Stratasys has dropped a full-color 3D printed bombshell with the introduction of the new J55 3D Printer that combines a number of features in a printer that’s sized and priced for small and medium design and engineering business.

The J55 is a full-color 3D printer with a rotating build platform, stationary head, odor-free operation, native 3D file format support, 3MF file format support, with clear, 478k color gamut, and Pantone support. This all comes together at a price of $99,000, half of their J8 PolyJet shop series with much of the capability in a footprint that’s just a bit over 4 sq ft.

The Stratasys J55 with a small 4.6 sq ft (.43 sq m) footprint.

They call the J55 a “full-color, office-friendly 3D printer for designers” and the features reveal a lot about that. It hits a sweet spot between desktop and shop-size 3D printers that has been mostly dismissed; a spot where prototyping could save the cost of the printer in a single project alone.

As Tim Greene, a research director for 3D printing at global research firm IDC says, “We know that the risk and time involved with traditional prototyping simply doesn’t work anymore, yet there’s no room for compromise on design. Designers can and should do a lot more prototyping in-house, from initial concept modeling to highly realistic final prototypes. It’s just been a matter of bringing enterprise quality to a design shop’s price point and workspace. And now we’re there.”

The printer uses the same model and support material as the PolyJet printers with the same texture and transparency capabilities and support for X-Rite Pantone colors.

The range of realistic colors and texture capabilities on the J55.

Where this all comes together to greatly simplify the process and improve the quality is the native support for 3D file formats. This includes support for SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, PTC Creo, NX, and Inventor CAD file formats, as well as direct full-color printing of KeyShot rendered scenes through a new 3MF color workflow.

From KeyShot rendering to 3D print on the J55 with Pantone verified colors.

With a focus on designers and the prototyping process the 3D render from KeyShot to 3D print on the J55, with support for clear/translucent materials, gradients, and Pantone colors

The 3MF color workflow from KeyShot to the J55 allows visual and physical consistency.

This file format support, made possible by GrabCAD Print, is significant in an industry where the workflow has depended largely on low-quality STL, OBJ, and VRML files.

With the small footprint, a sub-53 dB noise level, their zero-odor ProAero™ Air Extractor, and single-phase (120/220 VAC) power, Stratasys have designed this for the office workspace.

The J55 is expected to ship July 2020 with pre-orders available now and the 3MF color workflow from KeyShot currently in beta and expected in Fall 2020.

J55 Full-Color 3D Printer Specs

Category Spec
Model Materials VeroCyanV, VeroMagentaV, VeroYellowV, VeroPureWhite, VeroBlackPlus, VeroClear, DraftGrey
Support Materials SUP710
Cartridge capacity 5 (+ support)
Build Size 1,174 cm² (182 inches²)
Build Volume 1,340 cubic inches (22 liters)
Layer Thickness 18 microns (.0007 in)
Network Connectivity LAN – TCP/IP
System Size 651 x 661 x 1551 mm (25.63 x 26.02 x 61.06 in.)
System Weight 228 kg (503 lbs)
Operating Sound Under 53 dB
Operating Requirements 100–120 VAC, 50–60 Hz, 6A, 1 phase
220–240 VAC, 50–60 Hz, 3A, 1 phase
Regulatory Compliance CE, FCC, EAC
Software GrabCAD Print
Build Modes 18.75 microns (High Quality Speed)
Accuracy Deviation ±0.15 – 0.2% of part length (parts above 100mm)

You can get an interactive overview of the new printer here and read the full press release here.

The J55, in its native environment.

Full Disclosure: Josh Mings, Founder of SolidSmack, previously worked for GrabCAD, now owned by Stratasys. He also handled marketing for Luxion and continues to work with them as a client.