Mimaki Europe, a manufacturer of wide-format inkjet printers and cutters, has unveiled its newest full color UV-LED 3D printer, the 3DUJ-2207, which it believes will turn the full color 3D printing market on its head with its entry-level price point.
Announced this afternoon at Formnext Connect, the 3DUJ-2207 will be commercially available for less than €40,000, opening the door to full color 3D printing for swathes of entry-level customers for which it is currently economically unattainable.
During the press launch, general sales manager of Mimaki Europe, Ronald Van Den Broek, spoke of his excitement in bringing this ‘historic launch’ to the market.
“Every now and then there is a product that comes to the market, and you know that it is going to change something,” he said. “For the 3DUJ-2207, this is one of those products. I am very excited to start selling this product next year, and to start making people enthusiastic about using this technology.”
Potential entrants to the 3D full color market won’t have too long to wait, as the 3DUJ-2207 is expected to be operational in January 2021 and become commercially available by April.
Features of the 3DUJ-2207
The 3DUJ-2207 can be seen as the little brother to Mimaki’s existing 3DUJ-553, which became commercially available in 2018. The 3DUJ-2207 shares the same technology as its predecessor, including the same resins, support material, and software, but features a much smaller build plate area of 20x20x7.6 cm. The smaller desktop-size model is based on Mimaki’s UJF-3024 engine, and is designed to provide a flexible and scalable entry-level option for people and businesses wanting to make a start in 3D full color printing.
Mimaki’s UV-LED technology works through jetting a resin which is then ‘pinned’ by a UV light, a process which uses just enough UV to ensure the ink drop is as round as possible sticks in the same place where it lands, in order to prove the accuracy and quality of the print. Then, a small roller smooths the layer along the print bed, which is then cured and repeated in an ongoing process.
The new printer also features Mimaki’s Colour Matching technology, ICC Profiling, which is built upon the firm’s many years of experience in color printing. ICC Profiling calibrates the colors in question in order to make sure that the printed colors match those of the design when viewed on a monitor. Some 10 million full color ICC profiles are available for printing through Mimaki’s machines, ensuring that what you see is what you get.
The 3DUJ-2207 is fitted with two newly developed high-resolution print heads with 1,200 ppi, producing prints with the same, if not better, quality as the larger 3DUJ-553. The process utilizes a water-soluble support material which is easily washed away at the end of the printing process.
Applications for the 3DUJ-2207
Due to its size, vibrant color offering, and high print quality, the 3DUJ-2207 can be used to facilitate numerous applications involving scaled models, prototyping, medical applications, education, and even figurines and gaming.
For scaled models, designs can be visualized faster as a result of quicker print times due to the machine’s smaller build area, while allowing flexibility in the re-editing and re-printing of models. For prototyping purposes, highly detailed models of final products can be achieved and can be printed in white, color, or clear to give a real indication as to what the final product will look like.
The printer is particularly interesting to the medical, education, and figurine and gaming sectors, as it can print sharp scanned models in color which require highly precise printed details, including those needed to replicate textures and intricate features.
Another important aspect of the 3DUJ-2207 is its scalability. Due to its affordability, individuals, educational institutions, or small businesses could scale up their production with the addition of several machines. Once familiar with full color 3D printing, and if they wish to scale up their activities further, these organizations could then look to Mimaki’s larger, industrial-scale 3DUJ-553.
Mimaki and full color printing
Since first announcing its 3DUJ-553 full color 3D printer in 2017, the Mimaki team has been busy studying the market and its competitors. After realizing there was a need for a smaller entry-level machine in the market at a more affordable price point, the company set about designing the 3DUJ-2207.
Prior to this, though, the firm brought to the market a new large scale system that uses Gel Dispensing Printing technology, called the 3DGD-1800. This 3D printer was designed as a solution for sign and display applications across a number of diverse sectors. Combining its 2D and 3D printing expertise, the company’s inkjet printers can be used to add further design choices in the form of color and decorations to 3D printed objects.
Mimaki has also previously partnered with The Smithsonian Exhibits’ (SIE) studios, in Landover, Maryland, to install a 3DUJ-553 3D printer to support the development of engaging exhibits, as well as produce 3D printed models for public programs. Over in the gaming sector, Mimaki’s 3DUJ-553 was used to 3D print an intricate model of the winning design of a competition run by Minecraft, the popular sandbox video game created by Swedish developer Mojang.
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Featured image shows the new Mimaki 3DUJ-2207 UV-LED full color 3D printer. Image via Mimaki.