A few months ago, it became really clear to me that the Shapeways community was not satisfied with the quality of Full Color Sandstone. It was clear that something needed to be done, so Nancy and I set out to find better alternatives.
Since the community's feedback was the catalyst for reviewing Full Color Sandstone, we decided to ask for help of some special testers within the community. We reached out to Stony Smith and Magic, and we were excited when they agreed to help. Stony and Magic sent us a couple of their models, which we printed in FCS using 3 different methods. They both wrote up a review comparing the 3 different methods. We are continuously improving and looking into better ways to produce. This time, we are developing by enlisting the help of our community in the research process. Here are the results:
Note on the material processes: The three different prcoesses we printed test models in were as follows
#1 - The same method we've used up until now. XLAForm sealed with wax.
#2 - Models were post-processed with cyanoacrylate (aka superglue), and then finished with wax to improve the strength of the model. This method is less toxic than many superglue-based methods have been in the past.
#3 - Same as above, but without the wax. (pictured above, furthest bead to the right)
Here's Magic's review of these processes:
I was very excited when I received the Happy Event Beads to see how Shapeways could improve the finish of the Full Color Sandstone.
At the first glance, I was not disappointed by the result: the images were brighter and more accurate.
The previous finish had three main drawbacks.
First, the white was not really white, but rather yellowish. That could give the feeling that the model was not very clean or was quite old.
Second, the colors were very dark, darker than the original picture and as a consequence it was difficult the distinguish the hues of the darkest ones: a dark blue could be confused with a dark brown for instance.
And finally, you could scratch the surface of the model with your finger nails and this would leave a white mark. This gave the feeling of a bad quality product that was not durable.
But this was the past. With the new finish instead the white is really white. In fact, all the colors are more faithful to the original picture. There is no more problem with the dark colors: you can properly distinguish the hues.
An unexpected consequence of the color enhancement is that the resolution of the image is much better: the accuracy of the details has improved and you can now distinguish some details that were too fuzzy to be seen with the previous finish.
And last but not least, you cannot scratch the model anymore. You can now manipulate it without fear: there is no way to ruin the surface of the model with your fingers.
Overall the enhancement of the finish of the Full Color Sandstone is, according to me, what everybody was expecting: faithful colors, accurate white and durable surface finish. I am convinced that this revamped material will inspire a lot of designers and will be really popular among the Shapeways’ community.
Ratings for #3 Full Color Finish
Whiteness/Color Quality: 9/10
Precision of color (does it bleed?): 9/10
Durability (is it easily scratched/broken?): 9/10
Magic is a France-based 3D designer and an experienced Shapeways shopowner, specializing in original dice, geometrical jewelry and unusual objects with a blend of magic and mathematics. He has a background in engineering and learned 3D modeling specifically to 3D print real-world objects.