Category Archives: 3D Printing

A Figurine 3D-Printed in Gray Resin: Meet Father Perkins

Imagine bringing your favorite character from an illustrated book to life in the form of a 3D-printed figure! That’s what happened to Father Perkins, the character dreamt up by the author and illustrator John Herzog. Herzog has a background in animation and has dabbled in filmmaking and screenwriting. He turned one of his characters into a real figure with the help of a 3D designer and the possibilities of 3D printing offered by gray resin. He explains how his story came to life in this interview. Turning a character into a 3D figure: from drawing to 3D print Who is Father Perkins, the main character of this story? “I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. The character has been with me for the last few years and I’m still figuring out exactly who he is. I think Father Perkins is the embodiment of my desire to make the world a better place. That’s the cerebral answer. The basic answer is that he’s a Catholic priest who’s a dog.”   Father Perkins was originally going to be in a weekly webcomic, so John Herzog thought the character would be good to have as a maquette, allowing him to accurately draw the character from all angles. “While the idea has evolved from a webcomic to a children’s book, it’s still great to have the maquette and 3D model of the character. Consistency is something that often plagues illustrators, so this is a wonderful way to ensure that the character remains on model throughout the book”, explained Herzog. When an illustrator meets a 3D designer The illustrator worked with a professional designer for this 3D design and explained why to us: “While I’ve done some modeling in the past, my skills are incredibly lacking. It’s something I definitely want to get better at in the future. But given my inabilities there, I decided to hire my friend and former classmate Garrett Pond to handle modeling the character. Be sure to check out his wonderful work. The guy is brilliant.” The creative process to 3D printing this figurine started with John drawing the character and handing it to Garrett. “And Garrett, being the amazing modeler he is, was able to have a first pass done fairly quickly – just a couple of days.” After this, the usual back-and-forth with revisions and tweaks started. Josh would provide Garrett with drawings of the model and he would adjust accordingly. Garrett also hollowed out the model so that the printing costs would be significantly less.   It’s all about the right 3D printing choices Joh Herzog decided to 3D print with i.materialise for many reasons:  “I settled on using i.materialise to print because of all the characters I saw on the site. I knew that the complexities of the design would be handled with love and care. Needless to say, I’m incredibly happy with the result. The part I was most worried about was the glasses, but they came out looking amazing!” Gray Resin has the perfect qualities for such a project but Herzog also has an aesthetic reason for choosing the material: “I just liked the color. And typically, the maquettes done at major animation studios are done in either tan or gray, which I’ve always liked.” “I settled on using i.materialise to print because of all the characters I saw on the site. I knew that the complexities of the design would be handled with love and care. Needless to say, I’m incredibly happy with the result. The part I was most worried about was the glasses, but they came out looking amazing!” The magic of turning an illustration into 3D printing This is the only character that John Herzog has turned into a 3D figure so far but it won’t be the last. “I’d love to have more of my characters translated to 3D and printed. There’s something truly magical about the process of taking a flat, drawn series of lines and shapes and turning it into a tangible object. It becomes more real somehow. It’s fantastic.” In between design assignments and new books to write and illustrate, and with the time that the illustration classes that he teaches leave him, Herzog is already thinking about a new character to model and print. The funny thing is that this time it will be a cat. There’s something truly magical about the process of taking a flat, drawn series of lines and shapes and turning it into a tangible object. It becomes more real somehow. It’s fantastic.” Meet all the Herzog characters on his website. Do you also have a favorite character that you want to bring to life?  Once your designs are ready, you can upload them to our 3D printing platform to get an instant quote for your prints.  If you also need help from a professional 3D designer, take a look at the 3D designers on this database. 3D printing in gray resin Gray Resin is the perfect material for creating 3D prints with great surface quality and a high level of detail, and it’s ideal for visual models like figurines. The technology behind Gray Resin is Stereolithography, which you can learn more about 3D printing in resin in this article. Gray Resin comes in a natural finish called “Basic”, or it can be spray-painted in different colors by our production team. Don’t forget to read our Design Guides carefully before starting to design your 3D model for this resin.

