MIT researchers announced that they had designed the first 3-D printer that can print up to 10 materials at once.
Plus, the new device also has a self-correction feature, can embed complex objects onto 3-D printed items, and is a lot cheaper and user-friendly than other versions of 3-D printers out there.
To this day, 3-D printers can only print one material at a time, so users need to assembly them manually later on. There are also some models that can print up to 3 different materials in one go, but they are pretty expensive – $250,000 each – and need a human operator to assembly components.
This week, a MIT team of engineers revealed the world’s first multimaterial 3-D printer that is both less expensive and more efficient than other models: the MultiFab 3-D printer. It can print up to 10 materials at a time and only costs $7,000. And that price may get even lower as the device becomes more popular.
The new printer is also equipped with cutting edge 3-D scanning technology that can scan the items to be printed at a high resolution (about 40 microns, which is less than half the width of a human hair) and produce “correction masks” whenever the printer ‘senses’ that the scanning process was not accurate. Yes, the printer can self-calibrate and auto-correct saving energy and precious time for the user.
The new 3-D printer also has two major advantages.
First, it doesn’t require for users to fine tune the scanning process for each layer of the item. The printer’s system can do that for you and self correct in the process. By doing so a lot of material is saved and the print accuracy is guaranteed.
Second, MIT’s 3-D printer allows users to incorporate already built materials such as a blade into 3-D printed objects such as a plastic blade support. These separate parts are embedded in a single move while the device is printing the 3-D printed parts.
Javier Ramos, senior researcher of the engineering team which designed MultiFab, hopes that the new 3-D printer would help common users and professionals alike to produce wonderful objects that otherwise would have been impossible to print with conventional technology.
Until now, MultiFab produced several Led lenses and smartphone cases, but its makers plan to use it to print more complex items such as embedded actuators that can be later used to produce 3-D printed robots.
Image Source: Pixabay
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