Multiple materials possible in a color model?

Discussion in 'Technologies and Hardware' started by Sevensheaven, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. Sevensheaven
    Sevensheaven New Member

    I was wondering: is it possible to print multicolor models colored by different materials in stead of textures?

    For example, the 3D models in this scene are created using only different materials on selected polygons, no bitmaps:


    Thanks in advance for your answer.
  2. arno
    arno New Member

    Yes, we also support color by using material definition in the vmrl and x3d.

    Kind regards, Arno
  3. Sevensheaven
    Sevensheaven New Member
    Dank je Arno! :)

    Is it necessary to export the model as a VRML or X3D file to make use of multi-material based coloring, or are other 3D formats such as 3ds or Obj supported as well?

    Are there any other guidelines I should follow when preparing my model for multicolor printing?

    Thanks again.
  4. bartv
    bartv New Member
    Hi Sevensheaven,

    I love your cartoons, it's good to see you here!

    We currently only support VRML and X3D for color models. Also keep in mind that these file formats treat 1 unit as 1 meter, so model small. For the rest: if your preview shows it correctly you should be all set.

    If you run into any problems with your project, please get in touch with me:


  5. Sevensheaven
    Sevensheaven New Member
    Many thanks Bart, I'm flattered to read that you know and like my work, much appreciated.

    I will soon prepare and upload my first full-color test model. Can't wait to fully go for Shapeways!

    All the best,

  6. Sevensheaven
    Sevensheaven New Member
    A few more questions, sorry:

    - When I create a model, is it necessary to create an opening somewhere in the model, in order to enable removal of the support material?

    - Is there a minimal wall thickness for a hollow model?

    - If there are only materials with different colors in my VRML97 model, do I still have to pack the model in a Zip file, even if there are no textures?

    - Is setting the units in 3ds Max to meters and then scaling the model to the desired size the right way to ensure the correct 3D print dimensions?

    Thanks again!

    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  7. Sevensheaven
    Sevensheaven New Member

    I've been busy preparing my first full-color model with multiple materials, but after the upload it shows as black, as if the different materials aren't exported along with the model from 3ds Max.

    I've tried the standard VRML97 exporter and the free X3D exporter from Fraunhofer, but both files show up looking all black in the generated Shapeways preview.

    When I check both the VRML97 and X3D file in Notepad, there's only one material entry at the start, no multiple materials, as if the 3ds Max exporters only look at the first material from the multi-material set.

    I've also got the feeling that the price is too high for a hollow model. I guess the model is regarded as a solid volume.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  8. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    If you put up the VRML I'll check it out, or if you don't want everyone to see it you can email it to me at What software are you exporting from? Are you using different materials or different color attributes?
  9. Jettuh
    Jettuh Well-Known Member
    loved your work @!

    hope to see printed models from you soon!
  10. Sevensheaven
    Sevensheaven New Member
    Thanks a lot guys!

    In the mean time I've been experimenting some more and had some correspondence with the Shapeways team, so I guess the solution is very near now. When I'm done I'll post my tips over here.


  11. Sevensheaven
    Sevensheaven New Member
    Hi again,

    In the mean time everything seems to be allright. Here's the result.

    What I've learned:

    - Always compress your 3D file in a Zip before uploading it, even though the upload info text mentions you can also directly upload WRL files.

    - If your model is hollow, be sure to create a hole from the outside to the inner space of the model in order to have the model recognized as hollow in stead of solid. More info about that can be found over here.

    Thanks again for offering your help.