Polyamide 3D Printing at Its Best: Solving David Pitcher’s 3D-Printed Puzzles

Do you want to learn how to 3D print your own puzzles? Meet designer David Pitcher and get inspired by his inventiveness and his 3D printing expertise. Challenge accepted? Put an industrial designer with a thing for inventions in the active puzzle scene of Boston and you will get amazing designs! After studying at the Rhode Island School for Design and working as a creator on everything from holograms to light fixtures and store displays, David Pitcher never stops creating intricate block puzzles among other inventions. With about 40 patents in his pocket, he explained to us how he uses 3D printing and 3D printing materials like polyamide to create his impossible, 3D-printed puzzle cubes. Discover more in the interview! What inspired you to create puzzles and how did you join this world? I’ve always loved puzzles, and growing up I would modify things like 15 sliding block puzzles and Rubik’s Cubes to try to create different challenges. My first attempt at a custom design was for a 5x5x5 cube, soon after the original Rubik’s Cube came to America in the 80’s. Of course, this was already in the works in Europe at the time, but it was the first example of a design I created from scratch. Unfortunately, that one never got beyond the drawing pad. Have you always 3D printed your designs or have you also used other methods to create puzzles? I was one of the lucky people to have access to 3D printing very early on. I had one of the first printers on the market, a machine made by Sanders Prototype (now Solidscape). It was a very finicky machine, and the parts were fragile, so they had to be cast using urethane and silicone molds, but I was able to make my first custom puzzles with it in the late ‘90s. Of course, it was the advent of readily available SLS 3D printing through web-based services such as i.materialise that really let my creativity take flight.  It was the advent of readily available SLS 3D printing through web-based services such as i.materialise that really let my creativity take flight. Which advantages does 3D printing have for your designs? Twisty puzzle design as we know it today would not be possible without 3D printing. I have always liked to create puzzles that make the player think differently. Often, this means using axis systems that no one has made before, which means the puzzles cannot be a modification of an existing mechanism. This type of puzzle design would be virtually impossible without 3D printing. Of course, the more complex twisty puzzles get, the more essential it is to use 3D printing as well. This type of puzzle design would be virtually impossible without 3D printing. Of course, the more complex twisty puzzles get, the more essential it is to use 3D printing as well. Which 3D design software do you use to design puzzles? I use SolidWorks to design my puzzles since it has several features that seem almost tailor-made for twisty puzzle design. However, it is an expensive program, and there are now some other good lower cost options available for 3D design such as OnShape. But since I already have SolidWorks, I’ll stick with that for now. How does your creative process work for 3D printing puzzles? The hardest part about designing twisty puzzles is coming up with new ideas. I’m always trying to find interesting geometries that will make the solver think in different ways. This means spending a lot of time studying various geometry texts, playing with shapes in SolidWorks, cutting them up, and trying them out. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve been able to find so many new puzzle geometries with interesting properties. Of course, not all of my puzzles rely on new and weird axis systems. Sometimes I make a new puzzle just because I like the aesthetic of it, even if it isn’t particularly difficult to solve. It’s nice to have some simpler puzzles in the catalogue too since not everyone who is fascinated by twisty puzzles is an expert solver. Whatever my reasons for creating a puzzle though, I always try to bring something new to the world. Which is your favorite material to 3D print the puzzles and why? Polyamide (SLS) is definitely my favourite 3D printing material to use since it has properties that are ideal for twisty puzzles. Polyamide (SLS) is very strong, can be dyed black, and you don’t have to worry about support structures since the powder bed takes care of that. Really the only two drawbacks to SLS are the slight “graininess” of the prints and the expense of the process. This is why I’m very excited about new advances in 3D printing, such as the new Polyamide (MJF) process. Of course in the future as 3D printing advances, I’m sure there will be new materials and processes that will allow even more creativity with puzzle design. Polyamide (SLS) is definitely my favourite 3D printing material to use since it has properties that are ideal for twisty puzzles. Polyamide (SLS) is very strong, can be dyed black, and you don’t have to worry about support structures since the powder bed takes care of that. Which advice would you give to someone who wants to start designing and 3D printing puzzles? The best advice I can give is to start small. Try out something not too complicated, even if it is something that already exists. Get feedback from experts by talking about what you’re trying to do and seek advice in places such as the forum at The community of twisty puzzle enthusiasts is very friendly and open to sharing ideas and advice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and put your ideas out there! This way a new designer can avoid a lot of possible mistakes and hopefully create a working puzzle on the first try. After figuring out the best way to make things work, then it’s time to

Fall in love with Multicolor+: Brighter and Stronger 3D Printing in Full Color!

