Visual Prototyping a Strong Suit for the ProJet 660 3D Printer
Kyle Maxey posted on June 26, 2014 |

The ProJet 660 is a full color, gypsum-based 3D printer. Its greatest strength is its ability to create highly detailed, vividly colored models at an unparalleled speed. That makes the ProJet 660 ideal for a number of applications, though not for functional prototyping.

While many 3D printers cite their ability to create models that can move, twist, or stand up to the rigors of hands-on prototyping, the ProJet 660 cannot make the same claim.

The main reason the models it creates are fragile is the machine's build material. Named VisiJet PXL, the proprietary material is gypsum-based and is transformed from powder to a solid model through a binding agent and precisely positioned color dye. Though models leave the 660's build chamber in a brittle state, a mandatory infusion of a "super glue like" substance named ColorBond gives added strength to 660 models while also making the colors pop.

Though not ideal for functional prototyping, the ProJet 660 has valuable applications if you "chose the right tool to do the job right." For applications that require visual realism and detail, the ProJet 660 is unrivaled. Unlike other color printers, the 660 is capable of blending and mixing shades of color thanks to its ColorJet technology, which is modelled after inkjet printing.

What's more, models printed on the 660 can be sent to the printer without having to separate the individual sections to switch between colors. With the ability to reproduce over 90% of the colors available in Adobe Photoshop, the 660 is the true definition of full color additive manufacturing.

The ProJet 660 earns high marks for its ability to produce models that offer extremely precise resolution. Users also appreciate the ease with which materials can be recycled. Because of the granular nature of its print material extremely fine details can be added to any model, and any material not used is vacuumed up and recycled into subsequent print runs.


The ProJet 660 in Action:
According to Steve Cory of 3D printing and scanning firm Objex Unlimited, "no other machine will give you the colors that the 660 can produce." While Cory admits that the 660's biggest fault is the delicate nature of the parts it produces, his company has been able to produce models of unparalleled visual quality with little post-processing.

Though Objex Unlimited uses their ProJet 600 to build 3D portraits, figurines and realistic promotional materials, one other application where the printer excels is its ability to build realistic models for architectural and civil engineering projects.

Given its full range of color, sharp detail and lack of hard-to-remove support material, the 660 is ideal for the intricate, small scale features of an architectural or civil engineering model. When presented with a full color, scale model of a building or civil works project, clients can grasp monumental endeavors quickly and easily.

Because of the ProJet's incredible build speed, Cory recommends the 660 for anyone who needs to create high volume runs of parts. That said, he cautioned that "the ProJet, like any other additive system, has to be used for the right application." Organic, full color models, fine art pieces, collectible figurines or display models all find their place within the 660's range. Mechanical applications, or applications that require any kind of mechanical ability, should not be attempted with this machine.


Quick Facts

Manufacturer: 3D Systems

Model: ProJet 660

Material: VisiJet® PXL™ - Gypsum Style Powder

Color: Full CMYK color

Build Envelope: 254 x 381 x 203 mm (10 x 15 x 8 in.)

Layer Thickness: 0.1 mm (0.004 in.)

Axis Resolution:

Printer Dimensions: 188 x 74 x 145 cm (74 x 29 x 57 in.)

Printer Weight: 340 kg (750lbs)

Recommended Uses: Visual Prototyping, Mechanical Design Presentations; Architectural and Civil Presentation; Healthcare Presentation; Artworks; Educational Presentations

Primary Industries: Architecture; Civil Engineering; City Planning; Marketing; Entertainment

Machine Price: $70,000


Who Should Use the ProJet 660:
Anyone interested in full-color, detailed presentation models should consider the ProJet 660 as a top option. Its high resolution color printing can bring realism to any model. Aside from its vivid color the ProJet 660 also has the ability to build parts rapidly making it ideal for medium volume runs of promotional materials or artistic figurines.


Why Wouldn't You Use the ProJet 660:
Though the ProJet 660 can make highly detailed, colorful parts its products are extremely delicate. For those interested in making functional models, systems like the ProJet 4500 or Object Connex3 500 are more apt to meet your needs.

Recommended For You