Shapeways maximises opportunities for 3D printing

3D printing service Shapeways, has announced a joint venture with US-based Stratasys that will see the duo provide customers with easy access to full-colour, multi-material 3D printing.

Shapeways biological models 3D printing
Shapeways 3D printed biological model.

The new service is to meet customer demands and is being enabled by one of the only full-colour, multi-material 3D printers in the world: the Stratasys J750.

The printer will reportedly reduce lead times, in addition to allowing designers and engineers to create highly realistic prototypes, like for example biological models.

The 3D printing service will provide:

  • Over half a million colour combinations
  • Highly accurate colour-matching
  • Transparent to opaque colour gradients
  • Advanced clear materials with texture

The capabilities of the Stratasys J750 reportedly enable businesses to form products and prototypes in full-colour, and with texture mapping and colour gradients.

3D printing is being utilised across sectors

Healthcare

As the outermost layer of the human eye, the cornea has an important role in focusing vision - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
As the outermost layer of the human eye, the cornea has an important role in focusing vision – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

As the clear outer layer of the human eye, the cornea has a crucial role in focusing vision. Yet, according to the NHS there is a significant shortage of corneas available and eligible for transplant.

Scientists at the University of Newcastle have devised a 3D printed version of the human part, meaning the process could be used in the future to ensure there is no shortage of corneas.

10 million people worldwide require surgery to prevent corneal blindness as a result of diseases such as trachoma – an infectious eye disorder.

This innovation shows how serious medical problems can simply be eliminated using AM techniques.

Environmental

Rising ocean temperatures have led to bleached corals that are devastating the environment; artificial corals produced via additive manufacturing could fix this fragile ecosystem.

Ceramic 3D printed prototypes

Prototypes of different shape and surface have been 3D printed for trials this year in Curacao, Bahamas, Mexico and Guam - image courtesy of SECURE.
Prototypes of different shape and surface have been 3D printed for trials this year in Curacao, Bahamas, Mexico and Guam – image courtesy of SECURE.

A collaborative project between Emerging Objects, Boston Ceramics and SECORE (Sexual Coral Restoration), has created a whole population of 3D printed substrates to attract coral larvae to reefs and encourage their reproduction.

SECORE wants to produce one million 3D printed units by 2021, and hundreds of thousands of units per year by then.

Read more here. 

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