I just found out that Shapeways is offering full color 3D printing using a Zcorp 650 3D printer. This isn’t painted, but rather embedded in the materials (there are binder, powder and five inkjet color cartridges used at print time). Haven’t tried it out yet, but it looks pretty good. The alien here is about $70 and stands 15.5cm high.

full color 3d printing Full color 3D printing

From the Shapeways site:

The process itself works by a printing head incredibly similar to a inkjet printing head depositing a powdered plaster material and also adding color to the print. The material used is a powdered plaster. Traditional issues with the Zcorp process are flaking, lack of structural strength and a ‘washed out’ look.

To combat this lack of strength Shapeways uses a rapid thermoset composites. These add significant strength to the 3D printed parts as compared to traditional Zcorp finishing techniques such as infusion with cyanoacrylate (Super Glue). Additionally a unique machine is also used to apply the composite materials using a resin infusion method. Compared to traditional Zcorp parts the Shapeways Full Color 3D printed models and parts will be stronger and have brighter clearer colors.

Shapeways

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works in CG animation at DisneyToon Studios and writes for Make, Boing Boing, and other places online and in print. You can find him at jpixl.net and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.


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