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PolyJet™ is a rapid prototyping process used to develop plastic prototypes from CAD data (computer aided design). This technology is a layer additive process where parts are constructed by building (or adding) layers atop layers. PolyJet is ideal for smaller parts (typically half a shoebox or less in size) or models requiring excellent fine feature detail and accuracy. It’s also exceptional for appearance models and for master patterns used for Solid Concepts’ QuantumCast™ advanced cast urethane process.

A feature unique to Solid Concepts is their special parameter treatment of down-facing (overhanging) PolyJet surfaces, allowing all surfaces to be unmarred and pristine. Additionally, PolyJet is one of the fastest rapid prototyping processes available to develop high-precision physical parts.

The PolyJet Process

Similar to other layer additive methods, the PolyJet process begins by “splitting” CAD data into cross-sections or layers as thin as 16 microns (0.0006″). Next the machine begins constructing the object one layer at a time—from the bottom up. This technology is also referred to as 3D printing due to its similarities to standard inkjet printers. Just as an inkjet print head lays down pigment as it moves across paper, the PolyJet print head lays small amounts of ultraviolet (UV) curable material down—eventually forming a single cross-section of the part.  UV light is attached to the print head and cures the material as it is printed.

Once a cross-section is complete, the build platform is slightly lowered and the next layer is “printed”. As the part is built, support material is added to give supplemental strength to fine structures and down-facing surfaces. Once all of the layers have been created, the part is removed from the platform and cleaned. Although finishing is not necessary, a number of hand sanding and paint options are available through Solid Concepts’ Finishing Department.

Materials Available

A number of flexible and rigid PolyJet materials are available at Solid Concepts. PolyJet build styles include PolyJet Standard (0.0012″ layer thickness) to provide quick and economical prototypes, PolyJet HD (0.0006″ layer thickness) suitable for parts requiring exceptional detail, surface finish and edge visualization, and PolyJet Over-Mold (0.0012″ layer thickness).

PolyJet Over-Mold utilizes the same procedure as standard PolyJet, but offers multiple materials printed simultaneously as one unitized structure. The materials offered with PolyJet Over-Mold are PolyJet White and PolyJet Flex Black. The combination of these materials allow for ranges in Shore A Hardness from Shore 27A to Shore 95A. This process prints similarly to the way a rubber might be over-molded atop a rigid plastic for certain aesthetic or practical purposes. The rigid, white material is laid and cured while the flexible black material is printed on top, or even within, the white. PolyJet Over-Mold is the fastest short run over-molding process available.

For the lowest priced PolyJet parts available right away, Solid Concepts has developed is an easy to use, self-service website where you can upload your STL file today and have your PolyJet White part shipped the very same day via FedEx Priority Overnight service.

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