Why Businesses Need to Get Ready for 3D Printing

3d-printing-technology

We’d like to thank Andy Bell for contributing this guest blog post!

3D printing has finally become an integral part of society and the manufacturing industry. Several years ago, 3D printing was just an idea, but it was a powerful idea. The thought of being able to print whatever you want in many sizes was exciting. People weren’t sure how that would work considering that it’s never been done before. The whole concept of 3D printing is astonishing: Pick a design, edit it and print it! You can even make your designs in 3D modeling computer programs which are great for people who want to have unique items around them. However, 3D printers aren’t cheap. My school’s 3D printer cost around $5.000 which is not affordable for regular people. However, some cheap, home variants cost around ~$500.

So how can businesses benefit from 3D printers? Well, imagine being able to 3D print anything you want and use it as promotional material. This is exactly how you can use 3D printers to your advantage. Let’s expand a bit.

Fast-growing market

When you look at the industry objectively, you’ll notice that 3D printing has made quite an advancement. Thanks to the way it works and the many possibilities that 3D printing offers, the market for it keep growing. And it’s growing extremely fast! Many businesses are now turning towards 3D printing to take care of specific needs. For example, game companies have started utilizing the flexibility of 3D printing to offer collector’s items to fans. You can find special editions of some games that contain a 3D printed item. In the end, this sort of thing is good for the industry as 3D printing will keep getting more and more popular and useful. Also, if you have an increased production of 3D printers, you also have lower prices for them.

Most affordable and easiest way to get started

In all honesty, you might want to consider starting small. Wasting a lot of money for a big, powerful printer can cause an effect opposite of what you wanted. Start out small! Smaller printers are fairly cheap when your business doesn’t have a lot of capital, and you’ll be able to pay off the cost relatively soon. Alternatively, you can rely on a 3D Print Service Bereau to get into the game, and see if 3D Printing works for you. Once you purchase the printer, don’t rush into it. Carefully learn how it works and what its capabilities are. Any wrong move may cause damage to the printer or yourself. Once it’s all set up, plan exactly what you want to print, how many times, and for what purpose. When you have the answer to all of these questions, you’ll be ready to start printing!

3D print promotional goods for creative advertising campaigns

This is where the power of 3D printing becomes most useful when it comes to businesses. With a 3D printer, you’ll be able to create amazing and creative advertising campaigns that will surely lead to customers becoming more interested in your business. You can gain this effect no matter what you come up with, as long as it’s creative, it’s helpful and useful! Think of how many things you’ll be able to make that are directly related to your business. No one likes lazy advertisements that make absolutely no sense, and lately, we haven’t been seeing a lot of good ones. Be different and consider 3D printing!

3D modeling and design service

Consider the following: You have a relatively large customer base. One day, a customer writes you an E-mail asking if you could 3D print something for them. You don’t specialize in 3D printing, and your business isn’t centred around it, but you still have a 3D printer for advertising. However, you are able to use this printer and charge a very small fee to the customer for 3D printing something they want. Hence, you make the customer happy, and you earn a bit more money. This is the reason why 3D printing is so popular! It’s versatile and can be used in many different situations.

-Andy Bell @ www.toronto3dprinting.com

Objex Unlimited - Happy Holidays!

Objex Unlimited 2016 Year-End Review!

First and foremost, on behalf of the entire Objex Unlimited team, we want to take this opportunity to thank you! 

We know without our supporters, customers, clients, and partners… we wouldn’t be here today. Thank you for making everything we do possible, and helping us to grow to better serve 3D Technologies to the Toronto area, and across Canada.

From all of us at Objex Unlimited, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

With 2016 coming to a close, it’s time to take a look at some of the amazing creations made possible by 3D Printing.


The Selftraits Booth at Ideacity! Along with a 3D Printing-centered talk by Steve Cory

Lots of Fossils, Paintings and Art made by Objex Unlimited’s very own Courtney Link and Kira Embree!

President Steve Cory showing off his badass new ride

Who could forget “the big finger”?

Objex Unlimited President, Steve Cory, Talks 3D Printing with Amber Mac

hubs.ly/H01LgFz0

Spotted creeping on a perch near you… the Objex Unlimited Lizard Army.

