TechTalk: Javelin’s Professional Services team impressed with Stratasys J55 3D printer for product development

Article by Karen Majerly updated March 22, 2021


One of the latest additions in Javelin’s Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMC) in Oakville, Ontario is the office friendly, full-colour Stratasys J55 3D printer.

See the team unboxing the new printer below:

After gaining several months of experience using the J55, Print Services Applications Specialist Stefan Bullock is eager to give you his thoughts, captured in the interview below.

3D printer in the Additive Manufacturing Centre

J55 3D printer in the Additive Manufacturing Centre

Q. What is your role at Javelin?

I am part of the Professional Services team, based in the Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Oakville, Ontario. We provide custom 3D printing and scanning services for designers and manufacturers. Our people are amazing – we have expertise in a wide variety of 3D technologies so we can help customers get the best possible results.

Q. What were your first impressions of the Stratasys J55?

We liked the printer immediately for its efficiency and speed, even when files and parts are complicated. We can clear parts quickly, we spend less time on maintenance, and less material is wasted.

The showstopper though? That has to be the colour and texture results.

3D printed pebbles

Examples of colours and textures

Q. The J55 is promoted as office friendly. Tell us what that means.

This printer was created for an office or studio space. It’s quiet – no louder than a refrigerator. And there is no odour because the ProAero™ Air Extractor captures and filters out fumes.

With its small footprint, it’s great for small shops. There are no extra power requirements, connectivity is easy, and you don’t need special software or a separate host computer. File processing and transferring is done easily using GrabCAD Print, a central hub for all your Stratasys 3D printing.

Q. You are considered “the polyjet guy” at Javelin. What do you like most about the J55?

The J55 gives you all the benefits of polyjet technology (like producing accurate, smooth parts) while making the whole process easier and more efficient.

I know people will really appreciate the versatility. You can print everything from fast, low-cost design iterations (using DraftGrey™) to high quality final prototypes that are almost identical to your desired end product.

Stratasys J55 Product Design Process

Consumer product example

The J55 offers the best footprint-to-tray ratio on the market. Its rotational tray maximizes the printable space within the footprint and models print faster because the movement is continuous, not stop and go in a back-and-forth linear motion. Reduced head motion and consistent jetting also provides outstanding print quality. Basically, a complex system has been simplified for efficiency, which also reduces down time and maintenance.

Stratasys J55 3D printer in the Oakville Additive Manufacturing Centre

Stratasys J55 rotating print tray

Stratasys also relocated and added material bays and shortened the distance the material travels through the printer. We’re saving time because we don’t have to change materials as often, production is faster, and we’re using and spending less because we’re wasting less.

material bay on the J55 3D printer

J55 material bays

The variety of materials allows for rigid, transparent, or opaque models and you can load up to five materials at once. You can even do multi-colour parts in one print.

Q. Let’s talk more about colour options. What makes the J55 special here?

When design realism is important and needs to happen fast, the J55 delivers. No more hand painting! Many designers need colour accuracy in order to make decisions along the way. The J55 makes the Pantone® matching system colours available and validates them for accuracy.

Color matching is simple with the Stratasys GrabCAD Print software. This is a huge time saver because traditional color matching processes take hours and hours.

Full colour options in additive manufacturing have generally been available using powder-based technologies. Colours were pastel or dull and/or the models were fragile. The J55 offers vibrant appearance and good performance.

Sample parts from the J55 system

Sample parts from the J55 3D printer

Q. And what about creating unique textures?

Through the use of KeyShot rendering software, surface texture options can simulate materials like fabric, wood, and leather. These possibilities allow designers to see how their products will feel and fit in their intended environment.

Stratasys J55 3D printer Wood & leather simulation

Wood & leather simulation

In just one day, you can try out a few different options, then get your final selection into the hands of anyone who needs to evaluate the design, including potential customers you’re marketing to.

Q. How is the user experience so far? What features do you like?

The user interface upgrades are impressive. Compared to previous systems, it’s like night and day. The J55 can be operated with minimal training because its touchscreen interface is so intuitive. All the system wizards are accessible and easy to understand.

I also like the lighting. LEDs have replaced the UV light and fire only when necessary, so the bulbs last longer than the traditional UV bulbs. The new lamps are positioned out of the user’s line of sight so it’s no longer necessary to have tinted viewing windows in the printer, making monitoring prints way easier on the eyes.

Q. Who needs the Stratasys J55?

I can think of tons of applications. Anyone doing commercial or consumer product development will love this printer, especially if shape, feel, colour, and overall aesthetics are important as they evaluate designs. Graphic designers and animators will also appreciate the kind of realism the J55 provides.

printed part in the J55

Printed part on the rotational build tray in the J55

Because the printer is more affordable than some previous systems, it’s accessible to shops that are currently outsourcing 3D printing. They should now consider bringing additive manufacturing capabilities in house. Small shops with an office or studio environment will also love the office friendly size and features.

We have recently noticed that more and more product designers are becoming aware of the J55 and are using its in-house capabilities to bring their product development back from overseas. They are now relying on Canadian firms that can quickly produce results, while keeping their design data in house.

People who have older polyjet printers or have desktop printers will also want to consider an upgrade to the J55. It’s a smart step forward.

Download the Realism 3D Printing Guide to learn more about colour 3D printing with the Stratasys J55 3D printer 

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Karen Majerly

Karen Majerly is a communications specialist who helps remarkable people tell rich stories. She has been working with the TriMech Group of companies since 2013.