwan$3,499Buy
XYZPrinting Da Vinci Color mini130 x 130 x 130 mmExtrusionTaiwan$1,599Buy
XYZPrinting PartPro350 xBC350 x 222 x 200 mmBinder JettingTaiwan$30,000Quote
The above table is a comprehensive overview of full-color 3D printers available on the market. They are listed in alphabetical order.

*Price: These can vary over time and/or from one country to another (import fees, taxes, etc.).

Overview of the best full-color 3D printers in 2020

Desktop color 3D printers

XYZPrinting Da Vinci Color

  • Technology: Extrusion
  • Build volume: 200 x 200 x 150 mm
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Price: $3,499

Buy

The Da Vinci Color uses 3DColorJet technology (extrusion) to 3D print full-color objects. The base material is white XYZPrinting PLA which the 3D printer colors layer by layer with a special CMYK inkjet cartridge. In order to avoid wasting ink, the XYZPrinting Da Vinci Color only colors outer, visible layers.

More information: XYZPrinting Da Vinci Color


XYZPrinting Da Vinci Color mini

  • Technology: Extrusion
  • Build volume: 130 x 130 x 130 mm
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Price: $1,599

Buy

The Da Vinci Color mini is basically a more compact and more affordable version of the Da Vinci Color mentioned earlier. This mini version, however, uses an all-in-one CMYK color cartridge while the original Da Vinci Color uses four separate color cartridges. It is also possible to add an optional laser-engraving module to the Da Vinci Color mini.

More information: XYZPrinting Da Vinci Color mini

ComeTrue T10

  • Technology: Binder Jetting
  • Build volume: 200 x 160 x 150 mm
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Price: $30,000
The ComeTrue T10 full-color 3D printer uses sandstone– a neutral, plaster-like powder– as its base material. This material is solidified and colored with ComeTrue’s proprietary liquid binding agent. Then, users must insert the parts into a dry vacuum unit (available separately) to manually remove excess powder with an airbrush. The final steps involve covering the part in a liquid infiltrant for it to harden and then leaving the part to dry.

More information: ComeTrue T10

Industrial color 3D printers

3D Systems ProJet CJP 660Pro

  • Technology: Binder Jetting
  • Build volume: 254 x 381 x 203 mm
  • Country: US
  • Price: $100,000
This full-color sandstone 3D printer by 3D Systems produces high-quality parts. The ProJet CJP 660Pro deposits liquid color binding agent (proprietary VisiJet PXL) through its 1,520 jets in a process called ColorJet Printing. Different infiltrants are available from 3D Systems for varying color 3D printed part properties: ColorBond, StrengthMax, and Wax.

More information: 3D Systems ProJet CJP 660Pro

HP Jet Fusion 580

  • Technology: Binder Jetting
  • Build volume: 190 x 332 x 248 mm
  • Country: US
  • Price: > $50K
HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology consists of depositing different binding agents onto a plain base material. With these proprietary binding agents– or “Voxel Transforming Agents”– users may control not only color but also texture, translucency, density, and more. Up to eight different agents can be used in a single 3D print.

More information: HP Jet Fusion 580

Mimaki 3DUJ-553

  • Technology: Material Jetting
  • Build volume: 508 x 508 x 305 mm
  • Country: Japan
  • Price: $200,000
Mimaki is a professional inkjet printing solution manufacturer from Japan. The 3DUJ-553 is their first 3D printer, and it produces high-quality, photo-realistic 3D prints. To do so, its ink heads deposit a layer of colored ink, which the printheads then coat with UV-sensitive material to harden the layer with LED lighting. According to the manufacturer, this full-color 3D printer offers over 10 million colors.

More information: Mimaki 3DUJ-553

Stratasys J735

  • Technology: Material Jetting
  • Build volume: 350 x 350 x 200 mm
  • Country: US
  • Price: > $250K
The Stratasys J735 industrial full-color 3D printer is capable of 3D printing up to 6 different materials at a time. Thus, one 3D print can have both rigid and flexible sections. Over 500,000 colors are available, with or without transparency. One of the J735’s most notable characteristics is its ability to 3D print layers of 0.014 mm.

More information: Stratasys J735

Stratasys J826

  • Technology: Material Jetting
  • Build volume: 255 x 252 x 200 mm
  • Country: US
  • Price: $10K – $250K
The J826 is one of the more recent full-color printers to join the Stratasys line-up. It is capable of using up to seven different materials in a single print, in addition to 3D printing with over 500,000 different colors. Complex geometries are achievable thanks to soluble support materials.

The J-8 series also includes the J850 and J835.

More information: Stratasys J826

Rize XRIZE

  • Technology: Extrusion
  • Build volume: 310 x 200 x 200 mm
  • Country: United States
  • Price: $55K
This professional 3D printer’s main added value is its ability to 3D print parts that are both strong and full-color. The Rize XRIZE uses a mix of ink jetting and Rize’s Augmented Deposition technology. While extruding filament, the XRIZE selectively jets CMYK ink onto each voxel.