We saw Brendon McNaughton bring his art to life with the help  Objex Unlimited’s 3D Print capabilities

We saw the release of the amazingly powerful yet cost effective ProJet MJP 2500

Markforged Announces the New Mark X

Selftraits at the Canadian National Exhibition 2016!

Check out lot’s more “Front Page” Stories on our Objex Unlimited Blog!

Here’s to another great year in 2017!

About Objex Unlimited

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged, Formlabs, Afinia and LMI Technologies.

The new Markforged Mark X 3D Printer

Markforged Announces the Mark X – The Biggest and Most Precise Carbon Fiber 3D Printer

The Mark X Brings First-Ever Combination of Strength, Precision, Quality, and Beauty for Industrial, Automotive, Functional Prototyping, Robotic, and Prosthetic Applications. CAMBRIDGE, MA (PRWEB) OCTOBER 04, 2016 – Published originally on www.prweb.com Markforged is excited to announce the launch of the industry’s most powerful fiber composite 3D printer, the Mark X. In addition to a large print […]

724-wf-2a9a7a05-1bfa-48d2-8410-8479086dcd8a-25

Markforged Announces Onyx – Their most advanced material yet

Markforged announced today the immediate release of Onyx–the most advanced material for Markforged yet–available to all Mark Two Enterprise users. The Onyx material is made up of chopped carbon, and is the first alternative to the base Nylon material. Before all users needed to print with Nylon and reinforce with one of the four fiber materials (Carbon Fiber, Kevlar, Fiberglass, and High-Strength High Temperature Fiberglass). Now users have the choice to print in either Nylon or Onyx and reinforce either with continuous fiber filament (CFF).

The new Nylon material delivers high-performance, finished parts:

  • Embedded carbon enhances performance: Dispersed micro-fibers drive excellent rigidity, dimensional stability, and environmental resistance in parts for rugged use.
  • Cut post-processing out of your process: Onyx parts can be used right off the build plate.
  • Remarkable surface quality: Onyx delivers a stunning matte black finish.

“After hundreds of broken beams and countless reformulations, we’ve created a new material that raises the standard for strength and accuracy,” remarked Markforged’s Chief Scientist Tony Gozdz, “Onyx has more than three times the stiffness of ordinary nylons, and with a heat deflection temperature of 145C, Onyx is perfectly suited for vehicles, machinery, and automation equipment.”

1448-wf-cb133196-b187-4d24-85d4-ca83a3bb38d8-17


Onyx’s dispersed micro-fiber is fully compatible with Markforged’s suite of continuous carbon, Kevlar, and glass fibers – both Onyx nylon and Markforged Standard nylon can achieve part strength comparable with metal.

Here’s what people have been saying:

Revolutionary Material

“Now, all of a sudden, you can get great engineering materials, with the properties that you would want in finished products, and that’s really going to be a game changer,” said Carl Bass, Autodesk Chief Executive (and well-known workshop addict). Mr. Bass was the first person to get his hands on Onyx, and immediately put it to use developing parts for his autonomous go-kart.

Industrial Strength

“The new material from Markforged is a critical component of our design process. This material allows us to turn a prototype into a functional part in hours. While the majority of conventional polymers cannot survive as a production part in our manufacturing environment, this new material is thriving. Markforged has developed a material that takes additive manufacturing one step further,” said Rodney Everett, Automation Technician at Dixon Valve Company, a worldwide leader in couplings and fittings.

1448-wf-44d80544-45ad-4bc7-b4ef-a71cdf017453-26

Finished Products

“It’s a stiffer material, the edges are true…parts look better and they fit together better. I think we’re going to never look back with this new material… it’s helping us make parts that are direct sale to market,” declared Alan Rencher of Media Blackout, a specialist in customized professional video equipment.

Battle Tested

“This material is fantastic… my team and I are impressed,” said Jamison Go of fighting robot Team SawBlaze. “The dragon head functions as a protective cover and aesthetic. We expect this part to take a lot of abuse, which attests to the confidence we have in this material.”

Team SawBlaze and Team Overhaul, each sporting Onyx and other Markforged reinforced parts in their massive combat robots, will be appearing in televised competition.

