While almost any product designer will tell you that prototyping the shape of a new design with 3-D printing is fairly straightforward, accurately simulating colour, material and finish (CMF) can take “serious time and money”.
However, with the latest KeyShot 10 3-D rendering software and Stratasys Ltd’s
J55 and J8 Series 3-D printers, achieving CMF is said to be little more than just ‘click-and-print’.
The full-colour multi-material Stratasys 3-D printers and the latest version of KeyShot from Luxion
both now support the new 3MF file format, said to be a significant improvement over legacy STL, OBJ, and VRML files.
By saving designs to 3MF, KeyShot 10 produces files ready for printing, with accurate colours and bump/displacement maps to three-dimensionally simulate textures like fabric and wood. Additional enhancements are planned for 2021.
US-based product development company Priority Designs, was a beta user of the new KeyShot 10 capabilities using the recently launched office-friendly J55 3D printer.
Erik Fickas, senior industrial designer, said the speed and simplicity with which they can 3D print a collection of design options is completely new.
“We developed this Bluetooth speaker model and used KeyShot to add all the textures like the speaker grill, then just saved to the new 3MF file format for 3-D printing.
“Overnight, we had five different models with five different wood samples and different fabric samples. To rapid prototype a wood texture would have been a lot of work. It’s really incredible what we can do now.”
Stratasys estimates that 3MF support with KeyShot can reduce the 3-D print modelling time of CMF models to a single day, while traditional modelling for final iterations can take from one to three weeks.
The new workflow enables the CMF design phase to start earlier in the design process, helping bring new products to market faster, while keeping modelling in-house to reduce risk of intellectual property loss.