Objet500 COnnex3
Objet500 Connex3
How to Maximize Multi-Material and Color Possibilities
By Stratasys
Connex™ 3D Printing was a major advancement in additive manufacturing. Launched six years ago, this PolyJet™
technology was the first to offer multi-material 3D printing. A single part, or any collection of parts in a build, can have
as many as 14 distinct material properties ranging from rigid plastic to rubber-like and opaque to transparent.
Connex 3D Printers achieve this by jetting two base model materials, in varying combinations, to build a part.
F O R A 3 D W O R L D TM
White Paper
manager. Connex3 is a single technology for end-to-end prototyping needs in all product development stages.
Connex3 can build as many as 46 material characteristics into
an individual part, assembly or multi-part job. Users select from a
wide range of material properties, colors and opacities.
This 3D printed prototype was built in one job with cyan, magenta and TangoBlack
materials, offering a range of as many as nine colors from blue to purple to
magenta, plus flexible rubber-like components in black.
Although this was groundbreaking, Connex whetted the appetite.
Following its introduction, Digital ABS™, a strong composite mate-
Unmatched by any other 3D printing technology, Connex3 prints
ready-to-use models. It eliminates secondary operations, such
as assembly and painting, all while delivering the same speed,
precision and resolution as its predecessor, Connex.
rial, became available. Yet users saw many more applications on
Trek Bicycle Corporation, one of the first to use an Objet500
the horizon. They wanted more material combinations and more
Connex3, found that the technology improved product performance,
color options.
increased operational efficiency and inspired color applications.
Objet®500 Connex3 answers the call. In another first, it is a
multi-color, multi-material, plastics 3D printer. It achieves this by
jetting a third model material. Combining three base materials dramatically extends the possibilities — rich, vibrant colors and an
For example, Patrick Zeigle, engineering tech, stated that rubberlike overmolded parts now have better durability and stability with
a Digital ABS understructure, and that having three materials in the
3D printer means less unproductive time for material swapping.
expanded material selection.
Connex3 uses a new print block based on the established, proven
Connex design. Stratasys® also added three new base colors to
the material mix — cyan, magenta and yellow. The striking blended color palettes that result mean prototypes look more like off-theshelf products (Figure 1) than their Connex predecessors.
Figure 2: This color model shows finite-element analysis data in 3D.
Seventy-five percent of Trek’s Connex3 parts are Digital ABS with
a Tango (rubber-like material) overmolding. But Zeigle noted that
now that color is available, demand is growing for parts with hues
from the Connex3 color palettes. “We recently color-coded four
versions of a part made in one print job. It was a simple way to
make part identification easy,” Zeigle said. He also cited a bicycle
saddle with color mapping to show a rider’s pressure points
(Figure 2).
Figure 1: The cyan-yellow-white palette produced this hand-mixer prototype.
With Connex3, 3D-printed parts perform well both visually and
functionally. The product realism and enhanced functionality bring
parts to life, satisfying the artist, designer, engineer and product
While multi-color 3D printing isn’t new; it is uncommon. So Connex3
is one of very few to offer this capability. What sets Connex3
apart are the following unique qualities, which users report make
Connex3 parts look just like their injection-molded counterparts.
New combinations: Connex3 combines Digital Materials with a
third choice: color, clear or rubber-like. Since Digital Materials,
like Digital ABS, are a blend of two materials, only a three-basematerial jetting technology offers this capability.
With the third material, Connnex3 can 3D print parts using Digital
ABS (or another Digital Material) plus one other, dissimilar material
(Figure 5). So rubber overmolded parts with Digital ABS are
now possible. The third material also means Digital ABS can be
combined with color accents or clear features.
Figure 3: These interlocking color rings were 3D printed in one job using the cyanmagenta-yellow palette.
• Deep, vibrant colors: The model material contains the color,
which results in great vibrancy (Figure 3). Unlike other
technologies, Connex3 does not rely on saturating a base
material with “ink.”
• Repeatable colors: Throughout a part, and from print job to
print job, colors are consistent and predictable.
• Color throughout: The entire part contains color, not just the
outer surfaces.
• Translucent colors: This 3D printer can mix one or two
base colors with clear material, giving the user a range of
translucency to print items such as tinted lenses and bottles
(Figure 4).
Figure 5: This prototype of an overmolded tool handle combines Digital ABS with
TangoBlack in one print job.
How it Works
The concept is simple; the technology is not.
Connex3 uses a print block containing eight print heads: two for
each material, including supports. This leaves six print heads for
three model materials.
The print heads deposit material droplets in a pre-defined pattern
to create combinations from as many as three base materials.
Those patterns yield Digital Materials, which are more than a
simple blending of base materials.
The palettes
Figure 4: Objet500 Connex3 allows for blending color and clear for translucent
tinted lenses.
Color: As with 2D printing, users load a combination from CMYK,
which stand for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. When desired,
users can also add white or clear.
The ability to use three base materials simultaneously expands
Because Connex3 supports three base materials, users have the
both the number of materials available and the number of
option of using any three of the following: VeroCyan, VeroMagenta,
combinations in an individual part.
