Adding Color to PolyJet Printed Models Using SOLIDWORKS

   By on May 26, 2020

When creating multiple iterations of a part, it can be helpful to apply a label for identification purposes. Using SOLIDWORKS, we can apply a label to our part with color and finish, then transfer those settings directly to our printer software for 3D printing on our Stratasys PolyJet machine.


For this example, I applied a label to the side of the part, extruding it, applying a separate color as an appearance and exporting a VRML file. The VRML file contains a mesh of the model, along with any appearances added in SOLIDWORKS. The next step is to import the model into GrabCAD Print, check to make sure the appearances carried over, and then send to your 3D printer.


With the model open in SOLIDWORKS, the first step of the process is to add a label to your part. The sketch is added directly to the model, and the label is created as an Extrude feature.

Extrude Feature in SOLIDWORKS
To apply a discretely colored label to the model, first apply an appearance to the entire model. From the Appearances, Scenes and Decals task pane tab, select White Satin Finish Plastic, and apply this appearance to the entire body.

Applying text to File in SOLIDWORKS
Next, apply an appearance to the label. I selected Black Satin Finish Plastic and applied it to the feature created by our text label extrusion. Once applied, you’re ready to export the file for printing.

Applying Appearances in SOLIDWORKS

Then, export the file as a VRML format, which GrabCAD Print can use as an input file. Make sure your version is set to VRML 97, and your units are set correctly. If either are set incorrectly, it can cause problems with how GrabCAD Print handles the files.

VRML File export in GrabCAD Print
After importing the file into GrabCAD Print, check to make sure the material appearance carried through with the file. Once you have confirmed the appearance and color are correct, the file is ready to be sent to the printer.

Material appearance in GrabCAD Print

That’s it! You now have a 3D printed model with a label printed directly onto the surface of the part, using the color capabilities of the Stratasys Polyjet 3D printers. 

Interested in more 3D printing tricks? Check out our growing library of  Video Tech Tips specifically for 3D printing.

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