Onyx is available on Markforged’s Mark Two Enterprise Kit. The Enterprise Kit includes:

  • A wear-resistant print head that enables the 3D printing of advanced new materials such as Onyx and High-Strength, High-Temperature Fiberglass
  • Software features such as single sign-on, two-factor authentication, and an organizational admin portal
  • Early access to future materials

724-wf-f3fddd1d-a9ee-4f26-b94e-284ac96a77cd-23

About Markforged

Markforged’s mission is to bring high strength 3D printing to everyday engineering. Offering the world’s only 3D printing systems capable of automatically reinforcing engineering plastics to aluminum levels of performance and beyond, Markforged enables every business to easily manufacture parts with structural strength right on the desktop. The Mark Two 3D Printer empowers professional users to affordably create workhorse 3D parts that solve real problems, as well as realize reinforced structures never before possible. Markforged technologies are delivered with thoughtful, powerful software designed for collaboration, sharing, and scaling. For more information, visit https://www.Markforged.com (https://www.markforged.com/).

About Objex Unlimited

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged and LMI Technologies.

Sense_Scanner

3D Scanning Basics – A Primer for Turning Real Objects into Digital Files

This article was initially published in the July 2015 Issue of Graphic Arts Magazine.

Whatever your application may be, the one thing you will always need for ANY 3D print is a functional 3D design file. You can design the file from scratch using CAD (or any of the various 3D design software programs), but you’ll quickly discover that this process is labourious and requires a very advanced set of skills. One of the best ways to kick-start your design process is to utilize 3D scanning technologies. Additionally, there are a variety of applications where you can utilize 3D scans for modelling and visualizing in the digital realm. This column will cover some of the 3D Scanning Basics you need while entering this world.

3D scanning uses a device that analyzes a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape, texture and (in some cases) colour. Certain devices are handheld and hover around the object to obtain a collection of snapshots that are stitched together to create a full three-dimensional model. Other devices affix the scanner to a tripod and use a turntable to rotate the object. Some devices are in the form of a chamber or booth, with the object or person positioned in the center as they’re scanned from multiple angles. Finally, there are scanners that can be attached to an aircraft or vehicle to capture entire landscapes. No matter what form a 3D scanner takes, it will give you a huge leg up on developing your design.

LMI 3D HDI Scan

Why use 3D Scanning?

On the most basic level, 3D scanning is a quick and effective way to capture the geometry of an existing object, which will aid in the design of new items and fixtures, applying an extension or new part to an existing geometry, or in reverse engineering applications. If you’re designing a part to be used for some pre-existing device (for example a vehicle, tool or machine), you can quickly capture the dimensions and measurements of a physical object and be confident your parts will fit together on the first try. You can enhance or change an existing part you’ve created, or digitize parts that were built before CAD software became widely used. You’ll see 3D scanning in the field of biometrics, obtaining 3D data for the design of prosthetics and implants, and increasingly used in the field of graphics and VFX, providing digital assets in the creation of 3D animations. 3D scanning is also being used more and more as a means of historical preservation. In fact, many objects from our past which are starting to show the effects of time can be digitally stored and maintained, or replicated through 3D printing. There’s an endless list of possibilities for 3D scanning and new ones are popping up every day.

3D Scanning Technologies

As you’ll soon realize, as with many things in the realm of 3D, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to 3D scanners. So it’s best to figure out your particular needs and choose a scanner that suits your specific application.

Structured Light Scanning. These 3D scanners project a pattern of lights onto an object. The scanner then reads the reflections in the light to analyze curves and bends in the surface of the object. These scanners are flexible to use, good for many applications and safe on human eyes. These are generally a lower cost, but are not optimal on reflective or refractive surfaces.

Laser Scanning. These 3D scanners function similar to Structured Light, except they use lasers instead of a blanket of light. These can be great for precise engineering applications and capturing fine details, but are unsafe for human eyes. Thus they need to be used in a controlled environment.

Photogrammetry. This method uses multiple cameras to capture the object from different angles along with an algorithm that triangulates common points to analyze depth and create a 3D model. It gives you the best colour detail, however is not the most accurate for making precise measurements.

Objex Unlimited President and Founder Steve Cory inside the Selftraits Photogrammetry 3D Scanning Booth

Objex Unlimited President and Founder Steve Cory inside the Selftraits Photogrammetry 3D Scanning Booth

Also worth mentioning are MRI/CAT scans which are used in medical applications to scan inside an individual’s body. And CMM machines – though technically not 3D scanning – use a physical probe to get precise dimensions of an object.