Valentine’s Day is the best time to fall in love. That’s why we’re excited to introduce our new and improved, full-color 3D printing material: Multicolor+. Be the first to try it! Always testing if not developing the latest innovations, we would like to offer you the chance to try out this advanced multicolor 3D printing technology: Mimaki’s UV curable inkjet printing (currently in beta testing). Full-color, UV-curable, 3D inkjet printing creates smooth surfaces with vibrant colors that enhance the value of a finished object. More than colorful 3D printing What does the “+” stand for? Brighter colors: Multicolor+ will make colorful 3D prints more vivid and intense Stronger material: Using plastic instead of plaster, the material is sturdier than before Better surface quality: The building layers of 3D prints are less visible with Multicolor+ Detailed designs: Higher precision than ever, allowing for rich color reproduction Thinner walls: Up to 1 mm walls, enabling the most intricate design Interlocking parts: With Multicolor+ it is possible to print interlocking parts High water resistance: The Multicolor+ material is splash proof plastic Multicolor+ is ideal for decorative parts such as figurines, avatars, or architectural models. Start enjoying the most colorful option for 3D printing by uploading your file here. This higher quality Multicolor+ is a material in beta trial. It will replace the previous ColorJet technology. Bringing 2D color expertise to 3D printing Founded in 1975, Mimaki is a Japanese company specialized in 2D color and inkjet technologies. Leveraging their color printing insights, acquired over several decades, they are able to reproduce the most beautiful, vibrant colors. Over 10 million colors of UV-curable inks are layered via inkjet and hardened with UV light.  Multicolor+ is suitable for 3D-printed figurines and architectural models Some guidelines to get you started with Multicolor+ Maximum size The maximum size for your 3D prints in Multicolor+ is 150 mm x 150 mm x 150mm.  Wall thickness The minimum wall thickness you can use in Multicolor+ is 1mm. However, for larger sections, we advise you to work with a wall thickness of at least 1.5 mm. Hollowing out your model A rule of thumb for hollowing out your models is to maintain a wall thickness of at least 1.5 mm to allow to keep the support material trapped in the model. If you want to go thinner, you will need to make at least two escape holes with a diameter of 10 mm. Moving parts To design interlocking parts, the spacing between surfaces is very important as it will determine the flexibility and bendability of your design. We recommend keeping a minimum space of 0.5 mm between surfaces. The more space you leave, the easier it will be to remove support material. Assembled parts If you intend to assemble different parts, leave at least 0.6mm between them to avoid friction. A perfect fit in the software doesn’t necessarily correspond to a good print. Textures Textures are possible in Multicolor+. Make sure the texture information is included by checking the preview on the ordering page. Should the model appear monochrome or without texture, some information might be missing. To obtain the perfect textured model, please read the design guides for 3D printing in Multicolor+. Embossed and engraved details For engraved text or surface details in Multicolor+ we recommend letters with a minimum line thickness of 0.5 mm and a depth of 0.5 mm. For embossed text and surface details, a line thickness of at least 0.5 mm and a height of at least 0.5 mm is advisable. Discover more about Multicolor+ on our website and 3D print the rainbow! Upload your designs here and fall in love with this advanced color technology. Help us to be the best we can be and let us know what you think about this material in beta trial!

Stratasys and Dassault Systèmes to power Unlimited Tomorrow prosthetics

Continuing our coverage of 3D printing at SOLIDWORKS World 2018, 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys and French software developer Dassault Systèmes have announced that they will be jointly powering Unlimited Tomorrow, a personalized prosthetics startup founded by inventor Easton LaChapelle. As part of the collaboration, Stratasys will provide 3D printing technology to Unlimited Tomorrow, while Dassault […]

