Full-color 3D printing technology overview

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Creating multi-color plastic parts is a complex process. In conventional manufacturing, colored parts are created either by a multi-step molding process (e.g., overmolding) or via the post-processing of unicolor parts (e.g., screen printing or manual coloring).
Additive manufacturing has long been limited to unicolor parts. With the introduction of new technologies, such as Multi Jet Fusion or full-color Polyjet, multi-color or full-color parts (i.e., parts with texture and color gradients) became possible. Very recently, color 3D printing became a hot topic in 3D printing when multiple new technologies hit the market, increasing both quality and efficiency.
In this article, we will introduce multiple aspects of full-color 3D printing.

Accuracies and tolerances in 3D printing

With every new generation of machines, additive manufacturing is getting more precise, cheaper and faster. However, tolerance comparable to CNC technologies cannot be achieved yet. In this article, we introduce you to tolerances in 3D printing: what are realistic accuracies and what are the most important factors.

The file format STL and its importance for 3D printing

Even though the STL format is around for about 30 years, it is still the single most important format for 3D printing. An STL (Standard Tessellation Language) serves as an interface between the design file (CAD) and the 3D printer. In this article, we explain the technology behind the file format, what programs to use to open the files and possible alternatives of the STL format.

The best sites to download 3D printable Models

3D modeling is a lot of fun, however, it takes quite some skills to master it. If you are short of time or lack the experience in creating your own 3D printable file, you can check 3D printing databases for existing models. There are plenty of databases for 3D printable models out there, in this article, we introduce you to the most important ones.

The surface quality of 3D printed parts

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The surface properties of industrial 3D printing technologies vary greatly. We provide a short overview for the most important technologies, incl. Ra and Rz values by technology, post processing methods and sample images.

The properties of 3D printed plastic parts

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This article provides an overview over the general properties from parts produced with industrial 3D printers. Learn about the surface properties, mechanic strength, tolerances and other characteristics of additive manufactured plastic parts.

Fluid Tightness of HP Multi Jet Fusion PA 12 Components

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Fluid tightness is an often-discussed topic in 3D printing. While industrially manufactured laser sintering parts are rather porous and therefore often not water tight, HP’s multi jet fusion technology generates parts that are fluid tight without further processing. This article provides an overview of the part characteristics, incl. wall thickness and geometry recommendations.

Overview of the most common 3D printing file formats

There are plenty of file formats for 3D models. A lot of them are native to a specific software (e.g. a CAD program) and cannot be used for any other program. However, there are a few formats, which can be used for the most common 3D programs, as well as for 3D printing. In this article, you will find an overview of popular 3D formats, their applications and the importance for 3D printing.

HP Jet Fusion vs. Laser Sintering

When HP announced the key features of their new 3D printer ‘Multi Jet Fusion 4200’ in 2014, they promised it would introduce a new kind of additive technology, which would print parts that were more accurate and stronger than those produced by FDM and laser sintering printers – and at ten times the speed. Now that the HP Multi Jet Fusion 4200 has been on the market for a few months, it is time to take an in-depth look at the most important characteristics of both technologies and most importantly, at the quality of the 3D printed parts that they are capable of producing.

The influence of layer height in 3D printing quality

All additive technologies (‚3D printing‘) have in common, that objects are build layer by layer. Therefore, one of the major quality parameters is the layer height in 3D printing. The layer height can be as low as a few microns in DLP or Polyjet machines, or several millimeters in large FDM printers. In this article, you will find an overview of the impact on layer height in 3D printing quality, an overview of the layer heights in popular additive technologies and typical cases, where lower layer heights are helpful or unnecessary.