The Artec Eva 3D Scanner

objex_unlimited_artec_eva_1

One of the 3D scanners we often recommend is the Artec Eva handheld Structured Light Scanner. While it won’t be the optimal scanner for every situation, it is certainly one of the most versatile and easy-to-use scanners on the market and is priced very competitively. The Eva doesn’t require markers or calibration. It captures objects quickly in high resolution and vibrant colour at up to 16 frames per second. These frames are aligned automatically in real time, which make scanning easy and fast. Please contact us at Objex Unlimited for a demonstration, or to answer any questions.

 

ArtecProcess


Matt BeloMatthew Belo is a Brand Manager and 3D Solution Specialist Working for Objex Unlimited Inc., Canada’s most diverse 3D Printing Solutions Provider. With a background in Marketing and Sales, Matthew has immersed himself in all things 3D. He focuses on looking for real opportunities that leverage 3D technologies while working to dispel myths and misconceptions associated with the equipment. Graduating from University of Waterloo, Matthew focused his studies on Rhetoric and Professional writing as well as Business and Marketing. Matt loves to discuss topics and issues related to Additive Manufacturing and will gladly answer questions, hear your opinions, and talk shop! He can be reached at matt@objexunlimited.com, or at 416-233-7165.

 

About Objex Unlimited

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged and LMI Technologies.

Objex-ProJet-MJP-2500-Watch-Gear

3D Printed Watch Gear – Outstanding Detail Achieved using ProJet MJP 2500

The ProJet® MJP 2500 is the newest and most affordable addition to the MultiJet line of 3D Printers from 3D Systems. Objex Unlimited has been using it to run all kinds of parts since we’ve received our machine in April, and frankly, have been thrilled with the results. Despite having a slightly lower resolution than it’s big brother–the ProJet MJP 3600 series– we’ve been able to get some outstanding detail from the printer. With a resolution of 800 x 900 x 790 DPI, and 32 µ layers, the ProJet 2500 can put out some extreme detail for an affordable, entry-level professional machine.

The most recent is a 3D Printed Watch Gear. See below for a view under the microscope next to a needle!

 

The ProJet MJP 2500 Series is the latest in 3D Systems’ MultiJet Printing (MJP) line of 3D printers, designed to combine professional grade 3D printing capabilities with an affordable price, an office-friendly footprint and easy part processing, to create functional precision plastic and elastomeric parts. This new MJP family of 3D printers deliver high resolution models, prototypes and injection molded quality parts on-demand.

IMG_20160527_103727

 

Print precision parts right in your office, without compromising part fidelity or accuracy. This new printer family, that includes the ProJet MJP 2500 and ProJet MJP 2500 Plus, is designed to enable a broader range of professionals to create precision parts without leaving their workplace. Each printer in the series is compatible with robust and versatile VisiJet® M2 materials in durable white and black plastic. The ProJet MJP 2500 Plus offers additional material capability with rigid clear plastic, as well as flexible elastomeric black and elastomeric natural with outstanding elongation and full elastic recovery.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROJET MJP 2500

New Call-to-action



 

About Objex Unlimited Inc.

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We strive to be at the forefront of the 3D printing revolution and to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D.Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes. Objex Unlimited is an authorized reseller of 3D Systems, Artec and LMI Technologies.

MF2014_HomeHero_R1_MK1

Introducing the MarkForged Mark Two

We’re excited to announce the next generation in the line of MarkForged industrial strength 3D printers:

The Mark Two

Just like the previous generation “Mark One,” the Mark Two continues to be the perfect Engineer’s Desktop tool. Designed to create strong parts, while maintaining intuitive and reliable operation, the Mark Two introduces some new key features to help push it ahead. The biggest improvements with the Mark Two are:

  1. Fiber reinforcement in features that are 15 times smaller than before.
  2. 40% faster fiber printing process.
  3. Increased print reliability with additional sensors in the print heads.
  4. Many incremental improvements in software, hardware, and materials to enhance the overall experience, and ease-of-use

This all wraps up into a new printer that’s easier to use and prints even stronger parts.

High Strength Universal Ball Joint

High Strength Universal Ball Joint

The MarkForged Vision

Two years ago, MarkForged blew everyone a way when they unveiled the first ever 3D Printer that could produce parts made of Carbon Fiber, Kevlar and Fiberglass at the SolidWorks show. It was the first time ever you could make end-use and workable parts, strong as aluminum (and a fraction of the weight). And, you could get it all in a printer that sits on your desk. MarkForged has a lot of happy customers by offering a one-of-a-kind machine, backed up with rock solid reliability, and the included Eiger software that is designed to be extremely powerful, while remaining intuitive and easy-to-use.

