The VeroFlex and VeroFlexVivid family of materials are an unbelievably unique set of new materials available on Stratasys J Series 3D printers, which are capable of producing parts that have improved strength and flexibility while retaining great shape memory. Similar to how our simulated rubber-like Agilus material works, parts produced in either VeroFlex or VeroFlexVivid do not need to be handled as gently as other material parts and will hold up with little fear of them breaking. However, unlike Agilus, this material produces parts that are rigid and will snap right back to their original shape after being flexed in any direction. This makes them a great material to print high-quality full-color parts that are thin, like eyewear and small action figures, so today we’re going to show these new materials in action as we make some incredible Fourth of July sunglasses!
Why Choose VeroFlex Over Standard Vero?
If you’ve ever interacted with PolyJet parts before, you’ve most likely seen the traditional Vero family materials. All of the standard Vero acrylic-based photopolymer resins are nearly identical in mechanical properties to one another. However, while they can print with fantastic color and layer quality as fine as 14 microns in height per slice, they are all quite rigid and somewhat brittle, with a low overall level of flexibility. All of these standard Vero materials are still great for a host of applications that require beautifully smooth parts, but in corner cases such as eyewear, we now have a better option for the same printing technology.
The VeroFlex materials can be bent and flexed in ways that the standard Veros just can’t. Additionally, this material also does a great job of accepting lenses that have very little clearance without chipping during assembly. VeroFlex does a fantastic job of mimicking the real-life strength of injection molded plastic glasses while being a prototype that's easy to print and only takes a handful of hours to make. In our case, these parts were printed in high-quality 14 micron mode on our Stratasys J750 in under six hours, and can print even quicker in lower resolution modes! That means that if you design or modify your eyewear in the morning, you can have a part ready to go before the end of the day.
The short clip below shows the temple, also known as the arm of our Fourth of July sunglasses bending and then bouncing right back to the original shape without cracking of breaking, which is the primary reason this material exists.
How To Design and Print Our Sunglasses
Using SOLIDWORKS 2019, we designed a basic pair of sunglasses with two temples, a frame and two lenses. Too add color, we could bring each part of our assembly into Adobe Photoshop and wrap it with images to create a VRML file, but this process would be extremely complicated and could actually result in a somewhat lower resolution color wrap due to the complex geometry of the assembly. Instead, we opted to stay inside SOLIDWORKS and split each part of our assembly into smaller bodies that we can assign color data to in GrabCAD Print.
This process, using the “split” feature in SOLIDWORKS, requires us to draw a sketch on a flat plane in front of each part in the assembly. The end-product were separate multi-body parts which are connected, with no gaps between one another.
In GrabCAD Print, we opened our SOLIDWORKS 2019 assembly file without converting it to a different format, and all we needed to do was click the “Assemble” button next to our model under the part window in order to knit each individual body back together. From there, we assigned the correct HEX code color to each body, which in the case of the American flag is BF0A30 for "Old Glory Red", 0002868 for "Old Glory Blue", FFFFFF for "Old Glory White" and we had our Stars and Stripes sunglasses all set for printing.
As a side note, Stratasys recently released a series of additional colors for the VeroFlex line which brings the Vivid family of colors (magenta, cyan, and yellow) to the Flex family, so using these new VeroVividFlex colors we could really achieve the perfect looking pair of American flag sunglasses!
While the VeroFlex family of materials may not be necessary for every part that you make on your Stratasys J Series printer, it offers a variety of improvements over the conventional Vero rigid family while utilizing the newer Vivid colors that can match the same high-color quality you expect from all of your prints. VeroFlex is great at mimicking higher strength plastics and can bend and quickly snap right back into its original shape, all without risking your part cracking or completely breaking. Honest Abe loves his new VeroFlex sunglasses, and if you try using VeroFlex for your next project you just may love them too!
Have a safe and happy Independence Day!
Would you like to learn more about 3D printing with other PolyJet materials? Click on the button below to download our white paper, PolyJet Materials: A Range of Possibilities.