Mimaki previews 3D printer technology at 2017 International Sign Expo

Mimaki 3DUJ-P Printer Prototype.
Mimaki’s 3DUJ-P Printer Prototype.

In 2015, Mimaki Engineering (Nagano, Japan) announced that it would enter the 3D printing business and started its own full-colour 3D printer development. After extensive work, the company is now in the commercialization phase of the new product. This technology preview of the provisionally named Mimaki 3DUJ-P Printer follows its worldwide debut at JapanShop, held March 7-10 2017 in Tokyo, where it received an enthusiastic reception “due to the advanced differentiation of Mimaki’s technology in 3D printing.” Mimaki recently previewed the 3D UV-cure inkjet printer prototype at the International Sign Expo that concluded Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Key highlights included:

More than 10 million possible colour combinations. While 3D inkjet printing technology is relatively new, most 3D printers use binder jetting technology – an additive manufacturing process in which a liquid binding agent is selectively deposited to join powder particles. However, binder-jetting technology is limited in the number of available colour combinations. Because of Mimaki’s extensive experience in inkjet printing and based on a patent obtained by the company in 2009, the 3DUJ-P printer will use a full-colour UV-cure method that enables “unprecedented 3D modeling, yielding vibrant colours and high-definition imaging.”

Mimaki technology combined with high-quality modeling. Mimaki’s printer and ink technologies enable high quality 3D printing that can create products that are “delicate, extremely precise and incredibly realistic.”

Clear ink enhances product variations. The 3DUJ-P printer is also able to utilize clear inks that can be jetted independently or combined with coloured ink to create translucent objects. Mimaki’s technology also utilizes clear ink to create a glossy finish, thereby making the underlying colours more vibrant.

Unique support material for easy finishing. Unlike many other 3D materials, the Mimaki water-soluble support material does not require lye or other harsh chemicals, but is easily removed with water alone. Easy removal of the support material means that end users can create models and products with fine details and intricate designs without affecting the final design.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.