5 Reasons PolyJet is Perfect for Prototyping

With pressure to get concepts to market quickly, product designers and development teams must make fast and accurate decisions during the conceptual stage of design. These decisions can inform many cost factors, such as manufacturing methods and material selection. Rapid prototyping is a key component for design verification. 

Rapid prototyping and 3D printing go hand in hand. 3D printed rapid prototypes give designers the ability to fail fast, produce multiple design iterations quickly, and change a product design overnight to meet deadlines. Specifically, PolyJet, with its outstanding abilities to produce parts rapidly and in precise detail, is an ideal 3D printing technology for quick delivery of accurate and highly cosmetic prototypes and concept models. 

PolyJet technology utilizes curable liquid polymers to produce parts with fine layers, intricate details and full color. PolyJet uses high-resolution ink-jet technology to produce parts economically by jetting layers of liquid photopolymer as thin as 16 microns (0.0006”). The benefits of PolyJet technology opens new opportunities to meet the diverse demands of prototyping.


Polyjet prototyping

In the following, we break down five reasons why PolyJet is perfect for rapid prototyping and how it benefits designers and engineers.

1. Speed

A product development team entering into prototyping may have driving factors behind technology choice besides delivery dates. But more often than not, the speed of a technology determines the cost-effectiveness of the part.

PolyJet continues to be one of the fastest 3D printing technologies in the market. The technology can build multiple parts in a matter of hours, enabling product development teams to receive imperative feedback, revise, and reiterate within days. 

If you don’t own a machine, or if your in-house capabilities aren’t sufficient for your project, you can utilize a service bureau like Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. The large PolyJet capacity at Stratasys Direct can meet diverse demands of prototyping needs without the inefficiencies associated with material changes or the need to invest in, operate and maintain newer machines. Stratasys Direct can deliver PolyJet parts in as a little as one day. 

polyjet prototyping 

 

2. Full Color

One of the biggest challenges designers can face when prototyping is meeting the seemingly contrasting needs for an accurate, aesthetic model that is also delivered quickly. As stated above, PolyJet builds parts quickly. The technology also produces cosmetic parts in full color. 

PolyJet offers a full range of CMYKW color options, 360,000 to be precise. Graphics and pictures can also be incorporated via images that further the visual complexity that can be achieved, like wood or bricked surfaces. Designers can add transparencies to their models to display interiors, simulate glass or other see-through elements. 

Color can be applied with two file formats, depending on the desired color and materials of the part. With STL files, color and transparency are determined by a color code assigned to each unique shell within an assembly from the PolyJet Color Guide. In VRML format, color can be applied to each face or individual triangles of the geometry or with a texture (graphic) file.

3. Multiple Materials

Material versatility is another significant benefit of PolyJet for rapid prototyping. PolyJet materials like Digital ABS Plus simulate engineering-grade plastics that may be used in the final product. The Agilus30™ family of PolyJet materials simulate thermoplastic elastomers with flexible, rubber-like qualities. Glass-like clear materials further enhance the range of visual capabilities available with PolyJet. 

Multiple material types can be utilized in conjunction to support a wide range of visual, tactile and functional simulation for advanced prototypes and concept models. Incorporating rubber surrounds, overmolds, buttons, knobs, grips, gaskets and boot and hose assemblies can increase the realism of a prototype utilized for stakeholder feedback or marketing materials.

 

polyjet prototyping

4. Cost

PolyJet 3D printing tends to be a cheaper means of manufacturing prototypes due to its rapid builds and low-cost materials. Unlike some 3D printing technologies that need several hours or days to complete a complicated build, PolyJet can produce organic geometries in full color and with materials that simulate end-use polymers or other materials. 

Because PolyJet is generally cosmetic right off the machine, with almost no visible layer lines and with vivid colors, they rarely need post-processing or finishing to achieve the desired look or feel. The machine can jet multiple materials, meaning assembly is not generally needed. The less finishing that is required, the shorter the delivery time and greater cost savings.

5. Realism

PolyJet materials offer the versatility to allow team members to see, touch, feel, test, analyze and use prototypes as the final product will be used. These prototypes are tested or used in trials to gauge their success and create new iterations.

By utilizing the benefits of PolyJet like full color, graphic textures and multiple materials, designers, engineers and product development teams can create unparalleled prototypes that accurately simulate end-product look and feel.  

Prototyping with PolyJet

Ultimately, PolyJet prototypes give designers a thorough understanding of products earlier in the development process, minimizing the risk that problems will go unnoticed. With fine feature details and little need for finishing, designers and engineers can be more confident in their work as they move forward in the product development life cycle.

Service providers like Stratasys Direct Manufacturing offer rapid prototyping services that enable companies to get imperative feedback, revise, iterate and bring better products to market fast.  

Ready to get started? Order PolyJet Prototypes 

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