Buyer`s Guide - Agile Manufacturing Inc.

Buyer`s Guide - Agile Manufacturing Inc.
3D Printer
Buyer’s Guide
For Professional and Production Applications
3D Systems Corporation | 333 Three D Systems Circle | Rock Hill, SC 29730 | USA
Tel: +1 803.326.3900 | www.3dsystems.com | NYSE: DDD
3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
Table of Contents
1
Introduction
3
2
What is the right 3D printer technology
for your application?
4
Concept Models. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Functional Prototypes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Pre-Production Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Digital Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
3
3D Printer Performance Attributes
8
File-to-Finished-Part Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Part Cost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Feature Detail Resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Accuracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Material Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Print Capacity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Color. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
4
Conclusion
19
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
1
Introduction
3D Printing Has Come Of Age
3D Printing is more than just prototyping. Today, 3D Printing offers transformative advantages at every
phase of creation, from initial concept design to production of final products and all steps in between.
Today’s competitive environment makes choosing the right 3D printers for every phase of creation more
important than ever.
Just a few years ago in-house 3D printing was enjoyed by only a few professional design engineers and was
often limited to printing concept models and some prototypes. Once considered a novel luxury, 3D printing
has proven to yield long-term strategic value by enhancing design-to-manufacturing capabilities and
speeding time to market. Today, 3D printing technologies have allowed an ever-growing number of creators,
designers, engineers, physicians, researchers, academics and manufacturers to unleash and multiply the
benefits of rapid in-house 3D printing across the entire creation process.
Leading companies are now using 3D printing to evaluate more concepts in less time to improve
decisions early in product development. As the design process moves forward, technical decisions are
iteratively tested at every step to guide decisions big and small, to achieve improved performance, lower
manufacturing costs, delivering higher quality and more successful product introductions.
In pre-production, 3D printing is enabling faster first article production to support marketing and sales
functions, and early adopter customers. And in final production processes, 3D printing is enabling higher
productivity, increased flexibility, reduced warehouse and other logistics costs, economical customization,
improved quality, reduced product weight, and greater efficiency in a growing number of industries.
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
2
What is the right 3D printer technology
for your application?
Choosing the right 3D printer among the various alternatives may at first seem like a daunting task. There
are significant differences in how each printing technology turns digital data into a solid object. Today’s 3D
printers can use a variety of materials with vast differences in mechanical properties, feature definition, surface
finish, environmental resistance, visual appearance, accuracy and precision, useful life, thermal properties
and more. It is important to first define the primary applications where 3D printing will be used in order to
guide the selection of the right technologies that will provide the greatest positive impact for your business.
This article will highlight some of the common 3D printing applications and outline some key attributes to
consider when selecting a 3D printer.
Concept Models
Concept models improve the early design
decisions that impact every subsequent design and
engineering activity. Selecting the right design path
reduces costly changes later in the development
process and shortens the entire development cycle,
so you get to market sooner. Whether designing
new vehicle components, power tools, electronics,
architectural designs, footwear or toys, 3D printing
is the ideal way to evaluate alternative design
concepts and enable cross-functional input from all
stakeholders so they can make better choices.
For most concept modeling
applications the key performance
attributes to look for in a 3D printer
are print speed, part cost, ease of
use, and life-like print output.
Holding and measuring a printed part offers a better
understanding than viewing a rendering on screen
Cost per
Change
Desired
Change
Count
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
Printed concept models let sales and marketing show a product
before it goes into production
During this early phase of product development,
it is desirable to quickly and affordably evaluate
numerous design alternatives with models that
look and feel like the real thing but do not typically
need to be fully functional. Stakeholders can better
visualize design intent, and they can make faster,
more effective decisions, when they can see and
touch alternative concepts side by side.
Functional Prototypes
As product designs begin to take shape, designers
need to verify and test design elements to ensure
the new product will function as intended. 3D
printing allows design verification to be an iterative
process where designers identify and address
design challenges to spur new inventions or
quickly identify the need for design revisions.
Applications may include form and fit, functional
performance, assembly verification and aerodynamic
testing, to name a few. Verification prototypes
provide real, hands-on feedback to quickly prove
design theories through practical application.