VeroYellow, VeroBlackPlus, VeroWhitePlus and VeroClear.
Expanded material offering: Connex3 offers more Digital
These combinations offer 10 color palettes (Figure 6), each with
Materials. For example, there are 12 new combinations that blend
45 or 46 hues.
Digital ABS with rubber-like materials for a hardness range from
Shore A 27 to Shore A 95.
Figure 6: These ten color palettes represent the color-blending capabilities of the Objet500 Connex3. Each side and interior cell is a
specially engineered Digital Material.
Properties: Users select from combinations of rigid, rubber-like
and high-temperature materials. This produces Digital Materials
with wide range of properties.
A single part could have, for example, a sturdy Digital ABS structure
with a soft-touch rubber overmolding. According to Zeigle, “Digital
ABS is superior for overmolding.”
The work flow
The lifeblood of 3D printing, the STL, contains no properties
information. So the approach is to create a CAD model as a multi-
Figure 7: When the user clicks on a shell, Objet Studio software automatically
displays composite material options based on the chosen three base resins.
bodied assembly and export as separate STLs. Zeigle recommends
To do this, users select the three base resins to be loaded in the
creating the individual bodies, or “shells,” with an interference fit,
Connex3. The software calculates the resulting Digital Material
since overlaps create unpredictable blends of Digital Materials and
options and provides a dropdown palette each time the user clicks
gaps will cause the part to separate.
on a shell (Figure 7).
A shell is required for each color or material. In Objet StudioTM
software, users separate the assembly into its discrete shells and
assign a material or color for each.
Color range
In 2D color printing, four base colors are mixed, and the paper
adds a fifth color. That’s how a million hues are possible.
With a three-color system, Connex3 users select from one of
10 palettes for each color print run, each providing 45 or 46
color options.
Digital model
When aesthetics are of utmost importance, maximize glossy mode
by minimizing support material. Split the model so that all pieces
Since white and black appear in different color palettes, users will
avoid support material on cosmetic surfaces. Print each with a
choose between light or dark hues. However, one palette — cyan,
glossy finish. After printing, join the parts.
magenta and yellow — contains a bonus 46th color. It’s a dark
gray that approximates black alongside vibrant, saturated primary
Overlay shell
Add color to Digital ABS and rubber-like parts by overlaying a thin
and secondary colors.
Colors are consistent, and Stratasys has matched them with
corresponding hex and RGB values for convenience and reliability.
shell of opaque or translucent color.
To add color to rubber-like features, a thin coating of a color material
can be applied within the Objet Studio software. A separate shell
for the outer surfaces isn’t needed.
Connex3, like all Objet 3D Printers, has two modes: glossy and
matte finishes. As with any colored object, a glossy finish brings
out the brilliance and vibrancy. That is why Stratasys recommends
the glossy mode.
For Digital ABS, create a separate surface in CAD, which becomes
a shell that can use one of the Vero colors. In the CAD model,
create an overlaying body that will be the exterior surface of the
feature that receives color. Make this skin approximately 1.5 to 3
mm (0.06 to 0.12 in.) thick for best appearance. In Objet Studio,
Early users of Objet500 Connex3 have been working on
techniques to maximize the capabilities. To jump-start a multi-
apply the desired color to this shell.
Transitions and textures
color, multi-material 3D printing operation, here are some of their
When needed for lifelike product appearance, combine Connex3
with a bit of post-print decorating. Treat Connex3 color as the base
and add soft fades or textures with a little air brushing.
Work flow
Post a guide to Digital Materials to make color and property
selection easy. Make it clear that there are specific material
Connex3 provides vibrant multi-color and realistic multi-material
combinations offering reliable color and material-property options.
3D-printed parts without sacrificing the speed, resolution and layer
When providing work instructions to a Connex3 technician, supply
thickness of the original Connex. According to users, they get the
a marked-up drawing or illustration that identifies the Digital
color they need and the material properties they want with all the
Material and color assignments. This becomes the work detail
detail they expect from PolyJet technology.
when processing files in Objet Studio.
It seems easy and obvious, but this is not a simple upgrade. It is a
Another tip is to make the team aware of what palette will be used
significant technology advancement.
in the next print run. This can minimize material changeovers by
aggregating parts using the same palette.
Stratasys | www.stratasys.com | info@stratasys.com
7665 Commerce Way
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
+1 888 480 3548 (US Toll Free)
+1 952 937 3000 (Intl)
+1 952 937 0070 (Fax)
2 Holtzman St.
Science Park, PO Box 2496
Rehovot 76124, Israel
+972 74 745-4000
+972 74 745-5000 (Fax)
ISO 9001:2008 Certified
©2013 Stratasys Ltd. All rights reserved. Stratasys, Stratasys logo, Digital Materials, PolyJet, are trademarks or registered trademarks of Stratasys Ltd. and/
or its subsidiaries or affiliates and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. Fused Deposition Modeling, FDM Technology are trademarks of Stratasys Inc.
Product specifications subject to change without notice. Printed in 2013 and in the USA. SSYS-WP-Connex3 12-13
For more information about Stratasys systems, materials and applications, call 888.480.3548 or visit www.stratasys.com
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF