What is PolyJet technology and how does it work?

By Eric Bryant on

Do you need the ability to create highly accurate full color parts with multiple shore values and nearly invisible layer lines? A PolyJet 3D printer might be the solution. PolyJet machines have a wide selection of available materials including vibrant colors, ultra clears, flexible, and biocompatibility. Materials can also be mixed into digital materials. Digital materials are a mixture or blend of two or more base materials to create a material with its own unique properties. If you want to learn more about printing in full color, you can check out this blog post: Printing Colors: PolyJet.

History

PolyJet technology was developed by the company Objet Geometries Ltd. Objet was incorporated in 1998 and was based in Rehovot, Israel. In 2009, Objet debuted their first printer. In 2012 Stratasys and Objet merged. Stratasys uses Objet as one of their brands of PolyJet machines, like the Objet 30.

How it works

PolyJet technology works very similarly to your desktop 2D paper printer. Instead of jetting various colored inks PolyJet printers’ jet various photopolymers. These photopolymers are cured/hardened when exposed to UV light. The print bed is then lowered, and the process is repeated until a part is created layer by layer.

polyjet

Where parts have steep angles or overhangs a gel-like support material is used. A few different support material options are available depending upon the machine used. Support options dictate how the support is removed. Support can be removed with a jet of water, effectively spraying off the support material. Support material can be dissolved away with a caustic soda solution. A recently released support material option, WSS150, allows for the support material to be dissolved in water. Each support material and removal method come with its own pros and cons. Careful consideration must be given to ensure the success of your part.

PolyJet Pros:

  • High fidelity parts with excellent detail and resolution
  • Multiple materials and colors on the same build plate
  • Wide variety of materials available including biocompatible
  • No post cure needed
  • Pantone Validated ColorsPolyJet Realistic Printing Example

PolyJet Cons:

  • Materials are subject to UV light and heat degrading
  • Mechanical properties can be less than that of other technologies
  • Support material leaves a matte finish on part

Applications

PolyJet technology has a wide range of applications. It’s used in industries including consumer goods, electronics, toys, figures, packaging, and entertainment. PolyJet technology is also widely used in the dental and medical field as well. PolyJet is a great fit whenever highly accurate, realistic parts are needed. If you are interested in learning more or have any questions, please reach out to our 3D printing solution consultant team.

For more information on PolyJet applications and industries, read our Top 5 Industries for PolyJet Technology blog. 

Want to learn more? Watch our on-demand webinar “Understanding the Potential of Additive Manufacturing – PolyJet Technology”.