Some 3D printed prototypes so closely match the mechanical
properties of production parts that they can be used for crash
testing and other functional testing
For verification applications, the parts
should provide a true representation
of design performance. Material
characteristics, model accuracy, feature
detail resolution and build volume are
key attributes to consider in choosing a
3D printer for functional verification.
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
Hydroformed sheet metal using a printed punch
Pre-Production Applications
As product development converges on the final
design, attention rapidly turns to manufacturing
start-up. This stage often involves significant
investment in the tooling, jigs and fixtures necessary
to manufacture the new product. At this stage the
supply chain expands with purchase commitments
for the raw material and other required components.
Lead time for these required items can stretch out
time to market, and 3D printing can, in a variety of
ways, reduce the investment risk and shorten the
time cycle for product launch.
Vacuum forming can be done with 3D printed molds for
pre-production or short run production
Pre-production 3D printing applications include
rapid short-run tools, jigs and fixtures, which enable
early production and assembly of final products,
as well as end-use parts and first article functional
products for testing and early customer placements.
At this stage the functional performance of the print materials is critical. Accuracy, precision
and repeatability are also of paramount importance to ensure final product quality is
achieved and manufacturing tooling will not require expensive and time-consuming rework.
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
3D printing is revolutionizing dentistry. Above, a printed wax-up (prosthesis pattern) on a printed dental model,
cast in metal and assembled into partial denture
Digital Manufacturing
Some 3D printing technologies can print virtually
unlimited geometry without the restrictions inherent
in traditional manufacturing methods, thus providing
designers greater design freedom to achieve new
levels of product functionality. Manufacturing costs
are reduced by eliminating time and labor-intensive
production steps, and reducing raw material waste
typical with traditional subtractive manufacturing
techniques.
3D printed components may be end-use parts
or sacrificial production enablers, such as casting
patterns, that streamline production flow. Leading
companies in industries as diverse as jewelry, dental,
medical instruments, automotive, electronics and
aerospace have adopted 3D printing to produce
end-use parts, casting patterns or molds. Doing so
reduces manufacturing costs, increases flexibility,
reduces warehouse costs and logistics, enables
Aircraft air ducting geometry is no longer limited by the means
of production so it can be printed lighter and stronger
greater customization, improves product quality
and performance, reduces product weight, and
shortens production cycle times.
For some medical and dental applications,
materials may need to meet specific
biocompatibility requirements. As well, some
aerospace components need to be compliant with
UL 94 V-0 for flame retardancy.
For manufacturing applications, the key 3D printer attributes are high accuracy, precision
and repeatability, material properties, specialized print materials specifically engineered for
application requirements, part cost, and production capacity.
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
3
3D Printer Performance Attributes
Selection of the right 3D printer is driven by application requirements and matching the key performance
criteria that will provide the best all-around value. Here are specific 3D printer performance attributes
to consider when comparing various 3D printers.
File-to-Finished-Part Speed
Depending on the vendor and the specific 3D
printing technology, file-to-finished-part speed may
mean different things, including build preparation,
print speed, required post-processing and optional
finishing time. The ease-of-use notion is also a factor
with a significant impact on the perceived and actual
speed to obtain finished parts, with different levels
of automation, involving a lower or higher level of
manual labor skills and time.
In most cases, the build preparation can be done
from any workstation on the network. Software
used by desktop and office environment printers
allow a fully automated and fast print job setup
and submission, with automated part placement
within the build area and automatic support
generation when required. Recent remote control
and monitoring applications from tablets and smart
phones further increase productivity and limit down
times, with the same controls as onboard (start and
stop, job queue management, materials monitoring
and diagnostic tools).
Some 3D printers can print multiple parts nested horizontally
and vertically
Production printing technologies offer automated
build preparation tools but also include more
editing tools for the operator to optimize part
placement and orientation, support generation,
layer thickness, material-specific build parameters,
build time, and statistical process control, which
is especially important for manufacturing
applications.
Print speed may be defined as time required for
printing a finite distance in the Z-direction
(i.e., inches or mm per hour in the Z-direction) on a
single print job.
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
This method is usually preferred for 3D printers that
have stable vertical build speeds independent from
the geometry of the parts being printed and/or
independent from the number of parts being printed
in a single print job. 3D Printers with higher vertical
build speeds and little-or-no speed loss due to part
geometry or number of parts in the print job are ideal
for concept modeling, pre-production and digital
manufacturing as they enable the rapid production
of numerous parts in the shortest time period.