Putting the Pedal to the Metal: Metal 3D Printing is Faster than Ever

The good news for metal 3D printing doesn’t stop with our brand new finish for brass – Untreated Brass – because from now on you can also get aluminum and titanium prints in less time! We know that timing matters and that’s why: We have reduced our lead times for aluminum. Your prints will now be shipped as of 12 business days. We are back on track with our titanium lead times. The delays in our lead times are now a thing of the past. The prints will be shipped as of 11 business days. Get an instant quote and estimated shipping date for your aluminum and titanium prints just by uploading your 3D models to our 3D printing platform. You can also read more about aluminum and titanium in this article on metal 3D printing and discover all the possibilities of the technology. Lead times explained What are lead times? The lead times that you can find on our website refer to the timespan between the placement of your online order up until the moment your 3D prints are shipped. The lead time will indicate the date when your prints will be shipped from our premises to your delivery address. Do lead times include weekends? No, lead times are calculated in business days, which means Monday to Friday (with the exception of Belgian public holidays). How are lead times calculated? The lead times or working days needed to print your orders depend on the complexity of the models, the material and the finish of your prints. Read the material pages for the material of your choice to know how much extra time a specific finish will take for your 3D prints to be ready. Are lead times the same as delivery times? No, the lead time is the time we need to print and finish your order. The delivery time is the time it will take for the order to arrive at your address. This will depend on your location and the delivery service that you chose. Are lead times always exact? As we mentioned, there are many factors that can play a role in the printing process of your order. To know the exact estimated shipping date, check the date that will appear when you place your order on our 3D printing platform. (screenshot of estimated shipping date) Which material is faster? We know approximately which materials have faster lead times, but again, the working days needed for a print will depend on the complexity of the design and the finish you choose. In general, you can follow these indications: Material Lead Times Polyamide Priority (SLS) In 48 hours Polyamide (MJF) As of 4 business days Polyamide (SLS) As of 6 business days Silver As of 7 business days Alumide As of 8 business days Rubber-like As of 8 business days Standard Resin As of 8 business days Gray Resin As of 8 business days Mammoth Resin As of 8 business days Transparent Resin As of 8 business days Gold As of 8 business days ABS As of 8 business days High- Detail Resin As of 8 business days Steel As of 10 business days Brass As of 10 business days Bronze As of 10 business days Copper As of 10 business days Titanium As of 11 business days High-Detail Stainless Steel As of 12 business days Aluminum As of 12 business days Take advantage of our reduced lead times for aluminum and titanium! Upload your models to our platform and get an estimated shipping date and an instant quote for your 3D prints.

Just Brass! Introducing Our New Untreated Brass

Brass is an all-time favorite in our metal assortment for 3D printing and it can be finished in so many ways that it is the perfect material to unleash your creativity. Due to popular demand, we wanted to make brass even more affordable and give makers and beginners the opportunity to access this wonderful material. From today onwards, we offer our brass in its original state: Untreated Brass. This new basic brass gives you the opportunity to print your creations in “just brass”, without polishing, coating or plating. This option will be added to the wide range of existing finishes for brass and it brings many advantages. Great vintage look With untreated brass, you can get a vintage look for your jewelry or other 3D printing creations, as it will oxidize over time. The color in its oxidized state can range from brownish to green to almost black. If this is not the effect you are going for, you may want to PU coat your piece to delay the oxidization process. Better surface details Untreated brass models don’t go through post-processing, which means recessed surface areas maintain better quality. This is perfect for small details on your jewelry or miniatures! Print lines may be a bit more visible than with our post-processed brass alternatives, so you may want to polish it afterwards. More affordable This is the most economical option for your 3D prints in brass. The lack of coating or plating makes it the best alternative for 3D prints on a budget, for beginners pushing their creative limits or for test prints with jewelry designs. Brass, the first stop for precious metals Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and is well-known for being a versatile material with a good level of detail. Commonly used for jewelry, small sculptures and miniatures, brass has the shine of gold at a better price! Technology and design guides for brass Brass is 3D printed following a process of wax 3D printing and lost-wax casting. Models are printed with a type of Stereolithography that uses a wax-like resin. Learn more about the 3D printing process behind brass on our website. Before designing for 3D printing in brass, read the design guides of the material carefully to learn all about wall thickness, sizes, hollow models, etc. and to obtain the perfect 3D prints in brass. Other finishes available for brass Our new Untreated Brass is the most basic option for your 3D prints in brass, but we offer many different high-end finishes: Natural PU-Coated Brass Don’t confuse this with our new Untreated Brass. Natural Brass is PU coated, giving the models a smoother and matte finish, but Untreated Brass doesn’t undergo any treatment and will have a shinier, more detailed surface. Yellow Gold-Plated Polish We apply a thin layer of 18K yellow gold plating to your brass model and an extra coat of PU for protection. Red Gold-Plated Polish For this finish, a thin layer of 18K red gold plating is applied to the model, as well as an extra coat of PU for protection.     Black Color-Plated Polish Your brass models can also be finished with an edgy and elegant black finish. Read how it works on our website. Chrome-Plated Polish A good option for car parts and tools. Your brass models are finished with a chrome layer that makes them harder and provides some resistance against corrosion. The finish also has a very elegant aesthetic.   Rhodium-Plated Polish Applying a thin layer of rhodium to the brass model prevents it from getting scratched or tarnished. The color of the finish has a cold, white tone. As you can see, brass is the material to go for basic jewelry prints. If what you want is brass in all its simplicity, 3D print your models in our new Untreated Brass. Upload your models to our 3D printing platform, choose your material and finish and get an instant quote and shipping date for your 3D prints in Untreated Brass.  

