Shapeways just announced their newest material, Frosted Extreme Detail, and it’s essentially the same resin–and uses the same printer–as their Frosted Ultra Detail (FUD) but features detail nearly twice as fine as FUD.
They call it FXD for short, and it 3D prints in 16 micron layers to create what Shapeways calls “unprecedented detail and surface finish, sharper edges, less stepping, and stronger walls and wires.”
They say it’s ideal for miniatures, figurines, and molds and masters for casting, and aside from requiring models which fit in a smaller max bounding box, Shapeways says the design guidelines are similar to those for objects built with FUD.
This latest material is priced at $5.00 for setup and $5.99 per cubic centimeter, and the company says that as the layers are much thinner than those of FUD prints, those thinner layers take longer to print and use more material.
Shapeways says if you plan on using their acrylic family of materials, it’s important to note that they plan to phase out their Frosted Detail material on April 29th. Frosted Detail printed fully enclosed in support material which required that the enclosure be cleaned away. They say that, as that material and process was wasteful, expensive, and presented difficulties in production, it resulted in a large number of broken parts.
They say that Frosted Extreme Detail “offers the highest detail of any of the materials we offer and can be used for the most detailed miniatures, and models like molds and mold masters where very smooth surface finish is critical.” Both FXD and FUD utilize a waxy support material which is dissolved once the printing process is complete, and the support material slightly changes the texture of the product.
FXD is printed using the Multi-Jet Modeling (MJM) process where molten plastic is deposited onto an aluminum build platform in layers using several nozzles. In that process, heated material is jetted onto the build plate and solidifies instantly. The application is then cured using a wide area UV lamp between layers, and when printing is finished, models are removed from their tray and placed into an oven to melt off the wax support material. That step is followed by an ultrasonic oil bath to finalize the removal of remaining wax residues, and it’s finished with an ultrasonic water bath which removes the oil from the models. Each model is then inspected and dried by hand.
Be advised, however, that the company did receive some negative feedback about the printability of the new material.
“We’re aware of and working through the issue and should have an update and hopefully a solution,” Carine from the Shapeways team wrote on their blog. “Sorry about that, and we’ll follow up on this thread this afternoon. In the meantime, if there’s a pressing order you have in FXD, please reach out to email@example.com and we’d be happy to help.”
It seems that some models were receiving a “Not Printable” message when uploaded, but they say those issues have been fixed for the most part and models which adhere to their posted guidelines should now be printable. Raphael, Shapeways’ Materials Product Manager, has also been taking time to respond to other reported errors, detailing the team’s prompt responses and fixes.
Shapeways adds that the new FXD material is “incredibly slow to print.” Models of 50mm take some 48 hours to print, 100mm models take 96 hours, and 200mm models about 192 hours to print. They say the risk of machine crashes goes up accordingly with extended print times, so they’ve launched the product with 50mm because of these risks. They say their manufacturing teams are currently monitoring the reliability of prints to ultimately expand the bounding box for models in FXD “relatively quickly.”
The Shapeways team says they’re “working hard on a solution to this, and will keep everyone updated,” in response to issues about the sizes of products able to be printed.
According to Shapeways, the new FXD material is stronger than FUD, but they add that strength depends on the design of a given model.
Will you use the new Frosted Extreme Detail material from Shapeways? Have you already had models built with this latest resin? Let us know in the Shapeways Frosted Extreme Detail forum thread on 3DPB.com.