Another method to describe print speed is as
time required to print a specific part or to print
a specific part volume. This method is often
used for technologies that quickly print a single,
geometrically simple part, yet they slow down
when additional parts are added to a print job or
when the complexity and/or size of the geometries
increase. The resulting degraded build speed can
slow down the decision-making process and defeat
the purpose of having an in-house 3D printer for
concept modeling or production.
Each 3D printing technology requires a different
level of post-processing once the parts are built.
These post-processing steps can be more or less
automated. Powder-based technologies are usually
the ones requiring the least post-processing as
they only need to be depowdered and no supports
are needed. Some plastic 3D printed parts will
require rinsing, UV post curing and manual support
removal, while others can be post-processed with
automated tools, minimizing labor requirements.
High throughput production of remote control covers
Optional finishing time also needs to be taken into
consideration to fully match application-specific
requirements. It may include infiltration, polishing,
dying and painting to name a few.
For file-to-finished-part speed, look at:
•
•
•
•
•
Build preparation time
Print speed
Required post-processing
Optional finishing time
Level of automation through all steps
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
Part Cost
Part cost is typically expressed in cost per volume,
such as cost per cubic inch or cost per cubic
centimeter. Costs for individual parts can vary
widely even on the same 3D printer depending on
specific part geometry, so be sure to understand if
the part cost provided by a vendor is for a specific
part or a “typical” part that is an average across
a group of different parts. It is often helpful to
calculate part cost based on your own suite of STL
files representing your typical parts to determine
your expected part costs.
In order to properly compare claims made by
various vendors, it is also important to understand
what has, and has not, been included to arrive at
the part cost estimate. While typically excluded
from the part cost calculation, printer amortization,
manual labor cost resulting from amount of time
and different levels of skills required, and facility
requirements should be considered. Some 3D
printer vendors will only include the cost of a
specific volume of the print material that equals the
measured finished part volume. This method does
not adequately present the true cost of the printed
parts as it excludes the support material used, any
waste generated by the print technology, and other
consumables used in the printing process. There
are significant differences in the material efficiency
of various 3D printers, and understanding the
true material consumption is another key factor in
accurately comparing print costs.
Part cost is driven by how much total material a 3D
printer consumes to print a given set of parts and
the price of the materials consumed. The lowest
part costs are typically found with powder-based 3D
printing technologies. Inexpensive gypsum powder
can be used as the base model material that forms
the bulk of the part. Unused powder is continually
recycled in the printer and reused, resulting in part
costs that may be one third to half the price of parts
from other 3D printing technologies. With powderbased technologies using polyamide, another
decisive factor is the recycling/blending with fresh
powder rate that the material allows for without
compromising mechanical properties, feature
resolution and surface detail. The higher the rate of
used powder being blended back in, the lower the
resulting part cost.
Powder-based printing technologies
recycle unused material, resulting in
less waste
Some plastic part technologies use one consumable
material for printing both the part and the supports
needed during the printing process. These
technologies typically produce sparse support
structures that are easily removed, and use less
material. Most single material 3D printers do not
generate significant in-process waste, making them
extremely material efficient and cost effective.
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
Other plastic technologies may use a separate, less
expensive support material that is removed after
printing by melting, dissolving or blasting with highpressure water. These technologies typically use
greater amounts of material to print the supports.
Dissolvable supports may require the use of caustic
chemicals that mandate special handling and disposal
precautions. Water-blasting methods require a water
source and drain that can add to your site preparation
cost. This method is labor intensive and can result in
damage to fine part features, as force is applied to
remove supports.
Also, supports located in hard-to-access cavities may
be stranded and impossible to blast away. The fastest
and most efficient support removal is available with
3D printers using melt-away wax support material.
Melt-away supports can be quickly removed in
batches with a specialized finishing oven that
minimizes labor and eliminates the surface force that
can damage fragile fine features. Also, supports can be
removed from otherwise inaccessible internal cavities,
providing the greatest flexibility to successfully print
complex geometries. Removal of the wax supports
does not require the use of chemicals and the support
wax can be disposed as regular trash, eliminating the
need for special handling.
Be aware that some popular 3D printers blend build
material into the support material during the printing
process to create the supports, thereby increasing
the total cost of materials consumed during the print.