The Advantages of Sculpting with 3D Printing: Interview with Sculptor Charles-Eric Gogny

Charles-Eric Gogny is a professional French sculptor who has embraced 3D printing and 3D design from a very early stage. He is fascinated by organic forms and tries to show imaginary representations of the universe and existence through sculpture: everything is movement, metamorphoses, and microcosms meeting macrocosms. This results in chimeric creatures; a mix of human, animal and vegetable. Charles-Eric explained to us how he designs for 3D printing in bronze and polyamide, and how this new way of working has allowed him to continue sculpting even after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  Your artistic formation was very traditional. How did you discover 3D design and 3D printing? I first approached 3D design in the beginning of the 90s, when I collaborated with the company Ex-Machina as a sculptor and modeler for the first films with computer-generated images. At that time, for complex characters, it was preferable to draw a mesh on a real volume and then grab it point by point to get it into the computer. Later on with the development of online printing services, I started 3D printing, obtaining quality results without the need to invest in expensive and delicate equipment. However, until now I have limited myself to smaller, less expensive formats. How has 3D printing changed sculpting and design? Obviously, 3D printing and 3D modelers have changed the sculpture, whether in terms of design or execution. 3D printing offers the ease to produce shape variations, assembly, symmetries, displacement mapping, movements, physical effects, fractals, etc. It also offers the possibility to realize interior volumes. But the amazing thing about 3D printing is the transition from the virtual image to a real object! How is 3D modeling different from sculpting with your hands? Computer modeling seems more intellectual and reflective than manual modeling: one can start from designing with your mind to visualization on the screen by setting parameters. It requires less manual skill and that opens a world of possibilities! There are 3D tools that mimic clay modeling, random parameters, but I miss the touch, the unconscious gesture of the hand. When one works with real volume, the hand perceives the response of the material but on the computer only the eye can perceive the virtual material. The problems posed by sculpting such as storage, space and the weight of materials or armatures, have become problems such as disk-space, file weights, skeleton, mesh cleaning, etc. But what still remains the same is the requirement of knowing how to produce and to choose the shape that we want. How has 3D printing helped you to keep sculpting despite having Parkinson’s disease? Parkinson’s disease hardly allows me to draw freely, nor model clay, plaster or wax. Fortunately, I can still handle the mouse. Today, with 3D printing, I find pleasure in presenting my “views of the mind” in tangible sculptures! And even better, to concretize shapes that I could not have realized or even imagined before! You use Blender and Meshmixer to design your models in 3D. Why did you choose these software programs? These two programs have the great advantage of being free and they are relatively easy to use, well-documented, with many tutorials and add-ons for Blender. Can you give some tips on designing for 3D printing? Sometimes I start from a mental image, or a sketch with a pen, and I look for the tools to realize it. Then, by manipulating the tools of Blender, I sometimes find completely different but interesting shapes to develop. For complex assemblies, with many intricate elements, or if the mesh intersects with itself, Boolean operations are too difficult to perform. In these cases, I use Meshmixer‘s “Make Solid” tool which, at the same time, automatically adjusts walls that are too thin. The offset tool is very useful to locally adjust thickness problems with a gradual transition. Your 3D-printed sculptures are made in bronze or polyamide (SLS). Why do you prefer these 3D printing materials? Do you design differently with each one? Polyamide (SLS) I started by experimenting with white polyamide because of its low cost, the absence of support structure and the possibility of making interior volumes. The mechanical qualities of polyamide allow for a certain elasticity for finer elements. The granular white of natural polyamide has a tendency to drown weak reliefs, which is why I try to attract the eye with the power of the general composition, the game of full and empty lines, or cut effects. I am also trying to define the space with a minimum of materials by providing large, hollowed-out volumes. I like the slight traces of strata on the polyamide prints, they are like the paper grain for watercolor. In the same way, some irregularities of the model appear as welds, or a testimony of the manufacturing history of the object. Bronze I like bronze for its strong and durable appearance, its weight in your hand, and especially its adaptation to almost all shapes. It permits much more detail than polyamide. I use its reflective qualities by multiplying the smaller elements to make it sparkle and give it a precious appearance. I use lines rather than surfaces to define volumes, which helps me occupy more space at a lower cost. Can you give some tips for 3D printing with bronze? For lost wax bronze, I plan some convex surfaces in the design, smooth and without details, to place the sprues, because after removal it will be easier to erase their traces. For the solidity of the piece and to ensure the mold is supplied well during the melting stage, I connect the long thin rods to the main volume. Discover more of Gogny’s work on his website or, even better, visit him in his atelier in Paris. Start sculpting for 3D printing yourself with one of these software programs for sculptors and learn more about all the materials available for your creations. Have a look at other design tips from professional 3D designers and create 3D models perfect for 3D printing.

