Everyone loves flexibility when it comes to materials. The more different kinds of materials a 3D printer can print with, the better, in many people’s opinions. Zortrax already gave users plenty of material options, but now a new software update will allow them to experiment with even more.
Until recently, Zortrax users have only been able to 3D print with Zortrax materials – and that still gave them a lot to work with, as the company offers everything from regular ABS to specialty filaments. Now, however, Zortrax has updated its Z-SUITE software to support external material profiles. The update came at the request of users who wanted to try out materials that Zortrax didn’t offer, but that the 3D printer could still be capable of using.
It’s not enough for a 3D printer to be physically capable of printing with a certain material – it’s important for the software settings to correlate with the material so that the printer temperature and settings can be automatically adjusted to ensure print quality.
“We received signals from users who wanted the option to experiment with external printing materials not in our current range. The newest software update is the response to these signals,” said Zortrax CEO Rafal Tomasiak. “It opens us to completely new target groups. But please keep in mind that the only way to ensure top quality and hardware reliability of our solutions is by using Zortrax materials.”
Zortrax’s own range of materials currently consists of seven different options:
- Z-ABS, ideal for printing models or figures, available in 11 colors
- Z-PCABS, a high-temperature-resistant, durable material that lends itself well to 3D printing items such as casings, moving parts or structural elements, available in ivory
- Z-PETG, a shiny material that is heavily resistant to damage from wear, time, light, or chemicals, available in black and gray
- Z-ULTRAT, an original Zortrax material with high resistance to external factors, allowing for further mechanical processing, available in 22 colors
- Z-GLASS, a clear, light-transmitting material for 3D printing objects that resemble glass
- Z-HIPS, which reduces the risk of deformation and the time required for model processing. This material’s structure absorbs light and reduces visible imperfections, available in seven colors
- Z-ESD is resistant to electrostatic discharge and is ideal for 3D printing objects like electronics casings, available in black
Zortrax’s material selection has always been popular, as has the company overall; a year ago, Zortrax reached 100,000 fans on Facebook and celebrated, naturally, with a free material giveaway. The company’s decision to open up its materials system and support third-party filaments may gain it even more fans, but I suspect that longtime Zortrax users will still remain pretty loyal to Zortrax materials. They’ve proven themselves to be good, quality filaments already, and while users may be excited to explore other materials outside the Zortrax range, they’re not likely to abandon the materials that have served them well thus far.
Zortrax’s R&D department is always working to develop new materials for the company’s 3D printers. Begun in 2011 with the development of the M200, Zortrax was launched as a company from a successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign, and its success and popularity have only grown since then. Based in Poland, Zortrax now has resellers across the globe, and is always looking for more. If you’re interested in selling Zortrax products, you can contact the company here.
Meanwhile, if you’re a Zortrax M200 or M300 3D printer user, you can now feel free to experiment with any materials that you’d like to try out, thanks to the new software update. You can download the latest version of Z-SUITE, version 1.10, at Zortrax’s website here. Discuss in the Zortrax forum at 3DPB.com.