Formlabs Brings Color to SLA 3D Printing

Formlabs Brings Color to SLA 3D Printing
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on December 06, 2017 | 210 views

Color may not be essential for the function of parts, but it can differentiate parts more clearly and, let’s face it, color makes life more lively. For that reason, there are a number of efforts underway to bring color to various 3D printing technologies, from HP’s Multi Jet Fusion to Mcor’s ARKe 3D printer. Most recently, XYZprinting introduced the da Vinci Color, the first fused filament fabrication 3D printer capable of printing full color parts.

Parts printed with Formlabs’ experimental Color Kit. (Image courtesy of Formlabs.)

Parts printed with Formlabs’ experimental Color Kit. (Image courtesy of Formlabs.)

Not all 3D printing technologies, such as selective laser sintering (SLS) and stereolithography (SLA), are as receptive to printing in color, however. That hasn’t stopped companies from trying. EOS is working on new dying processes to bring color to SLS, for instance, and, now, Formlabs has released a kit that makes it possible to 3D print SLA parts in color, as well.

Formlabs Color Kit is made up of a Color Base resin cartridge and five bottles of Color Pigment in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black and White. Following along with the Recipe Book (featuring 16 color recipes)included in the kit, users can measure out different CMYBW colors with the kit’sset of syringes. The materials are then mixed with the base material to create a full cartridge of mixed color.

Formlabs elaborates on the benefits of using color in a blogpost detailing the Color Kit: “Color helps us understand the world around us. Color can indicate which parts of a product to touch or use, direct our eyes, create contrast or cohesion, and connect a product to a particular brand family. Color can elicit emotion and shift interpretations. Formlabs’ materials science team selects colors for functional materials, like our Engineering and Dental Resins, for differentiation and to optimize for their respective material properties. These properties are essential for functional parts and works-like prototypes.”

Like Formlabs’ ceramic resin, this is a Form X product—that is, a product that might not be as easily printable without some tinkering as the other materials offered by Formlabs. Nevertheless, it’s an exciting addition the company’s material lineup and demonstrates the potential for SLA. What’s next for Form X? Maybe metals?

To learn more about the Color Kit, read the product announcement.

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