high definition full color 3D printing architectural design

In making a 3D model, the designer conceptualizes, creates, and then moves forward to imagine and manipulate their desired objects in space. Initially, concerns over new designs are centered around forming precise structures, moving them, rotating, scaling, and more, in an effort to perfect what will ultimately become quality 3D printed products. The option to add color may come toward the end of the design and ordering process at Shapeways, but is not one to be overlooked—and can be especially beneficial for bringing attention to your business.

High Definition Full Color

Figurines 3D printed in High Definition Full Color material

Color in 3D printing has evolved immensely over the past few years, with materials like High Definition Full Color becoming increasingly enticing due to Mimaki technology, relying on Material Jetting (MJ) with inks mixed directly into the droplets deposited onto the print bed. A staggering 10 million colors are available, produced via specific color profiles for arranging characterization data. For businesses and designers who do not enjoy hand-painting, full color 3D printing on the high-production Mimaki 3DUJ-553 means bidding farewell to countless hours of painstaking effort. For movie production companies and individuals responsible for special effects, full color 3D prints mean saving countless hours in labor.

High Definition Full Color lends unprecedented photorealism to applications like medicine and medical research, producing medical models so robust in color that medical students in training–or even the most experienced surgeons–may feel like they are catching a true glimpse into the human heart or brain. Incredibly detailed architectural models can be made also; for example, real-estate developers can demonstrate their long-term plans much more effectively with 3D printed plans for an entire block of buildings, and accompanying infrastructure. Gaming figurines are extremely popular too, with players going wild for the intense color detail now available for their beloved table-top characters.

Applying color and design details: Amazing shading and contrast are available, and most designers use High Definition Full Color when seeking fine detail with extended options for gradients and textures not previously possible. Thinner walls can be used for more complex designs too, even at a minimum of 1mm. Full-color models produced with High Definition Full Color are available in both standard and matte finish, although some staircasing may be noticeable in hard light conditions. Final parts can be coated too.

Read more about the design guidelines for High Definition Full Color here.

Multi-Color Polyjet

Multi-Color Polyjet is a tried and true technology, available in 500,000 color combinations. Relying on MJ technology with the Stratasys J750 printer, color liquid photopolymer droplets are deposited onto the print bed, and are cured by UV light. Multi-Color Polyjet is recommended for color medical models in terms of pre-visualization for surgeries, and more basic medical models which may not require quite as much intense color detail too.

Multi-Color Polyjet is also helpful in educational settings where vibrant, durable models are needed for visual aids to accompany training courses. This technology is also suitable for a wide range of artistic endeavors and commercial demonstration displays for retail areas too.

Applying color and design details: For Multi-Color Polyjet models, texture maps are required, and color models must be submitted as a single compressed .ZIP file containing a .DAE, .WRL, .X3D, .X3DB, or .X3DV with .PNG, .JPG, or .GIF texture files. Colors appear in the 3D render upon material selection at checkout when color models are uploaded correctly. 

Currently, instant quotes are only available for textured files. Find out more about Multi-Color Polyjet design guidelines here.

Full-Color Sandstone

Coated Full Color Sandstone

Sandstone is used with Binder Jetting technology, imbuing gypsum-based powder with ink to produce bold colors that are perfect for basic miniatures or models used as visual aids. The natural finish offers a rough texture with matte coloring, while the glossy finish is used to bring out color further, as well as providing moisture resistance.

Generally a more basic and economical option, Shapeways often recommends this material for beginners, as well as for use in projects requiring objects with a more natural texture—like models of the solar system, for example.

Applying color and design details: Shapeways also recommends adding hard edges for the most well-defined colors, limiting shading. With sandstone, color is only applied to the surface of the print, which is then coated in a cyanoacrylate solution that adds to the durability of the model and enhances vibrancy of colors. 

With the natural grainy finish, texture is already applied to the outside of sandstone products. This type of finish is often preferred in promoting greater realism for a specific application.

It may be difficult to attain fine detail in larger sandstone parts too. For consistent color and success in printing, models should be hollowed, with a wall thickness around 3mm. Find out more in the design guidelines for full-color sandstone here.

Long-Time Shapeways Customers Center Their Business Around Color 3D Printing

Full color illuminates any new product, and especially when accompanied by advanced solutions—with high standards from Shapeways continuing to result in high-quality production. Beyond the obvious decorative effect though, color invokes powerful emotions in consumers, which means that it also translates to solidifying and identifying a brand. 

Shapeways customers like Hero Forge are a great example: their eight-year collaboration with Shapeways has culminated in a streamlined partnership as customers order full-color miniatures for tabletop gaming with nearly unlimited customization options from the Hero Forge website. Orders are fulfilled through Shapeways—3D printed in High Definition Full Color on Mimaki printers—and shipped out in customized packaging.

It All Begins with that First Upload

Beginning with full color is as easy as creating an account with Shapeways and uploading a 3D model. The automated system checks for printability, and sends an instant quote. Shapeways can also help you find out more about compatibility with materials, fix files that may have typical problems, and offer the option to speak with a professional designer. Enjoy a variety of different ways to optimize your products, with the ability to upload as many as 20 models at once. 

About Shapeways

Enjoy the benefits of this advanced technology and a wide range of materials from Shapeways for 3D printing your creations with accuracy, complex detail, and no minimum or limits in terms of mass customization or single part orders. Shapeways has worked with over 1 million customers in 160 countries to 3D print over 20 million parts! Read about case studies, find out more about Shapeways solutions, and get instant quotes here.