These printers also typically generate greater amounts
of in-process material waste, using more total material
to print the same set of parts.
Test more concepts, produce without tooling costs
To define the part cost, look at:
•
Vendor’s estimate based on your
typical parts
•
Material cost should include
consumption of build and support
materials, waste and other
consumables depending on the
technology
•
Printer amortization, manual labor
cost and facility requirements need to
be considered
•
Recycling rate for powder based
technologies
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
Feature Detail Resolution
Accuracy
One of the most confusing metrics provided on 3D
printers is resolution, and it should be interpreted
carefully. Resolution may be stated in dots per inch
(DPI), Z-layer thickness, pixel size, beam spot size,
bead diameter, etc. While these measurements may
be helpful in comparing resolution within a single 3D
printer type, they are typically not valid comparison
metrics across the spectrum of 3D printing
technologies.
3D printing produces parts additively, layer by
layer, using materials that are processed from
one form to another to create the printed part.
This processing may introduce variables, such as
material shrinkage, that must be compensated
for during the print process to ensure final
part accuracy. Powder-based 3D printers using
binders typically have the least shrink distortion
attributable to the print process and are generally
highly accurate. Plastic 3D printing technologies
typically use heat and/or UV light as energy
sources to process the print materials, adding
additional variables that can impact accuracy.
Compare razor sharp edges and corners definition, round circles,
minimum feature size, sidewall quality and surface smoothness
The best comparisons are provided by visual
inspection of parts produced on different
technologies. Look for razor sharp edge and corner
definition, round circles, minimum feature size,
sidewall quality and surface smoothness. A digital
microscope may be helpful when examining parts,
as these inexpensive devices can magnify and
photograph small features for comparison. When 3D
printers are used for functional testing, it is critical that
the printed parts accurately reflect the design.
To evaluate feature detail
resolution, look at:
•
•
Resolution measurements
Edges, corners, circles, minimum feature
size, sidewall quality and surface
smoothness (visual inspection)
3D scanners can be used
to check printed part
accuracy, which varies
among print
technologies and
materials
Other factors impacting 3D print accuracy include
part size and geometry. Some 3D printers provide
varying levels of print preparation tools for fine
tuning accuracy for specific geometries. Accuracy
claims by manufacturers are usually for specific
measurement test parts and actual results will vary
depending on part geometry, so it is important to
define your application accuracy requirements and
test the 3D printer under consideration using your
specific application geometry.
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
For pre-production and digital manufacturing
applications, precision and repeatability are critical
complementary factors to consider in order to
match the final product quality requirements. The
capability to hit the right accuracy at the first print
is especially important when production batches
involve various geometries, sizes and types of parts.
To match your accuracy
requirements, look at:
•
•
•
Material shrinkage and compensation/
accuracy optimization tools
Part size and geometry impact on
accuracy
Precision and repeatability for
production applications
Material Properties
Understanding the intended applications and the
needed material characteristics is important in
selecting a 3D printer. Each technology has strengths
and weaknesses that need to be factored in. Claims
about number of available materials should be
viewed with caution as that does not guarantee the
available materials will provide the real functional
performance needed. It is vital that printed parts are
tested in the intended application prior to making
a purchase decision. Stability of parts over time and
across various use environments are not discernible
from standard published specifications, and they
may lead to limitations in actual usefulness if not
fully considered and tested.
For concept modeling applications, the actual
physical properties may be less important than part
cost and model appearance. Concept models are
primarily used for visual communication and may
be discarded shortly after being used. Verification
prototypes need to simulate final products and
have functional characteristics that closely resemble
final production materials. Materials used for
direct digital manufacturing need to deliver the
mechanical, thermal and aesthetic requirements
of the product. End-use parts will typically need to
remain stable over longer time periods. For indirect
manufacturing via casting or tooling, materials may
need to be castable or may need to provide high
temperature resistance to perform in application.
Each 3D printing technology is limited to specific
material types. Materials are typically grouped as
plastic, composite, wax, metal, ceramic, and other
non-plastic. Your selection of a 3D printer should
be based on which material categories provide the
best combination of value and application range.
