3D printer manufacturer Stratasys has launched what it says is the first 3D printer that can print both in color and with multiple materials. The Objet500 Connex3 combines droplets of three base materials to produce a variety of different material characteristics and colors.
As with a 2D inkjet printer, the Objet500 Connex3 uses three base colors, in this case cyan, magenta and yellow. The colors can be combined with photopolymer materials that offer different characteristics such as flexibility and rigidity.
The printer itself is not dissimilar in size to an office photocopier, measuring 1,400 x 1,260 x 1,100 mm (55.1 x 49.6 x 43.3 in) and weighing in at 430 kg (948 lb). Net build size is 490 × 390 × 200 mm (19.3 × 15.4 × 7.9 in) and build resolution is 600 dpi across the X and Y axes and 1600 dpi across the Z axis.
Users have the option of high speed or high quality modes, which print at 30-micron (0.001 in) or 16-micron (0.0006 in) resolution respectively, and accuracy ranges from 20-85 microns (0.0008-0.003 in) for features below 50 mm (2 in) up to 200 microns (0.008 in) for a full-size model.
Stratasys says that the main benefits of color multi-material printing are the ability to create an object without assembly or painting, thereby saving time, and the opportunity for manufacturers to review and iterate on designs more quickly, thereby bringing products to market sooner.
The Objet500 Connex3 is available now and will reportedly cost about US$330,000.
Watch the video below to find out a little more about the printer.