Aug. 14, 2014

3D printing services company Shapeways announced that it will begin to offer 3D printing in full color plastic material.

In the past, when a designer wanted to print their design in multiple colors, they had to choose from the range of colors available in Shapeways' full color sandstone. Produced on Z-Corp printers, sandstone is perfect for figurines, life-like models, avatars. But sandstone material is fragile and isn't well suited to functional parts or flexible and moveable parts. In addition, models should be handled carefully, and not exposed to water as it will cause fading.

And now Shapeways is launching a full-color plastic material, which will allow designers to print moving parts with silimar color resolution to their Full Color Sandstone. "The material has a similar color range to Full Color Sandstone with a durability more comparable to our Strong and Flexible Families." writes Shapeways.

Full Color Plastic products are created by printing binder material and colored ink layer-by-layer onto a bed of plastic powder. For example, the ProJet 4500 3D printer launched by 3D Systems last year delivers full-color durable plastic parts straight out of the printer. The printer uses flexible and strong VisiJet C4 Spectrum plastic materials to deliver strong semi-rigid parts in high-resolution, pantone-like color with a nice surface finish, no post-processing or painting required.

The Full Color Plastic has a rough, grainy feel. It is relatively lightweight and slightly porous. It is currently a pilot material and will initially be only available to a select group of Pilot Designers. "We're rolling this out slower than normal because we want our core community to experiment, touch, play with and explore this new material before we offer to the public and begin managing customer expectations. If we deem it worthy of all your creative shoppers, we will make the material public for all to enjoy." notes Shapeways.

Designers interested in being granted access to this new material can sign up here. The trial price is as follows: $3.00 handling fee + $2.00 per cm3.

Here is Full Color Plastic's design guidelines, you can find out more on Shapeways' material page.

  • Max bounding box 150 x 150 x 150 mm
  • Min bounding box X + Y + Z ≥ 10 mm
  • Min supported wall thickness 0.7 mm thick
  • Min unsupported wall thickness 0.7 mm thick
  • Min supported wires 0.8 mm thick
  • Min unsupported wires 1.6 mm thick
  • Min embossed detail 0.2 mm high & wide
  • Min engraved detail 0.2 mm high & wide
  • Min escape holes 4.0 mm diameter for one escape hole
  • 2.0 mm diameter when there are two or more escape holes
  • Clearance .5mm
  • Interlocking and enclosed parts? Yes
  • Multiple parts per model file? No


Posted in 3D Printing Services

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