Our Experience

In our year of working with previous generation Mark One 3D Printer, we can certainly vouch for the reliability of this printer. The MarkForged Mark One is known around here as the printer that “just works.” However, bear in mind there are no miracles. Like any 3D printer, part of the operation includes the basic upkeep such as build plate levelling and the occasional calibration to keep things running smoothly.

With the Mark Two, MarkForged is taking things one step further. While the 40% faster fiber print speed is a welcome addition, we never really found the previous generation to be “slow” for an FDM printer. The biggest breakthrough in our eyes being the ability to fit Fiber into areas and features 15 times smaller than the previous generation. We certainly came across parts and fine features that the Mark One simply couldn’t fit fiber into the build, leading to redesign of he model or tricky work-arounds. The new Mark Two fiber printing capabilities eliminate many of the limitations of the previous generation.

MarkForged has managed to take what is already a reliable, well-designed printer, and improved key aspects to really take it to the next level.

 

Mark Two Composite 3D Printer Standard Kit
$5,499.00 USD

  • Mark Two 3D Printer
  • MarkForged software
  • Fiberglass filament sample, 50 cm3 (3.06 in3)
  • Nylon filament, 1000 cm3 (61 in3)
  • 1 x CFF Quick-change nozzle
  • 1 x FFF Quick-change nozzle
  • Carbon Fiber Filament NOT included

Mark Two 3D Printer and Professional Kit
$8,799.00 USD

  • Mark Two Composite 3D Printer.
  • MarkForged software. Premium software support.
  • Kevlar® filament, 100 cm3 (6.1 in3)
  • Carbon fiber filament, 100 cm3 (6.1 in3)
  • Fiberglass filament, 200 cm3 (12.2 in3)
  • Nylon filament, 2000 cm3 (122 in3)
  • 3 x CFF Quick-change nozzle
  • 3 x FFF Quick-change nozzle
  • 1 additional print beds

Mark Two 3D Printer and Enterprise Bundle
$13,499.00 USD

  • Mark Two Composite 3D Printer.
  • MarkForged software. Premium software support.
  • Kevlar® filament, 100 cm3 (6.1 in3)
  • Carbon fiber filament, 100 cm3 (6.1 in3)
  • Fiberglass filament, 100 cm3 (6.1 in3)
  • High Temp Fiberglass 100 cm3 (6.1 in3)
  • Nylon filament, 2000 cm3 (122 in3)
  • 3 x CFF Quick-change nozzle
  • 3 x FFF Quick-change nozzle
  • 1 additional print beds

MarkForged has announced the Enterprise bundle to their lineup of kits. It includes everything above in addition to a few other key features:

  • The enterprise kit allows you to print fiber material with a heat deflection temperature of 140°C. This is especially important for those of you in the aerospace and automotive industries.
  • Single Sign-On: simplifies access control for companies by tying Eiger access to company specific account

  • Optional two-factor authentication for enhanced security: two different types of logins (ex, phone, txt a code to the phone)

  • Early access to new features (we will start releasing features early as preliminary trial, pre-release, test user reaction with enterprise customers first, by couple of weeks or 1-2 months)

  • Company admin portal: gate access to files, what visible for who, controlling user accounts, access, etc.. 

I encourage you to request a demo with Objex Unlimited. The Mark One was a fantastic innovation that delivered a solution no one else can. The Mark Two takes that innovation to the next level. 

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D.Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged and LMI Technologies.

DSC_7797

Printing in Full-colour 3D using ColorJet 3D Printers (CJP)

This article was initially published in the June 2015 Issue of Graphic Arts Magazine.

In this first of several monthly features on 3D printing by Toronto’s Objex Unlimited 3D Print Studio, Brand Manager and Marketing Coordinator Matt Belo explores the fascinating world of 3D ColorJet Printing. These articles are initially written for a Graphics/2D Printing Audience.


ColorJet printing

ColorJet Printing (CJP) is an additive manufacturing process used to create full-colour, photo-realistic 3D models. The range of applications includes concept models, marketing materials, natural models (including humans, animals, geographic/nature images, 3D selfies, etc.), artistic projects and architectural designs, to name a few. These printers are the top choice to print 3D models with stunning realism.