In addition, this color 3D printer deposits a special material– Release Ink– between the part and its support structures. Users can thereforeeasily and quickly remove the support material, leaving the part smooth and without need of post-processing.

More information: Rize XRIZE

XYZPrinting PartPro350 xBC

  • Technology: Binder Jetting
  • Build volume: 350 x 222 x 200 mm
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Price: $30K
Targeting professionals such as architects and designers, the PartPro350 xBC 3D prints, colors, and cures materials all at once. This full-color 3D printer features a removable build tray, enabling users to quickly launch a new print job before taking out freshly 3D printed parts from the previous tray.

More information: XYZPrinting PartPro350 xBC

Other full-color 3D printers

Below are a few mentions of products that are unavailable, discontinued, or suspicious.

M3D Crane Quad

The Crane Quad is a $999 desktop 3D printer that is advertised by M3D as capable of printing full-color objects with its four-in-one-out extruder. However, it has been brought to our attention that some users have never received the machine, while many others have encountered serious issues with it. A recap of user complaints and types of issues can be found in this BBB report. We don’t recommend this company.

Mcor ARKePro

Mcor debuted with the Mcor IRIS and Matrix 300+ and then launched the Mcor ARKePro full-color desktop 3D printers for professionals (updated version of the original Mcor ARKe). The ARKe used Selective Deposition Lamination (SDL) technology, which consists in depositing colored ink on sheets of paper. Mcor is no longer active.

SOMETHING 3D Chameleon

This 3D printer was announced by Israel-based SOMETHING 3D (ST3D) in 2017. The Chameleon mixes five colors together (WCMYK) to create full-color 3D prints.

ORD Solutions RoVa4D full-color Blender

The RoVa4D full-color Blender is another filament-mixing 3D printer. Canadian company ORD Solutions launched this full-color desktop 3D printer on Kickstarter in 2016, but there has been very little news about its availability since then.

Apple full-color 3D printer

There were rumors of the tech giant developing a full-color desktop 3D printer. Apple filed a patent in 2015, which was approved at the beginning of 2018. However, the project appears to be on standby as no official Apple announcements regarding 3D printing have been made.

Ilios Ray

Ilios was a 3D printer manufacturer from Cyprus that closed its doors in late 2016. Their Ilios Ray resin 3D printer was claimed to mix colors with different resin cartridges.

SKY-TECH 3DPandoras

Launched on Kickstarter in 2014, this full-color powder 3D printer was well-received by the community– at first. Since then, its backers have largely denounced this product as a scam.

Multicolor 3D printing: alternatives to full-color 3D printing

As mentioned towards the beginning of the article, multi-color 3D printing is different from full-color 3D printing. Multi-filament 3D printers, such as dual extruder 3D printers, are able to 3D print different colors at the same time. These multi-nozzle 3D printers can be considered multi-color, but not full-color.

Accessories such as the Mosaic Palette or the Prusa multi-material add-on also allow for multicolor 3D printing with simple single-extruder 3D printers. They enable users to 3D print with up to four or five colors.

With SimplyColor3D software it’s also possible to program filament color changes. The software also allows users to paint 3D models and allows for less material waste during purge transitions.

Another solution is post-processing. Germany-based DyeMansion provides full-color post-processing solutions (“DyeMansion RAL color palette”) for powder-based 3D printed parts. See our post on multicolor 3D printers and multi-filament accessories for more information.

A multicolor 3D printed Benchy.

A multicolor Benchy 3D printed with the Mosaic Palette 2.
Source: Mosaic

Benefits of full-color 3D printing and applications

Full-color 3D printers allow users to obtain photorealistic 3D models with limited post-processing required. This is useful for rapid prototyping as well as for the manufacturing of end-use products:

  • Realistic prototypes (e.g. packaging, architecture models)
  • Customized consumer products (e.g. phone cases, figurines, toys)
  • Educational items (e.g. medical models)

Full-color 3D printing service

Full-color 3D printers are quite expensive and they require users to have at least some 3D printing knowledge. If users only need to 3D print a few parts a year, then ordering online service bureaus can be more cost-effective. Here’s a list of a few trusted online full-color 3D printing services:

How much does a full-color 3D printer cost?

The price of a full-color 3D printer can range from $550 to over $250,000. It depends on the type of 3D printing technology that the 3D printer uses. Full-color extrusion 3D printers cost less, while complex binder jetting and material jetting are the most expensive.

More 3D printing resources

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About this author

Ludivine Cherdo

Ludivine is in charge of Aniwaa's content strategy and works towards providing useful, informative content, including detailed guides based on her deep knowledge of the additive manufacturing scene. She also reviews 3D printers and stays on top of the latest industry news and trends. After growing up in the US and living in Spain, Chile, and Cambodia, Ludivine is now based in France.