We took a close look at color 3D prints from Stratasys’ new color system.
Stratasys has more or less taken over the color 3D printing market in the past year or so with their incredible J750 full color 3D printer. While there are upcoming competitors such as Mimaki, it seems that Stratasys is currently the most visible of the players in this niche space within 3D printing.
Even so, Stratasys decided to up their game by improving the color 3D print quality on their equipment. The upgraded system now can access over 500K colors, whereas the original J750 system could hit only 340K.
This may sound like a minor thing, and I thought so too, at least until I saw some print samples in person.
Here we see a gear shift knob. This is an entirely 3D printed object and it looks near perfect.
Here are some 3D printed bottles, again looking highly realistic. I could easily see a manufacturer using this system to test variations in product design with the public. In fact, you must get very close – and touching – these objects in order to realize they are not “real” bottles.
But that’s not all. Stratasys has been tuning their colors for the J750, introducing VeroYellowV and VeroMagentaV materials, which apparently offer “next stage translucency”. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it seems to result in far more realistic looking final prints.
They seem to have done some work tuning their transparent material as well, as you can see in this example of a perfume bottle prototype. No, there is no such thing as Titanium Dioxide perfume, if you’re wondering.
Here is another example, a nail polish display that is entirely 3D printed. If you saw this in person, you would swear that it was not 3D printed. The realism from this machine is now quite incredible.
Another interesting aspect of the new color scheme from Stratasys is that it seems more optically efficient: parts seem to gleam more than they previously had. Perhaps this is due to some exuberant post processing, but it definitely works. Check out this 3D printed reflector, which actually reflects light properly:
Alas, the Stratasys J750 is a pretty expensive machine. But Stratasys now has an answer to that by their introduction of the new J735 machine, which is offered at a lower cost.
The J735 appears to be exactly the same as a J750, because it literally is identical. The only difference is that the J735 is set up by software to have a smaller operational build volume.
It’s likely that Stratasys would offer an easy upgrade if one wished to convert their J735 to a “larger” J750, and they might even to be able to “do” the upgrade over the phone. I suspect some ingenious hackers may attempt the same, good luck.
For larger companies offering colorful or fashion products to the public, it seems that the J750 would be an excellent system to prototype and test products in a visual manner before committing to production.