Yes, that’s right – Shapeways now offers full color 3D printing. They’ve scored a ZCorp 650 3D printer, which provides the color capability. The “Full Color Sandstone” material is able to handle color texture maps.
It’s obviously more work to prepare color models. You must create a texture map in your 3D modelling software for your object, and then export it as a VRML97 or X3D file. Zip it and the texture map images and you’re then able to upload to Shapeways. But we think it’s worth the extra effort.
This is a big change in the 3D print services environment. Now full color printing is available at relatively low cost to practically anyone through Shapeways’ popular print service. In fact they say:
This is our least expensive material and the pricing is $0.99 per Cubic Centimeter ($16.22 per cubic Inch + $ 1.50 start up costs per model, these prices include worldwide shipping)
One can imagine the items being pulled out of their 650 over the next few months.
At the rate Shapeways keeps adding new features, we’re figuring that by end of 2010 Shapeways will offer food printing too. In color.