Combining multiple technologies can provide
additional flexibility and expand your addressable
applications beyond what can be achieved with a
single 3D printer. In some cases, the combination of
two less expensive 3D printers may provide more
value than one more expensive system and allow
for greater application range and print capacity,
while staying within a similar investment budget.
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
Plastic materials range from flexible to rigid and
some provide higher temperature resistance.
Clear plastic materials, biocompatible plastics,
castable plastics and bioplastics are also available.
The performance of plastic parts produced on
different technologies varies widely and may not
be apparent from published specifications. Some
3D printers produce parts that will continue to
change properties and dimensions over time or in
varying environmental conditions. For example,
one commonly reported specification used to
indicate heat resistance of a plastic is Heat Distortion
Temperature (HDT). While HDT is one indicator, it
does not predict material usefulness in applications
that exceed the HDT. Some materials may have
rapidly deteriorating functional properties at
temperatures slightly above the stated HDT while
another material may have slow degradation of
properties, thus expanding the temperature range
in which the plastic is useful. Another example is
the effect of moisture on the part. Some 3D printed
plastics are watertight while others are porous,
allowing the part to absorb moisture potentially
causing the part to swell and change dimensions.
Porous parts are typically not suitable for highmoisture applications or pressurized applications
and may require further labor-intensive postprocessing to be useable under those conditions.
Multi-material composite parts, built in one part/one time
Some desktop printers can print with three
different plastic materials within one part. Multimaterial composite 3D printers go much further,
mixing various materials to achieve hundreds or
thousands of unique materials in a single part.
These systems print a precise variety of engineered
plastic or rubber needed within one part, and
at one time, without assembly. The hundreds of
materials variations that are available in a single
build allow engineers to print parts with a varying
degree of flexibility, transparency and colors for
overmolded parts, multi-materials assemblies,
rubber-like components, living hinges and high
temperature testing, for instance.
Stereolithography printers offer an expanded
range of plastic materials that truly offer the
functional performance of ABS, polypropylene and
polycarbonate plastics, as well as castable and hightemperature materials, in a single 3D printer. They
offer easy, fast and affordable material changeovers
allowing one 3D printer to provide a wide range
of addressable plastic applications. When looking
at technologies that claim numerous materials,
pay particular attention to material waste that is
generated during material changeover. Some of
these 3D printers have multiple print heads that
must be fully purged, thus wasting expensive print
materials in the process.
Plastic powder-based technologies generate
true thermoplastic parts in a range of engineered
production plastics like polyamide, glass filled and
heat resistant material, some of them in both black
and white color. With their excellent mechanical
properties and stability over time, laser sintered
parts are widely used for functional testing as well
as direct manufacturing of low to medium runs.
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
Parts can be printed in a variety of ferrous and non-ferrous metals
When looking at metal 3D printing materials that
can typically be used only on specific direct metal
printers, it is important to carefully look at the
particle size of the material as it directly influences
the part denseness as well as the accuracy, surface
quality and feature resolution. The smaller the
material particle size, the better the quality of the
final part. Direct metal 3D printers typically offer
a choice of standard metal alloys and ceramics,
including steel, CrCo, Inconel, Al and Ti alloys.
Other non-plastic materials include gypsum
powder used with a printed binder, resulting in
dense, rigid parts that can be infiltrated to become
very strong. These parts make excellent conceptual
models and provide some limited functional
testing opportunities where flexural properties
are not required. The bright white base material
combined with exclusive full-color printing
capabilities can produce life-like visual models that
do not need additional painting or finishing.
Print Capacity
From the functional prototyping stage, it is critical
to print full-size parts to test product functions in
real conditions, so the build volume is key for realsize parts. Printing several iterations of the same
part at once can also be beneficial to speed the
product development cycle and improve product
quality by testing more design options. The largest
build volume is available with Stereolithography
technology, with a printing length of up to 1500
mm, allowing engineers and designers to print
complete dashboards, for instance.
For 3D printing material properties, look at:
•
Your material properties and materials variety specific application(s) requirements
•
Your part stability requirements over time and in use environment
•
Combination opportunities of multiple technologies/material types for added flexibility and
addressable applications
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
Large format printers can print entire car
dashboards in one piece
In functional testing, it is specifically important to build parts
in one piece. If your part size exceeds your build volume,
there still is the option to join parts. Be aware however that
joining affects part functionality. Mechanical testing on a
joined part will not accurately reflect the performance of a
part that will later be produced in one piece.
