What is PolyJet?

Pineapple 3d printed on Stratasys J750PolyJet is a 3D printing / additive manufacturing technology used for modeling, prototyping, and production applications. The technology offers exceptional detail, surface smoothness, and precision.

PolyJet builds parts with photopolymer resins. Photopolymers or photocurable materials come in many different compositions, from flexible to rigid, transparent to opaque. PolyJet is one of two 3D printing technologies to print color directly into a part and it is the only technology capable of printing multiple materials simultaneously, offering gradations from stiff to flexible in one part. Polyjet also has the capability of creating over molded parts, moving assemblies, and multiple material property components from over 350,000 digital material options.

It can be used to:

  • Create smooth, detailed prototypes that convey final-product aesthetics.
  • Produce accurate molds, jigs, fixtures, and other manufacturing tools.
  • Achieve complex shapes, intricate details, and delicate features.
  • Incorporate the widest variety of colors and materials into a single model for unbeatable efficiency.

How does PolyJet work?

PolyJet 3D printing works similarly to inkjet printing. Instead of jetting drops of ink onto a paper, PolyJet 3D printers use fine printhead nozzles to deposit droplets of photocurable liquid material onto a build tray in layers as fine as 16 microns to form detailed 3D parts. The material is simultaneously cured as it is deposited via UV light.

PolyJet parts require support structures to build overhanging features and holes. Without support structures, the material can escape its intended form resulting in inaccurate walls, features, and other details. PolyJet support material is a separate composition formulated to release from the part when jetted off or dissolved with water.

How is PolyJet used?

3D printed injection mold Ideal PolyJet applications include master patterns for molds; show models; detailed prototypes; form, fit, and feel models; low volume injection mold cavities; and moving assemblies.

PolyJet 3D printing is considered one of the fastest 3D printing technologies commercially available. Parts within a five-inch cube can print within as little as two hours. PolyJet prints in the thinnest layers of any 3D print process and that means less visible layer lines for smooth, detailed parts. Its speed, resolution, and affordability make it ideal for quick-turn applications, from master patterns to show models to early design prototypes.

What file format is used to process a part on a PolyJet system?

3D printing processes typically begin with a 3D CAD model that is then exported as an STL file. Other data inputs are possible through CT and MRI scans. There are also a variety of 3D scanners that can capture data and output STL files. The STL file is uploaded to the printer’s software program. From there, the user can hit the print button to grow the part or can use more advanced features for specialized parts.

What tolerances are PolyJet 3D printers capable of holding?

Tolerances are a function of the system producing the part and the overall size of the part.

Various printers deliver within a range of accuracy dependent on model, but notably varies according to geometry, part orientations, build paramenters, model orientation, and print size.

What is the minimum thickness PolyJet machines can print? (Also known as resolution)

The minimum layer thickness varies depending on material and machine. The user can choose a desired thickness based on the printer, the application, part intent, and material capabilities.

What types of materials are available in PolyJet?

PolyJet technology offers the widest variety of materials, so you can create ergonomic tooling, biocompatible surgical guides, or realistic prototypes that closely resemble finished products. They exhibit a chameleon-like ability to simulate clear, flexible, and rigid materials and engineering plastics – and even combine many colors and materials properties into one model.

Multi-color 3D printed prototypesCan I print a model with multiple colors or material properties?

PolyJet is the best 3D printing technology to print colored parts. The color does not just reside on the surface but is throughout the entire part. Individual parts can contain many colors (both opaque and transparent). Even wood grain and patterned parts are possible with Polyjet. Multiple material properties such as flexibility, impact strength, and tensile strength can exist within a single part.

Where can I get a prototype or small quantity produced without purchasing a 3D printer?

Easy, just contact the 3D printing experts at GSC. Get a quote within two business days by contacting 3dparts@gsc-3d.com today!