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Formlabs introduces the all new Formlabs Texture Engine for 3D Printing Texture

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Formlabs Texture Engine for 3D printing texture
Formlabs Texture Engine for 3D printing texture/Source: Formlabs

Formlabs, a leading manufacturer of SLA 3D printers, has released the Formlabs Texture Engine in beta form, marking a significant advancement in 3D printing technology. This ground-breaking development provides a web-based application for seamlessly applying textures to 3D models, with the goal of revolutionising the production of textured or patterned 3D printed parts.

The Formlabs Texture Engine is a free, lightweight tool that allows you to quickly add surface textures and patterns directly to 3D models, making them ready for printing.

Formlabs Texture Engine for 3D Printing Texture

Texture applied on a CAD model
Texture applied on a CAD model/Source: Formlabs

Traditionally, incorporating textures into plastic parts required additional processes such as photochemical etching or laser etching on machined moulds. However, 3D printing technologies have evolved to produce parts with enough detail to directly print textured components, bypassing these secondary processes entirely. Despite the capabilities of modern CAD tools, applying texture has remained a difficult task.

The Formlabs Texture Engine makes this process easier, allowing engineers and product designers to quickly apply desired textures to their 3D models for rapid prototyping and production.

Streamlined Workflow for Applying Textures

Orienting the textured part in PreForm and adding supports (for SLA printing)
Orienting the textured part in PreForm and adding supports (for SLA printing)/Source: Formlabs

Texturing 3D models with the Formlabs Texture Engine involves a few simple steps. Users begin by exporting their CAD body to a mesh, which can be done in a variety of ways depending on whether the starting point is a CAD body or a mesh. The next step is to import the.stl file into the Texture Engine and apply a displacement map to the model.

This step is critical for defining the texture’s appearance, with adjustable parameters for scale, amplitude, sharpness, offset, and maximum triangles to ensure the best results.

After texturing is complete, users can generate the final textured part, which retains the coordinates from the original CAD/Mesh file. This file can then be imported back into the CAD tool to see how the texture looks or to prepare for direct 3D printing. The Formlabs Texture Engine also provides tips for orienting and preparing the part for printing in order to reduce support contact with the textured surface and avoid artefacts.

Facilitating Rapid Prototyping and Production

Textured football printed with the Fuse 1+ 30W SLS 3D printer
Textured football printed with the Fuse 1+ 30W SLS 3D printer/Source: Formlabs

The Formlabs Texture Engine is notable for its ease of use and ability to iterate quickly, making it an indispensable tool for those looking to improve the aesthetic and functional aspects of their 3D printed parts. By providing a web-based platform for texture application, Formlabs addresses a significant need in the 3D printing community for a more efficient and streamlined process.

This advancement is expected to benefit a wide range of applications by enabling faster iterations and the production of textured or patterned 3D printed parts without the need for additional processing steps.

The launch of the Texture Engine demonstrates Formlabs’ commitment to improving 3D printing technologies, which is expected to open up new possibilities for designers and engineers alike. The beta version of the Texture Engine is now available, allowing users to explore its capabilities and contribute to its ongoing development.


About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D Printing. Visit our Tech News page for more updates on Global 3D Printing News. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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About author
Abhimanyu Chavan is the founder of Manufactur3D Magazine. He writes on Additive Manufacturing technology, interviews industry leaders, shares industry insights, and expresses his thoughts on the latest developments in the industry. You can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
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