By Mary-Ann Russon
Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have made a breakthrough in the field of 3D printing, developing a 3D printer prototype that is able to print up to 10 different materials simultaneously onto a single object.
At the moment, most conventional 3D printers can only print out one material layer-by-layer at a time, whether it be plastic, metal, ceramics or wood, and users need to keep an eye on the printer as the print can easily go wrong.
Multi-material 3D printers do exist, and Stratasys launched the world’s first multi-material full-colour 3D printer in January 2014 that is able to print objects out of rubber and plastic, but it costs up to $250,000 (£159,660) and still requires a great deal of human intervention in the printing process.
However MIT’s new MultiFab 3D printer might have changed the game yet again by creating an all-in-one system costing $7,000 that can quickly print out multi-material, multi-component objects with a lot less hassle.
The open-access research paper, entitled: “MultiFab: A Machine Vision Assisted Platform for Multi-material 3D Printing” is available to read here.
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