With nesting, hundreds of parts
can be printed in a single build,
and each one can be unique
For production, the required print capacity will be defined
by the part size, the production run volume, and the printer’s
ability to make the breadth of parts you need to create. Those
criteria will allow one to select between large build capacity
for highest throughput or several lower build capacity
printers for increased flexibility.
The capability of stacking and nesting parts within the
printer’s build envelop significantly increase the print
capacity to produce more parts at once with longer
unattended operation.
To fulfill your print capacity
requirements, look at:
•
•
•
Part size and/or number of parts/
iterations to print at once
Large build capacity for highest
throughput
Several lower capacity printers for
flexibility
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
Color
Depending on your applications, color may or may
not be important to you, and you’ll require a higher
or lower level of color quality from a 3D printer. If
you are printing conceptual models, architectural
models, figurines, medical models, or artistic
pieces, then clearly color is important to your
models and what you do with them. Designers
typically use color on 3D models to convey the
concept of the final product. These conceptual
models are critical in every design process. When
it comes to color, you want to be able to present
your designs as the final product would look in real
life, not just geometrically.
For basic and full-color 3D printers, just as in the 2D
world, the quality of the color print is determined by
three main factors: the resolution of the printer, the
bits per voxel (or BPV), and the printer’s capability of
dithering (or halftoning). A higher resolution printer
can print more dots per inch (DPI). A printer that can
process more bits per voxel will be able to print more
possible colors. And a printer with the ability to dither
or halftone, as well as variably drop different amounts
of colors into each voxel will allow for gradients and
more discernable colors. When it comes to selecting a
3D printer for color, all of these factors are important,
particularly halftoning since this is the technique that
provides the ability to create photorealistic models.
There are three basic categories of color 3D printer:
•
Color-choice printers that print one to three
colors at a time
•
Basic-color printers that can print a few dozen
colors together in one part
•
Full-spectrum color printers that can print
500,000 to 6 million colors in a single part.
In addition to the number and range of colors that
a given printer can create, technologies differ in
how finely they can print different colors. Some can
print color pixel by pixel, while others must print
color in large blocks or shells.
Color-choice and basic-color printers can represent
different materials or regions in different colors.
Full-spectrum color printers can additionally
apply photos, graphics, logos, textures, text labels,
etc., and can produce models that are difficult to
distinguish from the real product.
The most advanced color printers can print millions
of unique colors in a single part
Once you have selected your color requirements,
you’ll also need to pay attention to the print material
brightness, as the color of an object depends on the
composition of the light shining on it, as well as the
reflective properties of the surface of that object. In
general, the light hitting an object is either reflected
or absorbed due to the properties of that object. The
same is the case of 3D printed parts.
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
Not all color printers are created equal. These photos show the
difference between RGB-Color (left) and 3-Color (right) printing
3D printed objects, and other objects that do not
emit light, use subtractive coloring. In printing
processes, cyan, magenta, and yellow (CMY) are
the subtractive primary colors. In the inkjet printing
industry, a fourth color, black (K), is also typically
used to improve image sharpness. When it comes to
3D color printing, the same subtractive coloring is
used. So you‘ll also need to check how many colors
can be printed on one part and in one build.
High-resolution, full-color 3D printed part
Color-choice and basic-color printers typically
print parts in various plastic materials. Full-spectrum
color printers available today can
print in plastic-gypsum powder or with
paper as a base material.
Full color printed parts can look just like the real thing
For your color needs, look at:
•
•
•
Resolution, bits per voxel, halftoning capability for colored regions or photorealistic result
Print material brightness
Amount of colors printed in one part and in one build
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3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
4
Conclusion
3D printing can offer benefits across the entire creation process from initial concept design to final
manufacturing and all steps in between. Different applications have unique needs and understanding those
application requirements is critical when choosing a 3D printer. Multiple systems may offer broader use
opportunities than a single system. Thus, identifying your unique requirements within your entire design-tomanufacture process will help you select the ideal 3D printing technology and help you optimize the benefits
of 3D printing: shorter time-to-market, improved product performance, streamlined and cost-reduced
manufacturing, and improved product quality and customer satisfaction.
Learn more about 3D Systems at www.3dsystems.com.
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