How to Get the Perfect Transparent Resin 3D Print

What is better than 3D printing in resin? 3D printing in transparent resin! This material from our family of resins is perfect for transparent 3D prints. The models are made using a 3D printing technology called Stereolithography. Want to know more about 3D printing in transparent resin? Read on and learn all our tips and tricks to get the perfect transparent 3D prints. 3D printing in transparent resin This material is made with a liquid transparent resin which can have a slightly blue natural tinge.  The 3D-printed models resulting from the 3D printing process will be hard, strong and transparent of course. The freedom of design is limited, so it’s a very good option for visual models. Apart from the natural finish, the resulting 3D models in transparent resin can be finished in different colors: white, yellow, red, green, blue, grey and black. Just choose your favorite one when you upload your model to our 3D printing platform. How does 3D printing in Stereolithography work If you want to achieve perfect 3D prints in transparent resin, it’s important to understand the technology behind resin printing: Stereolithography. This is a laser-based 3D technology which uses a UV-sensitive liquid resin. The 3D printing process takes places in a large tank where a layer of liquid resin is spread over the build platform. Then, a UV laser beam draws the outline of the 3D design on the surface of the resin hardening the material where it strikes the resin. The model is then lowered and the next layer is drawn directly on top of the previous one. In this way, the 3D model is built up layer by layer from the bottom to the top. A structure to hold the 3D-printed model in place will be automatically created where needed. Design tips for 3D printing in transparent resin Obtaining the perfect 3D print in transparent resin is not always easy. But it’s possible with these design tips: 1.Minimum wall thickness For all 3D prints in Stereolithography, the minimum wall thickness depends on the overall size of the models. You should increase the wall thickness of your 3D print as your design becomes larger in scale. In general, you can follow these proportions: Small object (dimensions underneath 200mm) à 1mm wall thickness Medium-sized object (dimensions between 200mm and 400mm) à 2mm wall thickness Large object (dimensions over 400mm) à 3mm wall thickness  2. Surface quality and orientation  The process of 3D printing with Stereolithography is very important to understand the final result of your 3D prints. Your resin model will be printed layer by layer and this will influence the quality and strength of the surface. Models printed horizontally will show signs of the “staircase” effect; models printed vertically will have a better surface quality. Our team will select the best orientation for surface quality and strength for each model. 3. Hollow your model Hollowing your model is the best way to get cheaper prints and avoid shrinkage issues in the thicker sections. When you hollow your model for 3D printing, our production team will integrate one or more drainage or escape holes that will keep the pressure of the liquid resin at the same level inside and outside your model to prevent deformation. Afterwards, the holes will be used to remove excess resin from inside the model. You can include holes in your design if you want them in a specific part of the model but it’s possible that our team will need to add extra holes depending on the print orientation of the model. 4. Support The process of 3D printing in SLA happens in a tank with liquid resin. For this reason, 3D models need to be attached to the build platform with support structure to prevent them from floating away. This support structure also enables the construction of overhanging elements and is necessary for any model 3D-printed in Stereolithography. Removing support The support of your printed models will be added by our production department but there are some design tips that you can take into account if you want less support structure on your prints (less support ensures a smoother finish). Rule of 30° One good tip to take into account when designing for transparent resin is the rule of 30°. This means that to keep your model in place and prevent it from collapsing while it’s being printed, it will need to be supported if it has sections with angles narrower than 30°. Look at the example on the picture: the bottom of the vase needs support because it has an angle of less than 30°. It can get a bit more complicated: The 30° rule also applies for the inside of 3D models. As you can see, when the interior parts are too narrow, they will also need interior support. As you can imagine, removing interior support is more complicated than removing external support. Read more in our design guides about how we remove support and how you can avoid it for your 3D print in transparent resin. 5.Engraved and embossed details For engraved or embossed details on your 3D prints in transparent resin, we recommend letters with a minimum thickness or depth of 0.5 mm. Other things you should know about 3D printing resin: The maximum dimensions for transparent resin are 2100x700x800mm It’s not possible to print interlocking or enclosed parts The material is not always 100% clear, depending on the wall thickness and design Post-processing at i.materialise is called a “technical finish”. Some build layers and small imperfections might still be visible on the final print A clear varnish is also applied to your model to make it transparent, protecting it from dust and slowing down the discoloration process. We hope that these tips will motivate you to design your first 3D prints in transparent resin. Once your models are ready, upload them to our 3D printing platform and choose the color you want for your prints. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes in your models

