3D Printing Full Color Plastic: Shapeways Offers it First

Posted by in 3D Modeling

It seems that almost everyone has now seen a 3D printed plastic product. Likely, one made from filament by an extruder, or perhaps for the more 3DP savvy, a product made from nylon powder, selectively laser sintered by us. Regardless of whether it was ABS, PLA, FDM, or SLS, I would be willing to bet it was only one color. In the past, as a Shapeways Designer, you had to choose between the colorful form of our Full Color Sandstone, and unparalleled function of our more durable SLS plastic that can handle moving parts.

Until Now. Meet Shapeways Full Color Plastic!

Success Kid by Ryan Kittleson, Kerbal Jebediah Kerman on IVA by Kerbal Space Program, and Bacon Mobius by Joaquin Baldwin

Success Kid by Ryan Kittleson, Kerbal Jebediah Kerman on IVA by Kerbal Space Program, and Bacon Mobius by Joaquin Baldwin

We are elated to be the first to offer this diverse Full Color Plastic material to our 3D Modeling community. It will initially be released to a select group of Pilot Designers as a part of our Design Pilot with the material. We’re rolling this out slower than normal because we want our core community to experiment, touch, play with and explore this new material before we offer to the public and begin managing customer expectations. If we deem it worthy of all your creative shoppers, we will make the material public for all to enjoy.

The color resolution is similar to Full Color Sandstone, and you’ll have the ability to create moving parts like you can with our Plastics. Signups for this material Pilot have been closed for the time being. You can find out more about Full Color Plastic’s design guidelines on our material page.

What would you like to make or buy in this new material? Does this open new doors for you as a Designer?

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  1. Ittyblox

    Thats awesome, can’t wait to print my current miniature buildings in this new material!

  2. Michael McNeill

    I was actually talking to someone in our community about this over the weekend.

    Action figure heads! I know, we have to have someone design them first, but there are several designs already on Shapeways that would benefit from access to this – basic skin-tone, lips, eyes, and hair add up to 5 colors in one object. If there was a way for the end buyer to select the colors to sit personal taste, that would be great.

    Gaming miniatures – like action figure heads above, but add in clothing, armor, and weapons.

    Vehicle shells – slot cars, railroad rolling stock, spaceships, etc.

    Not all my customers feel comfortable painting what they buy, so the ability to offer a complex item in “pre-painted” options could make a difference in sales.

    1. Savannah Post author

      oooh Michael, the notion of custom color apps is a great idea…

  3. M

    Fantastic! I can’t wait to start playing. A year ago I designed a model that suits full color plastic perfectly. I’ve put a lot of ideas on the back burner because they’re not right for sandstone or a single color in plastic. I’ll be starting on these immediately and all the new ideas rushing in. Thanks Shapeways :)

    1. Savannah Post author

      M, we are so happy to hear that! We know the material has been of great interest to many of our designers- I’m so excited to see what you create! :D

    2. Coach

      What are the design guidelines?

  4. Urbano Rodriguez

    This is a really great news!!! Can’t wait to test this material in some of my models and, for sure, create a new one to be printed in it.

    1. Savannah Post author

      Can’t wait to see what you make, Urbano!

  5. Doug Friend

    I cannot find the design guidelines. Is it the same as strong flexible or polished?

    1. Savannah Post author

      Hi Doug!

      The design guidelines will be up on our materials page shortly. In the mean time, they’re listed in our forum here: http://shpws.me/vwQZ

  6. Shane

    I have also made a few 3D models that are in multiple colors that I would like to print.

    1. Savannah Post author

      Can’t wait to see!

  7. Ariel Yahni

    Is this made on an Objet500 Connex3?

    1. Savannah Post author

      Hi Ariel,

      It’s actually the 3D Systems ProJet 4500

  8. Alex

    WOW! How is this even possible? :D Fantastic! One question: What is meant by “moving parts”? :)

    1. Savannah Post author

      in the same you can create working/moving/assembled/articulated parts in SLS, the powder acts as the support material during the printing process, just leave .5mm clearance :) (Think of the Strandbeest if you need a mental image :)

    1. Savannah Post author

      Hi Michael,

      Yeah, seriously! It is very exciting indeed. You can get the details on the material specs in our forum post: http://shpws.me/vwQZ and on the materials page after the release goes live (this evening or early tomorrow depending on your time zone).

      You should definitely sign up to be one of our Pilot Designers, too! That form is here: http://shpws.me/vwQX

  9. HN

    This is great news! When will this material be available? I just put in an order for a plastic print, but would love it in color!

    1. HN

      Available in less than a day? Perfect, I’ll cancel my current order and wait eagerly to try this out :)

    2. Savannah Post author

      HN, make sure you’ve signed up to be a pilot designer, we’ll be letting in a new batch over the weekend :) (google form link in the blog post)

  10. Wesley Günter

    Ok this is the moment for me to learn how to apply colors to my designs !D

    1. Wesley Günter

      Any chance on a bigger bounding box in the near future ? My Fab Cap design would look super awesome in color :D

    2. Savannah Post author

      Wesley, this is going to be awesome for you and FabMe- I cannot WAIT to see how you put this all together :D I can’t say the bounding box is going to expand anytime soon, but it could some day in the future! Make a kids cap, I bet that will fit ;)

  11. Ryan

    This is great! Which type of 3D printer are you using to make these full-color plastic parts?

    1. Savannah Post author

      Hi Ryan,

      We’re using the 3D Systems Projet 4500 :)

  12. Stephen Best

    Hi Savannah,
    This is brilliant! What file formats will be supported and is it available here in Europe?

  13. April

    *Drools* If this beats the price of Diecast sprint car models, My life would be complete!!

    1. Savannah Post author

      Fingers crossed, April!

  14. Mel

    Aaaand… im starting to add colors to my miniatures

  15. Mark

    Is the ink water resistant or will it wash out like the FC Sandstone?

    1. Mark

      Also, what’s the effective DPI of the printer?

  16. Jeremy Mallin

    I love that Shapeways is continuing to advance the use and development of new materials and technologies. Keep it up. I am a bit leary of the product safety due to the description of full-color plastics shipping with an odor though. Still, if this material leads to the development of even better future materials, I’m all for it, from a learning perspective.

Comments are closed.