For years the only soluble support solution has been from the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printers. Soluble support is a fantastic feature that allows complex geometry to be built and survive the wash cycle as the support material dissolves away in a bath. The problem until recently is we were limited to lower layer resolutions due to the nature of the FDM technology, but all of that has changed and in a BIG way.
Having spent many years in the architectural community I saw some of the most complex shapes and geometries ever created by model makers. The largest obstacle I’ve encountered when incorporating 3D printing into the architectural industry is the learning curve of modeling in CAD. Once that hurdle is overcome it has always become a question of surface finish versus survival of the printed models. In the past, most users loved the high resolution of the PolyJet printers, but printing ultra-fine details that wouldn’t survive the cleaning process became the challenge and the trade-off.
About a year and half ago, Stratasys introduced the Objet Eden 260VS, the first and only printer with soluble support technology at a build layer of 16 microns. This enabled modelers to build parts that they couldn’t build before or if they could, they would not survive the high pressure waterjet cleaning process. The PolyJet soluble support option helped with the scaling of models for print, but the only way to get soluble support in the high resolution printers was to spend north of $90k. Until now.
This week Stratasys released their updated PolyJet desktop 3D printers, now ALL offering a soluble support option. Now the Objet30, Objet30 Pro, and Objet30 Prime all offer Soluble Support SUP706, opening the doors to more creative and head turning models than ever before at a far more appealing price.
A great example of what soluble support can do is with the model of a church. The 3D printed architectural model is approximately 2” x 1” x 1”. With the camera zoomed in you can see the fine level of detail in the windows and throughout the model. This detail was made possible with PolyJet 3D printing material and would have never survived traditional 3D printing post-processing prior to the release of the soluble support.
With more adorable PolyJet 3D printers offering soluble support capabilities, the AEC community is continue to rapidly expand the incorporation of 3D printing within their modeling toolset. To learn more about this technology contact your CAPINC account manager.