MIT invents ‘breakthrough’ 3D printer that can print 10 different materials simultaneously

Sep 2, 2015

MIT

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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4 comments on “MIT invents ‘breakthrough’ 3D printer that can print 10 different materials simultaneously

  • Roedy
    Sep 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    It seems to me the big problem is printing something strong. If you you print in something easy to melt like solder, it will be soft.

    They can choose soft materials like rubber or plastic, or use a sintered metal process to print hard metals.

    http://www.iflscience.com/technology/3d-printed-rocket-parts-no-different-traditionally-made-parts
    3D printers are solving some of the most intricate problems in manufacturing. They have been used to print drugs, glass and even chocolate! Now, NASA is putting the 3D printer through its paces. The agency has been testing whether 3D-printed rocket engine parts can withstand the epic pressure and heat associated with a launch into space.

    So far, the researchers have not seen any difference between their 3D-printed parts and parts manufactured using more traditional means. The rocket components were blasted for a total of 46 seconds with a scorching temperature of 3,300°C (6,000°F) over a series of 11 mainstage hot-fire tests. The 3D parts faced the burning liquid oxygen and scorching gaseous hydrogen without breaking a sweat.

    Sandra Elam Greene, who oversaw the tests, said that the “two separate 3-D printed injectors operated beautifully during all hot-fire tests.”



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  • I am concerned about this technology, apart from putting a whole bunch of manufactures and their staff out of business, how long will it be before religiot governments print out their own Gods in the likeness of themselves?



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  • zula
    Sep 3, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I am concerned about this technology, apart from putting a whole bunch of manufactures and their staff out of business,

    They will simply replace obsolete technologies with new ones, as has happened since time immemorial! – and is already happening with the manufacture of rocket engine injectors i mentioned earlier.

    how long will it be before religiot governments print out their own Gods in the likeness of themselves?

    3D printed gods seem to already be available!

    https://www.pinterest.com/gauthamant/gods-godesses/
    3ders.org – First 3D printed Lord Ganesha displayed at Bangalore Metro Station in India



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