Ever since it was launched last year (and even earlier when its Connex3 predecessor was launched), many of us working in AM have been wondering why Stratasys never fully leveraged the system’s unique voxel-level control 3D printing capabilities to provide widespread services instead of just continuing to focus on just prototyping. Sure, polyjet material durability and costs are an issue but experience has shown that these issues can often be overcome in the AM industry with valid and innovative applications.
Now it seems that time has finally come as Shapeways – the world’s largest 3D printing service and marketplace with more than 10 million products printed – is teaming up with Stratasys to make full-color, multi-material 3D printing more accessible to designers and creators. These new manufacturing services are based on a what can be still be considered the most advanced full-color, multi-material 3D printers: the Stratasys J750.
The most advanced but not the only one, as HP recently introduced its 300/500 MJF systems for multicolor (and eventually multi-material and multi-density) 3D printing. This, incidentally, may have been a key driver in pushing Stratasys to (finally) fully exploit its technology. HP is using the 300/500 systems to focus on protoyping, so Stratasys is leveraging its time advantage to move into production.
Together with Shapeways, the company is now bringing the full potential of the Stratasys J750 3D Printer to a broader market, including customers that otherwise wouldn’t be able to use the technology due to lack of expertise, barriers-to-access, or economics. The Stratasys J750 enables designers and engineers to build highly realistic prototypes with streamlined design-to-prototype workflows – decreasing both time-to-market and time-to-revenue.
“The vivid colors of the Stratasys J750 3D Printer will enable the Shapeways community of designers, businesses, students, and artists to realize their brightest ideas and boldest ambitions in true physical form with full-color, texture mapping and color gradients. It’s exactly what our customers have been asking for,” said Greg Kress, CEO of Shapeways.
Shapeways Stratasys J750 meets Biology
The Stratasys J750 3D Printer offers more than 500,000 color combinations, highly accurate color-matching, transparent to opaque color gradients, and advanced clear material with texture bringing to life even the finest, most delicate details. The PolyJet-driven solution creates parts that look, feel, and operate like finished products. Eliminating requirements for painting, assembly or heavy post-processing, the Stratasys J750 shrinks production cycles thanks to reliable and consistent printing – part-after-part.
Shapeways is perfectly positioned to wrap an entire workflow around Stratasys’ innovation. This includes helping design printable objects that fully utilize the printer’s capability, running the printers at scale, and delivering finished products that are ready to use or sell.
“Since its introduction, the Stratasys J750 has driven transformation across a number of industries,” said Pat Carey, Senior Vice President of Sales North America for Stratasys. “With Shapeways, the unmatched capabilities of the J750 will now be made available to an entirely new community of designers and creators.”
Biologic Models is one of the first Shapeways customers to have access to the Stratasys J750 printer. The company visualizes protein data and 3D prints it as highly detailed models that are millions of times larger than the protein’s actual size. These multi-colored models help explain the nature of health and disease taking place on the molecular landscape and are a useful visual aid for educators explaining the properties of a specific protein.
“J750 is the best of both manufacturing worlds, full-color 3D printing combined with high-quality transparent plastics. This is exactly what my customers want,” says Casey Steffen, Founder and Director of Operations of Biologic Models. “Transparency and color coding are necessary features to create the highest quality and most durable models. The J750 tackles these design and manufacturing challenges head-on.