3D Printed alumide has a space age kinda feel with sparkling aluminium embeded in nylon that looks really cool. But what if it were smooth?
We have been experimenting with getting our Alumide prints as smooth as our polished White Strong and Flexible that we are LOVING in the Shapeways office, but we want to get your opinion on it before we consider introducing it as a material option.
So, let us know what you think? Do you want to feel it for yourself?
What happens to details in the polishing process? I have some things I do in alumide with decorative bolt heads that stick up about 1/16". If the polishing process would give me the pictured finish without munching those types of things this could be my new favorite material.
I am not a fan of standard alumide. Compared to standard WSF, it is more fragile, requiring thicker walls. It also tends to shed tiny metal particles, something that I imagine could be bad for electronics.
Polished alumide at least should eliminate or reduce the metal particles. Still, from the photos it just looks like polished WSF which has been dyed gray. I would prefer to simply dye polished WSF gray ...
Shapeways was so nice as to send me a few test prints the other day.
My opinion was that yes, it's a very nice material, but with a few caveats:
- Printing lines seem to get exaggerated in some areas - you can see it a bit on the PadFoot above.
- In relatively flat areas, there's a chance of seeing lighter and darker spots.
In general, I'd say it's very suitable for intricate parts like the bottom of PadFoot and some of the other designs above, and less so for simple shapes.
The photos really don't do it justice... it's hard to capture the smoothness of the material with the camera but from certain angles it actually is kind of glossy and really does look polished. And you do pick up the metallic aspect of the material so it doesn't look like one of the strong and flexible materials. I really liked it.
Alumide is one of my favorite material for my dice. I can't wait to see them in Polished Alumide!
There is absolutely no comparison between Alumide and Grey Strong and Flexible. Alumide is really unique in the way it catches the light.
I want Polished Alumide!
There will definitely be a difference between the design rules for Alumide and Polished Alumide, but as the current design rules are on the conservative side, expect the design rules for Polished Alumide to be the same as the current rules for Alumide.
And again to emphasize that the pictures don't do enough justice to the product: Yes, you do need to feel it, you'll find it to be a great addition to the materials palette!