3D Printing in Metal: More than Jewelry!

The shine of 3D-printed jewelry can eclipse other 3D-printed metals that could open up options for your next 3D design. Don’t get us wrong, we love 3D-printed jewelry and the amazing jewelry designers we meet but we wouldn’t want you to miss any opportunities to create the best 3D prints possible. Learn more about 3D printing in metal and be amazed by some of our favorite 3D designs in aluminum, titanium, steel or copper. All that glitters is not gold, and that also goes for 3D printing! 3D printing in aluminum This popular metal is great for 3D printing machine parts and it’s commonly used for industrial purposes, but it has so much more to offer. The 3D printing technology that makes aluminum possible is called Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). This is a laser-based technology that uses a high-powdered laser to selectively bind powdered metal together while the machine distributes even layers of metallic powder on top. Models in 3D-printed aluminum will be lightweight and will have a matte grey finish with a rough, less defined surface. Look at this saw wrench by the designer Pekka Salokannel. It’s a good example of a minimalist yet useful and beautiful design printed in aluminum. 3D printing in titanium Though titanium is a great material for 3D printing jewelry, today we want to focus on a project from Studio Droog which caught our attention. This tableware is part of the collection Forgotten Tools, which has digitalized old shapes of tableware. It’s a beautiful project that links the past and the present, bringing forgotten tableware to the present with the help of 3D printing. Titanium was the perfect material for this 3D printing project because it’s a very strong, corrosion-resistant and lightweight material. Like aluminum, the metal parts printed in titanium are as good as machined models. The 3D printing technology behind titanium is also Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). Read more about this technology on our blog. 3D printing in steel Steel is a strong, robust material printed in steel powder and infused with bronze. Another big plus for this material is the wide variety of finishes that it can have. Apart from its natural and polished finishes, which come in grey, the steel can be finished in gold, black or brown. Discover them all on our 3D printing platform! A good example showing these colorful finishes are these chess pieces in different colors. Aren’t they cool? 3D-printed steel is possible by binding together a layer of steel powder with a binding agent. The layer is dried with powerful overhead heaters before a new layer is spread and the process begins again. Once the printing is finished, the build box is placed in a curing oven and the part is sintered. Finally, the design is infused with bronze, replacing the binding agent. Read the material page on our website to understand how this 3D printing material works. 3D printing in high-detail stainless steel High-detail stainless steel steps up the game even more. This material is a great option when you want to achieve the highest resolution and quality of detail for your 3D prints, with an excellent surface quality. High-detail stainless steel is achieved by using a 3D printing technology that binds together layers of ultra-fine grains of stainless steel powder in a precision printer similar to that of an inkjet. After a layer is spread, a special print head deposits a binding agent at specific points. Once the layer is finished and has been dried with a powerful heater, a new layer is spread. The process goes on, layer by layer until the part is created and can be sintered in an oven at 1300°C. Look at the following video and read all about 3D printing in high-detail stainless steel on our website. This metal can be 3D printed in natural unpolished grey or alternatively, you can get a satin or gloss finish. High-detail stainless steel is perfect for 3D printing miniatures or watch parts. Look at the fine details of this figurine by Yarrid Henrad or the Sci-Fi Buts by Garry Lloyd. We can’t get over all those details in such a small 3D-printed model! 3D printing in copper This metal has a reddish color and offers very high thermal and electrical conductivity. After oxidization, it develops a greenish hue. Copper is a very affordable option for 3D printing in metal. The process for 3D printing in copper starts with wax 3D printing and lost-wax casting. The wax is printed using a resin-based type of Stereolithography. Read more about this process on our technology page. Cooper is a robust material and a good electrical conductor. Look at the Bulbman figure: it’s half copper, half electric bulb. Conductors are a good example of an interesting way to use copper. Discover more on our website.  Just like we said, 3D printing in metal has so much more to offer than just jewelry or industrial parts. If you are thinking about 3D printing in metal but you’re not sure which material is the best for your design, read the design guides on our website carefully or order some material samples. Holding a material in your hands is the best way to understand how it feels and weighs. What is your favorite material for metal 3D printing? We also have plenty of information about different materials and 3D printing technologies on our website! When your 3D design for metal is ready, upload it to our online platform and get an instant price quote for your metal 3D prints.    

