Experts Discuss the J750 3D Printer
Stratasys recently released its newest 3D printing system, the J750 3D Printer (read the announcement). PolyJet-based machines are popular among designers and engineers for their fine print quality, high resolution, and multi-material capabilities. Today, the technology has reached its most advanced evolution to date.
The product announcement is already making headlines. Writer Sarah Goehrke of 3Dprint.com recently saw the 3D printer in action at OtterBox, a Stratasys customer who has been using 3D printing for product development throughout the last ten years.
“[The J750 3D Printer] can utilize an incredible six materials at once, capable of more than 360,000 digitized colors in a variety of resins,” Goehrke writes (original article). “It sounds impressive — and at OtterBox, we gathered media could see first-hand that, yes, in fact it is a remarkable piece of equipment.”
She reports that the OtterBox product development process is getting streamlined significantly, “thanks to 3D printing technology that dramatically speeds up the process.” In the company’s development for the latest run of phone cases, a process that originally took 26 weeks now only takes 8 weeks.
“J750 has really helped us to load it in, to get products into the decision makers’ hands quickly,” said Brycen Smith, OtterBox’s Engineer Tech Supervisor, as quoted in the article. “Without [the J750] we’d be in a world of hurt. It’s a huge cost savings. I can’t even quantify it — dollars, time. Huge.”
Some of FATHOM’s experts have weighed in on the release, sharing their expectations and first thoughts about the Stratasys J750 3D printer. Check out what Industrial Designer Ava DeCapri, Mechanical Engineer Bethany Casarez, Additive Manufacturing Manager Tom Kloucek, and General Manager Dylan Oliver from FATHOM had to say.
What are some unique features of the J750 that you are particularly looking forward to utilizing?
Ava Decapri, FATHOM Industrial Designer—The J750 allows the user to 3D print in a wider range of colors than ever before. We now have the ability to create a prototype that has the full range of color of the final product. In combination with the ability to print in gradient color, the J750 opens up a world of color for product designers that allow CMF testing without having to paint the model. I see the potential for pantone matching, once we have more experience with the color of the plastic in comparison to the results of painting or adding pigments as in traditional manufacturing.
Bethany Casarez, FATHOM Mechanical Engineer—From a very pragmatic point-of-view, the J750 makes PolyJet 3D printing faster and more convenient. It has a totally revamped interface that is greatly improved over the previous UI. Users can keep up to 6 different colors loaded at the same time, meaning less material swaps which will improve the ease of use and 3D printing efficiency. Not to mention, with more heads, the printer can print digital material parts twice as fast as the previous generation of Connex technology. I can envision much better adoption of digital ABS (one of the best performing PolyJet materials) because of the added convenience of digital material 3D printing speed and the reduced need for material swaps.
Dylan Oliver, FATHOM General Manager—The new J750 from Stratasys offers users unparalleled versatility, speed, and efficiency. Whether you are looking to simulate product functionality early in your design phase, or product realism later in your design phase, the full color capabilities and large material capacity with the J750 is a true leap forward for Stratasys. The full spectrum color allows for 3D printing gradients and textures in full CMYKW (+1 additional material).
How will the J750 change popular perception of 3D printing?
Tom Kloucek, FATHOM Additive Manufacturing Manager—The J750 builds parts much faster, with more material options. From a pure output perspective, customers can now have the power of two machines in one.
Decapri—The J750 allows for more color realistic models, which may have an impact on how people understand “realness” of a 3D printed part. Color plays a huge role in how we interact with objects and the closer that 3D printers get to matching the possibilities of our imaginations, the more the general public will see 3D printing as a major contender in the manufacturing space.
Casarez—I think the J750 increases creative possibility. The wealth of options and greater convenience will empower product designers, engineers, fabricators and artists to continue to push the limits on what is possible with PolyJet technology.
What are some projects you see as perfectly suited to the J750’s capabilities?
Decapri—I can’t wait to experiment with the J750 in conjunction with the gradient capabilities that Stratasys recently released. The projects for J750 I’m looking forward to most are looks-like prototypes for CMF testing and designs where color plays an essential role.
Casarez—Within a product development environment, the addition of full color on the already robust J750 is a game-changer. It will be an amazing asset to industrial designers and marketing teams to communicate product ideas early on. The capabilities of the J750 make it uniquely adapted for R&D, as well as unique explorations of art and technology. I also think we will see some very interesting things come from artists, researchers, and creative professionals alike that will trickle into engineering and product development.
Oliver—If color isn’t always important, just have your six favorite model materials loaded and available for single prints or mixed material build trays on demand. This means users would rarely, if ever, need to worry about material changes saving both time and money. If speed is most critical to your process, users can now run any three materials twice as fast as was previously possible with just a single material. The capacity and throughput increases are quite impressive. When you keep in mind that this is building on the blended Digital Materials from the previous Connex systems, the potential for new unique blends is exciting. This isn’t just about the color; nothing else on the market even comes close.