Frequently, when producing parts to print on full-color PolyJet 3D printers (like the J55 and J850), we have the need to place logos and icons on our models. When using more traditional means of applying pixel-based graphics or decals on parts can have unpredictable outcomes when exporting for 3D printing. Often, we find it difficult to properly set the resolution of the logo to match the part, which results in logos that have blurry or pixelated edges. In this 3D Printing Video Tech Tip, we talk about how to create sharp-edged logos and icons using SOLIDWORKS.
By using the SOLIDWORKS Split Line Command, we can take sketch data (in this case a TriMech logo) and use those sketch entities to split the faces on a part. These split faces allow us to apply different properties to each face such as colors or textures.
Because these logos are now based on the faces of the solid models, the edges of the logo stay sharp regardless of how much you scale, or zoom in, on the model. If you are using SOLIDWORKS 2019 or 2020, you can save your SOLIDWORKS file and open the SLDPRT file directly in GrabCAD Print and your colors and appearances are carried over. If you are using the recently released SOLIDWORKS 2021, simply save the file as a 3MF file (as I did in the video) and open the 3MF file in GrabCAD print.
You will see that the colors and textures will carry over as well. As of this writing, we anticipate SOLIDWORKS 2021 files opening directly in GrabCAD Print shortly. Even if you are using compatible versions of SOLIDWORKS, or other CAD packages, the 3MF file format is a great way to ensure your file properly carries over the colors and textures of your part. An added benefit of the 3MF file format is that unlike other full color file formats like the VRML or OBJ, the 3MF is a single file and does not need to reference a series of material and texture files. This makes it much easier to share and archive using the 3MF as there are no referenced files to misplace.
For additional information on using the 3MF file format please check out this recent Video Tech Tip by TriMech Application Engineer Andrew Sink.
Check out more of our 3D printing Video Tech Tips to expand your skills and learn more about other features and tools for 3D printing.