How 3D Printing in Alumide Really Works

Is it plastic? Is it a metal? Alumide is both at the same time! This 3D printing material combines the design flexibility of polyamide (SLS) with the shine of aluminum. The final 3D prints are polyamide (SLS) models with a metallic-looking surface. It’s your all-time favorite polyamide with a sparkle! Read on if you’ve always wondered how 3D printing in alumide works and how you can get the perfect alumide 3D prints. Adding a Sparkle to Polyamide Alumide is a blend of polyamide (SLS) with aluminum powder. While the polyamide gives alumide the properties of a rigid plastic material, the aluminum in it gives the printed part a matte and metallic-looking surface. Alumide has a high freedom of design and the prints are well-priced, turning it into the perfect material for beginners in 3D printing. This is a suitable material if you need a model with the similar mechanical characteristics of polyamide, combined with a metallic appearance. Alumide can also resist high temperatures and is slightly porous. Alumide prints can have a natural finish, which is matte, grey and sparkly in appearance, or they can be finished with one of the five colors available at i.materialise: Rusty Orange, Brick Red, Moss Green, Sparkly Blue and Asphalt Black. We bet you can’t resist these charming color names! Which one is your favorite? The Technology behind Alumide Alumide is printed with Laser Sintering technology. With this 3D printing technology, a very thin layer of powder is spread on the surface of the powder bed, and a laser successively melts thin lines in the powder that bond together to form the layers of the model. The print chamber is heated to just below the melting point of the powder so at the end of the 3D printing process, you’ll have a big block of heated powder with the printed model inside. After the cool-down period, the last steps of the printing process will be digging up the parts inside the block of powder, removing the loose powder from the parts and cleaning the 3D-printed models. At this point, the alumide parts are ready if you chose a natural finish. The process of dyeing the part in colorful finishes is done afterwards. A picture (or a video) is worth a thousand words! Watch this video to understand how Laser Sintering works. 3D Design Tips for Alumide  When designing for 3D printing there are some design tips that you should consider in order to get a flawless 3D print in alumide. Wall thickness: The minimum distance between one surface of the model and the opposite sheer surface must be at least 1mm for alumide. Thinner walls would make your model too fragile for the 3D printing process. Maximum size: Models in alumide can be 650x330x560mm when choosing a natural finish, and 270x150x150mm for dyed models. Interlocking or enclosed parts: When printing in alumide it’s possible to print chains or interlinking parts. The space between the rings should be at least 0.4mm. Warping: During the 3D printing process, alumide is exposed to high temperatures. That’s the reason why designing big flat plains for alumide is not a good idea and should be avoided. Models with this design are subject to warping during the 3D printing process. Embossed and engraved details: Embossed letters on alumide parts should have a thickness of at least 1mm, a depth of 1.5 mm and an overall height of at least 4.5 mm. Engraved letters should have a minimum line thickness and depth of 0.8mm and an overall height of at least 3mm. Read the Design Guides for Alumide on our website carefully in order to avoid surprises when you order your 3D prints online. 3D Prints in Alumide That We Love The strength and freedom of design offered by alumide and its metallic look turns it into a good option for many 3D-printed options: gadgets, decorative items, cases or jewelry.     Do you want to explore the potential of alumide? Get a real look and feel for this 3D printing material and its different finishes by ordering one of our alumide sample kits! When your files are ready, upload them to the i.materialise 3D printing platform and get an instant price quote for your model!