Over the last couple of years, the Belgium-based company i.materialise has established themselves as one of the leading 3D printing service providers around. Since 2014, they’ve expanded from Asia to the United Arab Emirates, and have also introduced a plethora of materials for their customers, including a wide range of metals and even laser-sintered wood composite. Now, i.materialise is focusing in on providing extremely detailed prints, announcing their latest material, Smooth Detail Resin. The material is especially geared towards scale modelers, who oftentimes create finely detailed 3D designs that most printing materials just can not truly evoke.
With the Smooth Detail Resin, however, i.materialise customers will be able to print their designs at a high resolution of 50 microns, while the surface finish is uniquely smooth. Though the new resin only comes in gray, i.materialise claims that it allows for much higher detail and is also easily paintable. The material begins in the form of a hardened liquid resin, and uses DLP technology—which is a 3D printing process similar to stereolithography— to create these finely detailed layers and a smooth finish. The DLP process utilizes a light source to solidify the resin into the selected 3D design, which generally creates a much higher quality product than FDM printing can provide.
The Smooth Detail Resin is currently available as a ‘trial’ material on the i.materialise storefront, and can be ordered with or without the necessary supports attached. i.materialise offers to manually remove the support for the customer, but also recognizes that many designers wish to remove supports with their own tools or sanding methods. Though the finely detailed resin is perfect for printing small-scale models, customers can print in sizes of up to 260 x 160 x 193 mm, which is quite sizable for a material engineered for detailed prints. Another great feature of the resin is that it only requires a minimum wall thickness of .4 mm, which is 60% less than most other plastic materials.
Although the new resin seems promising and looks fantastic, there are a few skeptics within the i.materialise blog comment section looking for even higher resolution. Regardless of their thoughts, i.materialise has a good reason to be excited about their newest material, and many scale modelers are sure to be too. The material is ideal for miniature statues, scale models, and artifacts that require high detail and a smooth finish. If you’re interested in uploading a design and printing it in the Smooth Detail Resin, take a look at the material information and design guidelines on the i.materialise website. Any orders with the new material will be set to ship out in about 12 business days.