Bike helmet 3D printed on the Objet500 Connex3 in one print job using VeroCyan, VeroMagenta, and VeroYellow
Stratasys Ltd., a manufacturer of 3D printers and materials for personal use, prototyping, and production, has launched what is says is the first and only multi-material colour 3D printer.
The new Objet500 Connex3 3D printer is said to feature a unique triple-jetting technology that combines droplets of three base materials to produce parts with “virtually unlimited” combinations of rigid, flexible, and transparent colour materials and digital materials in a single print run.
Stratasys describes the new printer as a “game-changer” for product design, engineering and manufacturing processes, stating that the Connex3’s ability to achieve the characteristics of an assembled part without assembly or painting is a significant time-saver. Designed to help product manufacturers validate designs and make good decisions earlier, before committing to manufacturing, the technology helps bring products to market faster, says the company.
“The Connex range has long captivated the market with its multi-material capabilities and the addition of colour to the system is bound to create a real stir in product development,” said James Woodcock, Editor of TCT, the magazine for Additive Manufacturing and Industrial 3D Printing. Although the initial images released by Stratasys show parts in a range of colours, they are not quite the ‘full’ colour of some of the company’s competitors, according to Woodcock, but the fact that soft, hard and opaque areas can be built in a single part, with colour, is something he describes as “truly exciting”.
Similar to a 2D inkjet printer, three new colour materials - VeroCyan, VeroMagenta and VeroYellow - are combined to produce a wide variety of colour combinations. These colour materials join Stratasys’ range of PolyJet photopolymer materials including digital materials, rigid, rubber-like, transparent, and high temperature materials to simulate standard and high temperature engineering plastics.
Stratasys has also developed six colour palettes for its rubber-like material, Tango. Ranging from opaque to transparent colours in various shore values to address markets such as automotive, consumer and sporting goods and fashion, these are expected to be available commercially in Q2 2014.