3D printers have come a long way, and full color 3D printing is one of the few things we have seen the fewest, even less those that can produce such a wide range of colors.
Mimaki is well known for their wide-format inkjet printers, and just recently they’ve leaped into the 3D printing industry, innovating in what they claim is the first photorealistic color 3D printer.
The Mimaki 3DUJ-553 takes advantage of the already developed technology of 2D inkjet printers. Mimaki has manufactured over the years; the production of objects which consists in printing a plastic layer at a time and applying a final UV ink coating of approximately 22 microns using CMYK and white or clear ink, and then proceeding with the next layer.
This new multicolor 3D printer was exhibited recently in FESPA Berlin 2018, in the following pictures you can observe some samples exhibited at the show.
Here is a short table with the basic specs of the Mimaki full color 3D printer.
Currently on the market, there are a few alternatives, some are high end and others are low end, this implies a wide difference in cost and quality; one of the high end full color 3D printers was developed by ZCorp (a company recently acquired by 3D Systems, which models are known as ProJet) and the model which specs are on the same range with the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 is the ProJet CJP 860Pro, with a higher cost than the early mentioned Mimaki.
On the mid-range alternatives there are, is the HP Jet Fusion 500/300 series 3D printers, announced in early February 2018, the 300 series has a smaller build volume than the 500 series, the last having a building size up to 190 mm x 332 mm x 248 mm, costing around half of the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 (depending on the selected model).
And on the low end alternatives, XYZ Printing has developed a PLA 3D printer which absorbs CMYK droplets of inkjet ink, having the smallest volume (200 x 200 x 150 mm print size) and layer resolution of all the above mentioned 3D printers (100 microns), with the benefit of costing only a fraction of the others ($3500 without shipping).
As you can see there are many different alternatives in the market now, we will continue to study them and keep you posted with the latest advances.
Source: Mimaki, 3D Systems, HP and XYZ Printing.