The Mimaki 3D printer is designed for customers where color is the main concern.

Josh Hope, Senior Manager for Digital Imaging and Innovation at Mimaki

3D printing parts in eye-popping full color is a fantastic way to bring attention to a new brand, or refresh an existing one. This is a real possibility now as leading industry partners Shapeways and Mimaki take color 3D printing to the next level with High Definition Full Color and the Mimaki 3DUJ-553, making advanced materials and technology available to customers in all industries.

Mimaki, a strong name in the printing industry for decades—starting off with 2D printers—sold their first Mimaki 3DUJ-553 in 2017, gaining traction in the 3D printing industry right away with their photorealistic, full-color 3D printer capable of reproducing over ten million colors with incredible accuracy. In an interesting twist, while most industry leaders have entered the 3D printing space with knowledge about 3D printing and then adding color to their list of offerings, Mimaki came to the table with extensive knowledge about color, before delving into the realm of 3D.

high definition full color 3D printing architectural design

Following a joint webinar hosted by Shapeways and Mimaki, here are five things you should know about High Definition Full Color and Mimaki technology:

1. 3D printing with High Definition Full Color is performed on the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 via Material Jetting (MJ)

Named with the build volume of 508 x 508 x 305 mm in mind, the 3DUJ-553 is the first 3D printer Mimaki developed and it is still going strong as a flagship, industrial machine. Printing with UV-cured photopolymer resin, the liquid material turns into a solid during the 3D printing process, featuring seven different droplet sizes and four different modes to include High Quality, Standard, High Speed, and a Special Mode.

Color ink, or resin, is jetted onto the print bed of the 3DUJ-553, according to unique color profiles registered by characterization data. Each layer is instantly cured with UV-light, and then leveled with a metal roller. Supports may be required for parts with overhangs, and are easily dissolved in post-processing due to their water-soluble nature, meaning that damage to parts is also prevented. Otherwise, parts are ready to go directly after being printed.

2. Customers have ten million colors to choose from 

In working with Shapeways, that means easy access to advanced technology and materials for which they may not be ready to spend copious amounts of precious business capital—or take the leap to train staff or bring in experts who have the necessary knowledge of additive manufacturing.

“We’re so excited for Shapeways to be able to really pave the path and take a lot of that learning edge off for customers, allowing them to take care of their own design process while Shapeways is able to show them what the output will be,” explains Josh Hope, Senior Manager for Digital Imaging and Innovation at Mimaki.  

While other manufacturers do offer full-color printing in an array of colors, they cannot print anything close to ten million like Mimaki can—and as a special note, that’s exactly how many colors the human eye is capable of sensing.

3. A variety of choices are available for layering and shading

An impressive amount of detail can be reached in areas like defining human facial features in miniatures—from creating a ruddy skin tone to suggesting the beginning of a five o’clock shadow. Color gradients are available in smooth transitions with deep, rich color, and features like over-coating are available in post-processing too.

Dedicated hobbyists and collectors can also bid farewell to hand painting miniatures, and movie and special effects companies no longer have to hire people to do so.

4High Definition Full Color can be used in a wide range of applications

With the ability to use extremely realistic color for medical models and devices, diagnosis, treatment, and educational opportunities are heightened. Extensive architectural models can be made too, along with specialty items like 3D printed props for movies.

One of the most exciting areas where High Definition Full Color and Mimaki technology come together is in the tabletop gaming arena, bringing unprecedented, comprehensive color for miniatures customized by Hero Forge customers, 3D printed by Shapeways, and fulfilled for orders around the world.

Hero Forge 3D printed miniatures

5. The Mimaki DUJ-553 can print in a range of dimensions

For instance, some objects have been printed at nearly 20 inches tall. While there may be considerable focus on 3D printing smaller models for medical purposes, architectural prototypes, or tabletop gaming miniatures, substantial pieces can be manufactured when desired.

“Basically, if it fits in the build chamber, you can print it,” says Hope.

Parts are uniformly durable too. Models 3D printed with High Definition Full Color are strong not only on the inside, but the outside portion featuring color is exactly the same.

“If you were to take one of our color models and cut it in half, what you would see is a mix of white and clear in the center, with color on the outside edge; however, that color on the outside is pigmented resin, so it is the same physical properties as what is building the structure,” says Hope. “We aren’t jetting white and then coloring it—we are actually jetting pigmented resin.”

Customers have the option of ordering their full-color models in either a standard or matte finish. Final parts can be coated, and for hanging requirements or other preferences, hardware-like screws can easily be attached.

Ready to give this material a try?

About Shapeways

Enjoy the benefits of this advanced technology and a wide range of materials from Shapeways for 3D printing your creations with accuracy, complex detail, and no minimum or limits in terms of mass customization or single part orders. Shapeways has worked with over 1 million customers in 160 countries to 3D print over 20 million parts! Read about case studies, find out more about Shapeways solutions, and get instant quotes here.