Full-color 3D Printing and Scanning has Arrived

Scanning advancements open up opportunities for full-color 3D printing with the ProJet x60 series printers.

With new scanning technology and the capability to render beautifully vibrant-colored models in 3D, and even share those models in our virtual networks, we’ve seen a giant step in mass adaptation.


Motocross Madness
by getprinting3d
on Sketchfab

Quality in, quality out. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover, especially if the cover photo was taken with a webcam! Or printed on a 80’s era color inkjet printer with 16 lb. copy paper for that matter.

The quality of the digital texture mapping data, in other words the color and texture on the surface of the triangulated mesh 3 dimensional model, is key to producing a great 3D print on 3D System’s ProJet x60 series ColorJet printers. There are a couple scenarios for generating color texture mapping on a model. First, CAD designed models can have color added to them in the software. These have a great chance of printing with success because these are usually solid colors that apply to surfaces consistently. Scanned models on the other hand rely on the data that is captured from the scanning device. Of course, because the scan is a digital file, it can, and often is, manipulated to enhance and repair the texture mapping but, again, the better quality going in means less editing time and a more realistic end product.

GetPrinting3D, Rapid Direction’s consumer retail store and ecommerce solution, is employing the latest portable scanning technologies to achieve amazing detail and color results in their 3DYOU products. Previously, with the scanning systems that used a different texture map capturing system, the scans just didn’t have the fine detail, color contrast and saturation. This resulted in so-so color prints, often viewed negatively as a printer issue. I think you’ll agree that after taking a look at the examples below, there is no problem achieving detail with these printers. Better quality in, better quality out. (note: the Motocross sample in the 3D viewing window above is straight from the scan prior to any editing and yes, that’s bonafide trail grind on his boots!)

Finishing is also a very important factor in the process. There are many different finishing methods and it really does depend on what type of part you have and what it’s intended purpose is. Clay pottery artifacts for a museum may only get infiltrated with the hardening agent (the necessary post-processing step) and receive no additional coated, thus retaining the natural sandstone finish that this layered powder process produces. A model Cadillac on the other hand may get infiltrated, epoxy coated and finished-sprayed with an automotive gloss clear coat giving it an ultra-smooth glassy finish. Figurines like those pictured here may get finished using a wax and epoxy combination which smooths out the sand texture and dulls the surface to give it a more natural appearance.

These samples were printed on a ProJet 660 and finished at Bastech, Inc. in Dayton, OH, the parent company of RDI and GP3D.

Please give us a call to discuss the latest and best 3D scanning and true full-color 3D printing solutions that will work for you. Whether you’d like to send your 3D color models to have us print or you are interested in bringing this printing capability in-house with your own machine to create brilliant models for your customers in just a few hours, we’d be glad to help you. 855-504-3833 In the area? Call us and arrange a time to visit our facilities and see the machine first-hand along with plenty more samples.