Jonathan Barclay of Twin Cities Maker has been experimenting with dyeing the output of our MakerBot using Rit dye, a cheap crockpot, and a microwave.

Twin Cities Maker ordered 5 lbs of white abs along with our makerbot. I’m aware that the MakerBot Store currently sells colored abs, but 5 lbs of white is nearly a lifetime supply and my method allows for more colors.

My original plan was to purchase an electric burner and small saucepan, but wal-mart’s lack of burners and the crock-pot for 1/3 of the price I was going to spend changed my mind. Since we have a microwave at the hackerspace the crock pot doesn’t actually need to do the work of heating up the water, just keeping it hot. A quick glance at the manual showed that the ceramic pot was indeed microwave safe. I filled it about half full (4 cups) of water and put it in the microwave until it boiled, about 5 minutes. Then using oven mits I transferred it to the crock-pot and set it on high.

Jon’s first experiment revealed that the heat factor seemed very important to getting the dye to stick — the 45-second minute test block, above, actually sank into the dye instead of floating, and that may have contributed to the more saturated color. [Via The MakerBot Blog]