Skip to Content

Can the Ender 3 Pro print two colors?

The Ender 3 Pro is an affordable and popular 3D printer made by Creality. With its large build volume, heated bed, and quality prints, it’s a great option for beginners and hobbyists. One common question about the Ender 3 Pro is whether it can print models in two colors. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at dual color printing capabilities on the Ender 3 Pro.

How dual color 3D printing works

Dual color 3D printing involves using two different filament colors in one print. This allows you to create models with multiple colors, textures, and material properties. There are a few different techniques for dual color 3D printing:

  • Manually pausing and swapping filament
  • Using a dual extruder system
  • Using dissolvable filament

The most straightforward approach is to manually pause the print at a certain layer height, swap out the filament to a new color, and resume printing. This allows basic two color prints but requires monitoring and intervention.

Dual extruder printers have two hotends and extruders which allow printing with two filaments simultaneously. The printer firmware automatically switches extruders and blends the two colors together. This enables advanced multicolor prints.

Dissolvable filament is a special type of material that dissolves in water. You can print detachable support structures using dissolvable material, and your main model color as the second extruder. The support material simply rinses away after printing.

Does the Ender 3 Pro support dual color printing?

The standard Ender 3 Pro comes equipped with a single extruder and hotend. This means it cannot natively mix and blend two filament colors together in one print. However, there are some ways to enable pseudo dual color printing on the Ender 3 Pro:

  • Pausing print and swapping filament manually
  • Using a dual color hotend adapter
  • Adding a full dual extruder upgrade

Pausing print and swapping filament

With this method, you manually pause the print at a specific layer, swap out the filament with a different color, and resume printing. This allows basic two color models but requires manual intervention at the right moments. Here are the steps:

  1. Design your model with separate bodies/components in different colors.
  2. Slice and generate your Gcode as normal.
  3. Insert pause commands at desired layer heights in your slicer.
  4. Start the print job as normal.
  5. When the nozzle pauses, unload old filament and insert new color.
  6. Resume print and repeat at other pause points.

This method enables basic two color prints. However, it requires monitoring the print and swapping filament at precise times. The transition point between the two colors will also be faintly visible.

Using a dual color hotend adapter

Several aftermarket hotend adapters enable pseudo dual color printing on the Ender 3 Pro. These work by mounting two independent hotends side by side on the print head carriage. Special splitter hardware diverts the filament to the active hotend.

During printing, the printer firmware actuates the idler to switch filament between the two hotends. This allows precise color changes at layer transitions. Some examples include the BIQU H2 and Flashforge Dreamer DX hotend adapters.

The downsides are a more limited print area, potential alignment issues, and frequent clogs. But overall it enables dual color prints without fully upgrading the extruder system.

Adding a full dual extruder

For professional quality dual color printing, you can upgrade the Ender 3 Pro with a full independent dual extruder system. This is the most effective option but also most complex to install and configure.

Some popular dual extruder options include:

Upgrade Description
Micro Swiss Direct Drive Extruder Premium direct drive extruder with dual nozzle mount.
Ender Extender 400XL Full kit with dual Bowden extruders.
Trianglelab Dual Extruder Budget dual drive extruders.

With an integrated dual extruder, the Ender 3 Pro gains proper dual color mixing capabilities. However, this is an advanced modification requiring firmware updates, calibration, and slicer settings.

How to set up dual color printing

Once equipped with one of the dual color printing options above, there are some steps required to set it up properly:

Update firmware

You’ll need to update the Ender 3 Pro’s printer firmware to enable support for multiple hotends/extruders. This requires flashing a custom Marlin or Klipper firmware hex file.

Calibrate hotends

Each extruder and hotend needs to be calibrated for proper filament flow and positioning. Follow guides to properly set hotend offsets and tune flow multiplier for each hotend.

Slice with dual color settings

Within your slicer (Cura, Simplify3D, etc), you’ll need to enable settings for multi-extruder/multi-color printing. This allows assigning separate bodies to different extruders.

Dial in profiles and speeds

Take time to fine tune your slicer profiles for clean dual color prints.Slow down print speeds, adjust nozzle temps, retraction, etc. until you achieve excellent surface quality on color changes.

Tips for better dual color printing

Here are some useful tips when printing dual color models on the Ender 3 Pro:

  • Print slower for cleaner color transitions – 30-40mm/s max
  • Minimize oozing with proper retraction and wipe settings
  • Use similar materials to prevent bonding issues
  • Alternate extruders frequently to prevent clogs
  • Design models with distinct color regions
  • Allow a 0.1mm overlap between colors for better bonding

Take the time to dial in your slicer profiles, temperatures, retraction, print speeds, and material options. Well-tuned settings will ensure the best print quality when mixing colors.

Example dual color prints

Here are some examples of multi-material prints possible on the dual color Ender 3 Pro:

  • Models with separate removable parts in different colors
  • Decorative vases, figurines with color accents
  • Functional prints like pliers with color coded handles
  • Multi-colored terrain maps and topographical prints
  • Colorful lithophanes and photogrammetry prints

Almost any design can be adapted to use multiple colors creatively. Dual material capabilities expand the possibilities of what you can design and print.


While not supported out of the box, the Ender 3 Pro can achieve basic dual color printing through manual filament swaps or the addition of aftermarket hotend adapters. For more advanced multicolor printing, upgrading to a dedicated dual extruder system is recommended.

With the right upgrades, calibration, and slicer settings, the Ender 3 Pro can produce quality dual color models. Just be prepared for some initial configuration and testing to dial in a reliable process. Overall the Ender 3 Pro is a great platform to add dual extrusion capabilities to via community upgrades.