Sunday brought another big step forward in 3D printing: Stratasys, a Minnesota and Israel-based 3D printer manufacturer, unveiled the world’s first multi-material and multicolor 3D printer, the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer.
The Objet500 Connex3 uses a triple-jetting technology that combines three different color materials, VeroCyan, VeroMagenta and VeroYellow. Like a traditional 2D inkjet printer, this allows the Objet500 Connex 3 to combine the materials for hundreds of colors, including opaque and transparent colors. It also allows for different combinations of other materials, such as new “rubber-like Tango colors,” to produce objects with varying degrees of flexibility or rigidity.
Stratasys said the printer is designed to “address markets such as automotive, consumer and sporting goods and fashion,” noting that the Oject500 Connex 3 allows designers to create a product in the morning and hold a model of it in their hands by the afternoon, complete with intended colors, material properties and surface finish.
“This ability to achieve the characteristics of an assembled part without assembly or painting is a significant time-saver,” Stratasys said in a press release. “It helps product manufacturers validate designs and make good decisions earlier, before committing to manufacturing, and bring products to market.”
Stratasys worked with Trek Bicycle to design and produce new bike accessories -- like chain guards and handlebar grips – with the Objet500 Connex3 3D printer. They even produced a psychedelic, rainbow-colored bike helmet.
“We are particularly excited about 3D printing out models directly in color," said Mike Zeigle, the manager of prototype development at Trek. “This gives our designers the ability to graphically display color contact pressure map data on rider contact parts like seats and grips.”
As TechRadar pointed out, the ability to print in solid and transparent colors makes it possible to create replicas of Bono’s multicolored rock-star shades.
What would you create with the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer? Let us know in the comments section.
Originally from Northern California, Ryan W. Neal came to New York to earn his master's in journalism from Columbia University. He joined IB Times April 2013, and is a writer...