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.)
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?
The Form 1+ is an award-winning desktop 3D printer, that makes stereolithography (SLA) printing technology accessible to engineers, designers, and artists. The gold-standard in professional 3D-printing, SLA uses a high-performance laser to harden a light-sensitive polymer, creating ultra-detailed parts with a smooth surface finish.
Stereolithography (SLA) technology
Print at 25/50/100 or 200 micron layer thicknesses
Winner of CES 2014 Innovation Award
Comprehensive customer support
Includes Form 1+ 3D Printer, Finish Kit, PreForm software, and 1L of Clear Resin
Pixologic has joined forces with Formlabs to create a software integration between Pixologic’s ZBrush 3D design suite and Formlabs’ dedicated Preform 3D printing software. An upgraded 3D printing plugin will allow users to quickly and easily turn their ZBrush creations into 3D printable models.
Digital sculpting tool ZBrush is used by countless artists, designers and animators to produce complex 3D models. Designs made using ZBrush can be seen in blockbuster movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Godzilla, Jurassic World, and Star Wars Episode VII. The reliability and versatility of the software has also made it a favorite amongst 3D printing enthusiasts, being used to create digital maquettes, prototypes, concepts, jewelry designs, art toys, articulated toys, figurines, statuettes and more.
Thanks to a collaboration between ZBrush developer Pixologic and 3D printing giant Formlabs, the process of turning ZBrush 3D models into 3D prints is about to become a whole lot easier. A new software integration, which features an upgraded 3D printing plugin, will allow users to optimize 3D models for printing on the $3,299 Formlabs Form 2 desktop SLA 3D printer (below), a leading consumer-level machine.
The software integration will allow ZBrush users to seamlessly transfer 3D models from the ZBrush design environment to Formlabs’ Preform software, through which the model can be 3D printed. Formlabs’ new One Click Print functionality makes the 3D printing process faster than ever, with designs ready for the printer in a matter of minutes.
The collaboration with ZBrush is Formlabs’ first ever software integration, and could set a precedent for future collaborations. To accompany the release of the integration, Formlabs will be releasing a set of new tutorials designed to help ZBrush users design printer-friendly 3D models.
The Form 2 SLA 3D printer features a build volume of 145x145x175mm and a layer thickness of 25-100 microns. Various high quality elements such as an automated resin system, unique “peel” mechanism and heated resin tank have made the 3D printer an industry favorite for printing large parts with intricate details. The collaboration with Pixologic gives the SLA community one more reason to choose the Form 2.
The first iteration of ZBrush was released in 1999, and has since garnered a reputation as one of the most advanced and reliable software suites of its kind. Its current version already offers integration with Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, LightWave 3D, Poser Pro, DAZ Studio, EIAS and Modo. For artists new to digital sculpting, Pixologic has made a free trial of ZBrush software available.
The new functionality will be released in early 2016 as a feature within ZBrush. The two companies are yet to announce a firm release date for the software integration, but the process will be demonstrated by both at CES 2016 in Las Vegas, suggesting the plugin is ready to go.