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3D Printer Enables Variable Gloss

3D Printer Enables Variable Gloss

Written by David

December 9, 2020

New system enables realistic variations in glossiness across a 3D-printed surface. The advance could aid fine art reproduction and the design of prosthetics. Shape, color, and gloss. Those are an object’s three most salient visual features.

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Currently, 3D printers can reproduce shape and color reasonably well. Gloss, however, remains a challenge. That’s because 3D printing hardware isn’t designed to deal with the different viscosities of the varnishes that lend surfaces a glossy or matte look.

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MIT researcher Michael Foshey and his colleagues may have a solution. They’ve developed a combined hardware and software printing system that uses off-the-shelf varnishes to finish objects with realistic, spatially varying gloss patterns. Foshey calls the advance “a chapter in the book of how to do high-fidelity appearance reproduction using a 3D printer.” He envisions a range […]

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