A multi-material 3D printer that can print in a wide range of colours has been unveiled in San Diego.  The model has been unveiled recently by the manufacturers of the Makerbot series of printers, Stratasys at the SolidWorks World trade show.

According to the printing company, the new 3D printer features a printing technology called triple-jetting. The system combines droplets of three different base materials to reduce the need for separate print runs and painting.  Basically, it works in the same manner that a colour inkjet printer works, by combining the colours together.

The company has said that the Objet500 Connex3 Color printer, will prove be a “significant time-saver” for users of 3D printers, such as designers and manufacturers.  Stratasys have said the Multi Material 3D printer will be priced at $330,000 (around £200,000).

stratasys 3D Printing

The base materials for all of the products that can be produced through the printer are rubber and plastic. But multiple colours can be used of each material to produce a range of different products, because they can incorporate a traditional 2D style of colour mixing, using cyan, magenta and yellow.  Stratasys says multi-material objects can then be printed in hundreds of different colours.

The firm used the example of cycle helmets as a product it can produce with this new style of 3D printer.  Stratasys’s marketing manager, Bruce Bradshaw told the BBC: “This will help industrial designers reduce the time it takes to bring prototypes to market by 50 per cent”.

This type of 3D printer is not the first multi-material device to be launched, but it does have support for a much wider range of colours.

[Image via wired]

SOURCE: http://www.t3.com/news/us-firm-unveils-multi-material-3d-printer