Full Colour 3D Printed Selftrait

Full Colour 3D Printed Selftrait

Colour printing versus full-colour CJP

Many traditional colour 3D Printers operate using multiple print cartridges, each containing a single-colour material. With these printers, the number of cartridges your printer can utilize limits the number of colours in your print. In other words, if you have 5 colour cartridges, your model can contain only 5 different colours. With ColorJet printing, because the colours are mixed in the printer, you can get very complex colouring – including gradients, textures, patterns and skin tones. You can print in full CMYK, giving you millions of colours. The additional benefit is you can apply a ‘texture-map’ to your print, as opposed to breaking your design file into multiple sections and colouring each one manually. Basically, you’re taking a 2D picture and wrapping it around a 3D model. This is the only method to get photo-realistic coloured models.

 

The CJP process

ColorJet Printing Process

ColorJet Printing Process

The ColorJet Printing process involves two primary components: Core™ and Binder material. The Core material can either be a gypsum-based or plastic-based powder. For the first layer, the print bed starts at the highest position in the printer. A roller is used to spread a very thin layer of Core powder across the print bed. Once there is a thin layer powder across the print bed, the printer selectively jets coloured ‘Binder’ material in specific areas where the 3D model is being built to solidify the Core material. The different coloured Binder materials are mixed together to produce millions of colours – in the same way a 2D Printer combines ink. Once the Binder is applied, the process repeats, spreading across a new layer of Core material and using Binder to attach that material to the layer below. After several thousand layers (depending on the size of the model), the end result is a full-colour, three-dimensional model.

 

The finishing process

Due to the nature of the colour printing process, when your print is done you’ll have to extract the finished part from a bed of unused Core material powder. The benefit of this is that the models are self-supporting – the unused core material remains in the print bed supporting any overhangs within your print,

A part being sanded after coming off the ProJet 660Pro

A part being sanded after coming off the ProJet 660Pro

eliminating the need for any support material. In their unfinished state, the models are extremely fragile, therefore you must extract the part from the powder very carefully. Once you have extracted your part, you use air to blow away excess core material (which gets recycled back into the machine), sand your part to get a smooth finish, and then dip it in cyanoacrylate (superglue) to make it stronger.

 

File preparation

Your file needs to follow the general rules of a “Print-ready” 3D file. This means it needs to be completely closed (or watertight) and each of its edges needs to be shared with two polygons. Additionally, with ColorJet printing, it needs to be a certain thickness so that the model can actually support itself in the printer. To save on material costs, ColorJet models are generally hollowed. Most 3D printers use “.stl” files, but with CJP, you need to provide a colour 3D file – generally a .zpr or .wrl file. Anything else must be converted, along with a texture map file (usually .jpeg or other 2D formats) that contains all the complex colour data that will be applied to the 3D model. There is a bit of a learning curve to preparing these files, so I recommended you contact a ColorJet Printer operator to give you advice on preparing your files. Objex Unlimited is happy to share this type of information. Not to toot our own horn, but Objex Unlimited is known for producing some of the best colour models in the world.

3D Systems ProJet 660Pro

3D Systems ProJet 660Pro

ProJet 660Pro

While there are a range of 3D Printers in the ColorJet Printer line, the 660Pro is one of the printers that includes many key features – full CMYK colour, attached model finishing chamber, a faster-than-average print speed, and a larger-sized print bed. It’s also quite affordable when compared to other professional-level 3D printers. However, there is a full range of ColorJet Printers that make up the ProJet x60 series, from the more budget-friendly ProJet 260C, to the large-build area of the ProJet 860Pro. They also have the ProJet 4500, which can print CMY plastic powder, for a more robust model when accurate colour is less of a concern.

 

If you have any further questions on anything 3D related, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Or come visit the studio—at Objex Unlimited, the doors are always open.

 

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged and LMI Technologies.


