Color 3D Printing

There are now a number of processes, and different 3D printing hardware, that enable accurate multicolor 3D printed parts. However, for many years there were only two technologies that could produce full-color parts: binder jetting (color jet from Zcorp/3D Systems) and polyjet (material jetting from Stratasys). Both technologies are based on inkjetting at some level. In binder jetting the inkjetted color is applied on part produced from a powder bed. In polyjet, the resins themselves are colored and jetted. Both technologies have limitations: color jet has to use a rigid and delicate plaster material, which is only ideal for static models, while polyjet uses expensive photoactive resins, which tend to deteriorate over time.3D Systems’ Projet 660 and Stratasys’ J750 have represented (and continue to represent) the standard for color 3D printing.


As of 2019, there are now several more. One key new technology is HP’s multi-jet fusion, which is a mix between binder jetting and powder bed fusion. As such, this is the first technology that is able to produce full-color parts using end-use thermoplastics such as nylon. Competitively priced below $100,000 (and as low as $50,000), HP’s MultiJet 300 and 500 series systems could open up a new range of opportunities as they become more broadly available. Japanese company Mimaki, on the other hand, developed its own high-quality and high-resolution full-color material jetting system using a technological approach more similar to Stratasys’ (however the cost of the system is also similar).


Another new, and much more affordable, approach is based on the evolutions of filament extrusion (material deposition) technology. Rize developed a technology which combines filament extrusion and inketting to produce functional multi-color parts. XYZ printing brought a similar approach to its affordable desktop systems, by applying color through inkjet heads to filament 3D printed parts. Another small company, Mosaic, introduced an accessory which combines different color filaments to obtain the multi-color effect in parts 3D printed using several different 3D printer models.

  • Mimaki Europe will present its latest technologies at Formnext 2021, offering a complete 3D printing solution designed to streamline and optimize 3D model production with increased automation. Featuring Mimaki 3D Print prep Pro cloud-based software service and 3DCS-322 post-processing unit, these new technologies aim to further accelerate the adoption of…

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  • Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Stratasys opened the PolyJet Design and Print Center at their location in Eden Prairie, Minn. The expanded facility is the largest on-demand PolyJet print bureau in North America and centralizes Stratasys Direct’s PolyJet capacity and expertise into one location. The PolyJet Design Center features…

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  • Dream Drops, an Israeli company specializing in custom packaging, worked with Stratasys on the My COVID Hero project, bringing to life the action figures of heroes imagined and drawn by children during the pandemic, using Stratasys full-color polyjet technology My COVID Hero is an international competition organized by Stratasys in…

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  • Wanting to take packaging designs to the next level, the team at Stratasys offered to demonstrate how product designers and engineers could turn photorealistic, digital 3D images into real-life 3D printed models using the J55 3D printer. This is something that hasn’t been done previously, as the capabilities of both…

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  • Ronald van den Broek, will join Marketiger to be at the helm of the company’s next phase of expansion, alongside founder, Maikel de Wit. The full-color 3D printing specialist unveiled a 5-year plan to further expand its offering and accelerate the adoption of full-color 3D applications to the industry. Van…

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  • Stratasys today launched two new PolyJet 3D printers, the Stratasys J35 Pro, and the Stratasys J55 Prime, along with new software solutions for research and packaging prototyping. The company has accelerated its pace of innovation using PolyJet technology as designers and engineers work to bring new and better products to…

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  • The Computer Graphics Group (CGG) from Charles University published an article [1] with a new method for improving full-color 3D printing technology. The new technique results in 3D printer output which achieves a far more accurate match between user input and final object appearance than current commercial software. The method…

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  • Shapeways is teaming with Mimaki to take full-color 3D printing to the next level. The newly offered High Definition Full Color material from Mimaki features one of the most complete offerings with ten million colors, nearly unlimited choices, and versatile post-processing options all driven seamlessly by Shapeways end-to-end digital manufacturing…

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  • After months of preparation, Dutch startup Marketiger moved into their completely renewed color 3D printing factory, the first such facility in the world. From a single Mimaki system In 2019, the firm expanded capacity to five 3DUJ-553’s in 2020. The new factory gave the go for expanding existing productions and…

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  • Shape, color, and gloss are an object’s three most salient visual features. Currently, 3D printers can reproduce shape and color reasonably well. Gloss, however, remains a challenge. That’s because 3D printing hardware isn’t designed to deal with the different viscosities of the varnishes that lend surfaces a glossy or matte…

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