Mosaic Manufacturing just launched The Palette filament feeding system. It can be attached to almost any FDM 3D printer and with it you can print objects in multiple colors or multiple material properties.
There have been many systems that promised fluid color changes and color mixing but most of them were based on new specialised extruders and in-nozzle mixing which made real application complex and heavy. The Palette approaches this problem differently and comes in the form of a separate box where all the filament mixing magic happens.
You can use The Palette with a direct drive or a Bowden extruder since from the printer’s point of view, using the The Palette’s output is essentially the same as pulling a single filament from a spool. It is compatible with almost any printer that uses .gcode or .x3g, 1,75mm filament and has accessible filament feed-in! The custom software uses any standard .gcode or .x3g and then modifies it to run on your printer and makes separate .SEEM file to control The Palette. There is a plan to make its software and firmware open source.
Here is the video explaining how The Palette works:
… and here is another one showing it in action:
Since it does more then just mix colors it can easily switch two different filaments like PLA and conductive filament to 3D print a working flashlight:
The Palette Kickstarter campaign is currently gaining a lot of attention and funding, two days in it they have already received two times the amount they were aiming for and the funding is sure to rise even more. At the time of this article they have 265 backers who pledged $139,463 of $75,000 initial goal. You can get it if you pledge $899 which makes it much cheaper the a new high-end multiple extruder 3D printer but still somewhat pricy for external attachment. There are no independent reviews yet but judging from the community comments I see bright future for The Palette and similar projects that are sure to follow inspired by it. Kudos to the Mosaic team!
The Palette Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1337298295/the-palette-3d-printing-evolved
Mosaic Manufacturing company page: http://www.mosaicmanufacturing.com/