Matt BeloMatthew Belo is a Brand Manager and 3D Solution Specialist Working for Objex Unlimited Inc., Canada’s most diverse 3D Printing Solutions Provider. With a background in Marketing and Sales, Matthew has immersed himself in all things 3D. He focuses on looking for real opportunities that leverage 3D technologies while working to dispel myths and misconceptions associated with the equipment. Graduating from University of Waterloo, Matthew focused his studies on Rhetoric and Professional writing as well as Business and Marketing. Matt loves to discuss topics and issues related to Additive Manufacturing and will gladly answer questions, hear your opinions, and talk shop! He can be reached at matt@objexunlimited.com, or at 416-233-7165.

Graphic Arts

How to market and sell your 3D Printing services

Originally Published in May 2015 Issue (Vol. 18 | No. 4) of Graphic Arts Magazine. Objex Unlimited worked with closely with Graphic Arts Magazine to write articles catering to a print media and graphic arts crowd to educate about 3D Printing. This is part of that series of articles.

Let’s explore how to market and target customers with your 3D products and 3D Printing services.

3D marketing 101

The challenge with 3D technologies is that they’re “cutting edge.” Only a few firms so far have been true pioneers in using 3D to enhance their brand while communicating the benefits in a concise and value-added way. As a result, many of your customers won’t completely understand the advantages of your new 3D Printing Services, so you’ll need to engage them with examples specific to their needs.

 

The power of samples

Engage your customers with impressive, diverse samples to show them what’s possible using today’s 3D printers and scanners. There are still many misconceptions out there in the world of 3D, so customers can’t be expected to do all the research themselves. It’s your job to show them what’s possible via samples that cater to their needs and particular industry. Don’t explain why 3D Printing can help them – show them!

 

For example, if your customer is in tool and die making, 3D print a jig or a fixture. If your client is an automotive designer, show how they can design and build 3D printed car parts from a 3D scan. Show display companies a 3D-printed booth mock-up. If they’re willing to give you an STL or CAD file for test printing, that’s even better!

 

Make sure the materials you use in your samples are also diverse – wax, rubber, polymers, nylon, carbon fibre, metal, etc. – as well as full-colour options and a variety of plastics and resins. The amount of printable 3D materials is constantly expanding, so the more materials you can show, the more likely one of them will impress.

 

Who should you go after?

The variety of industries using 3D technology may shock you. For example, ever heard of Invisalign? Invisalign uses 3D printers to produce clear, custom orthodontic braces. I recently learned of a detailed, 3D printed prototype of a new sports stadium done for a fraction of its traditional cost of $500,000 – and in less time. One shoe company wanted prototypes of different designs and used 3D Printing to get samples faster and cheaper. Then there was a tool manufacturer that needed 3D samples to ensure that its products fitted comfortably in the hand and that its switches were easily accessible. Get the picture?

 

So what companies should you approach? The answer is just about any business! And never forget about consumers who will be amazed at your 3D prints and other products and novelties. I’d also investigate tradeshows (booth design), display companies (indoor/outdoor, POP), ad agencies (2D artists), industrial and commercial prototyping, packaging, marketing firms, premiums and incentives, etc. There are literally thousands of possible applications that today include aerospace, automotive, consumer products, healthcare, governments, industrial/business machines, education, research, arts, architecture, engineering and so on.

How to demonstrate the value of 3D technologies

While 3D printing is new and exciting, its advantages are the tried-and-true benefits that most businesses want – namely better quality, reduced material and labour costs, faster time to market, maximum flexibility in design and mass customization. Even complex 3D components are generally lighter and, depending on technology and material, stronger and more robust. And the best news of all – you can offer unprecedented cost savings to your clients while still marking up your products substantially.

If you’ve purchased a 3D printer, conduct on-site demonstrations – and have an expert on hand to explain how the machine works. Alternatively, get an expert from the company you’re partnering with to perform demonstrations if you haven’t purchased the equipment yet. People feel more at ease purchasing when they understand the process.

 

What do you need to compete as a 3D print service provider?

Anyone can purchase a consumer-level 3D Plastic Printer and claim to offer “3D Print Services.” For a $2,000 investment you’ll have a box that can jet plastic and produce small, monochrome objects with extremely simple shapes, and not a lot of durability. But if instead you choose to work with an experienced 3D studio, not only will you get access to high-end machines that can print complex geometries, functional parts and full-colour models, you’ll also gain valuable knowledge to properly operate the equipment to achieve best results.

 

Finally, it seems to me that with an experienced 3D printing studio as a partner, you’re limited only by your imagination. Good luck!

 

***

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a full-service 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged and LMI Technologies.