Wikoff Digital is Bringing 3D Printing to Life with Color Dispersions
In its infancy stages 3D printing was seen as a gimmicky, futuristic process to print trinkets and small renderings of final products you hoped to produce, but it has quickly moved to a viable production technique.
As the expectations surrounding 3D printing shifts, the requirements for the raw materials used are changing as well. Gone are the days of dull, monochromatic 3D printed objects, say hello to vibrant and vivid color production. Keep reading to learn more about the Wikoff Digital products that make this possible.
Remind me…How does 3D printing work again?
While there are many 3D printing processes available today, the color dispersions we’re referring to are used in three different types of resin 3D printing: Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA), Digital Light Processing (DLP) and Inkjet..
utilizes a transparent platform that sits on top of a resin tank, which allows the platform to be used as the substrate for the 3D image to be built on. The image is built using LED lights that are directed around the specific shape using mirrors. As each layer is formed the platform will ascend to allow a new layer of fresh resin to be cured into the shape.
Digital Light Processing
is a very similar process with the primary difference being the light source. DLP printers use a digital projector to flash-cure an image of the particular layer across the entire platform at one time. Like all digital screens, the ones in DLP printers utilize square pixels to project images, which means each cured layer is formed by small rectangular cubes known as voxels.
3D printing is largely the same as the typical inkjet process, with inkjet printheads generating 3D structures layer-by-layer onto a table that moves further away as the image is formed. The advantage of inkjet 3D technology is the ability to generate full color structures. While the drawback is in the form of viscosity limitations since the resin must be jetted through an inkjet printhead. Multiple printhead manufacturers are working to provide a printhead geared towards 3D printing applications.
Ok, so how do we add color?
Until now, making sure 3D printed objects look pretty wasn’t a priority, but that’s changed now that production has scaled up for consumer products. Wikoff Digital has formulated 3D dispersions that act as the colorants for the resins used in the processes outlined above. The resins are typically designed and manufactured by the 3D printer manufacturers and in some cases resin manufacturers (typically chemical manufacturers).
How Can Wikoff Digital help?
Wikoff’s capabilities as a toll manufacturer and design shop makes us valuable for customers requesting specialty colors. Since Wikoff Digital 3D dispersions are an ingredient in the final products, we know how important it is for our materials to remain stable and non-reactive with the materials that each specific manufacturer is using.CONTACT US