Stratasys Plastic 3D printer for coloured, multi-component parts

Editor: Eric Culp

The unit is reportedly the first and only 3D printer to combine colours with multi-material 3D printing.

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An example of the design possibilities the printer offers.
An example of the design possibilities the printer offers.
(Source: Stratasys)

The Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer, touted as a game-changer for product design, engineering and manufacturing processes, features 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 as well as colour digital materials – all in a single print run.

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The company said this ability to achieve the characteristics of an assembled part without assembly or painting is a significant time-saver. It helps product manufacturers validate designs and make good decisions earlier before committing to manufacturing, and bring products to market faster.

The company said its goal is to help customers revolutionise their design and manufacturing processes. It noted that the new system will transform the way its customers design, engineer and make new products.

Engineers at US-based beta user Trek Bicycle are said to be using the unit for assessment and testing of accessories like bike chain stay guards and handlebar grips prior to actual production. The firm noted that the printer changed the way it manufactures and augmented the traditional, time-consuming CNC processes with fast, iterative and realistic prototyping and functional testing.

The company said it now produces bicycle components parts that look and feel like production parts. It lauded the 3D printing of its models directly in colour, a factor that provides designers with the ability to graphically display colour contact pressure map data on rider contact parts like seats and grips. The bike manufacturer said, it has also been working on performing the same type of operations with FEA & CFD stress data on structural bike components.

Similar to a 2D inkjet printer, three colour materials - Vero Cyan, Vero Magenta and Vero Yellow - can be combined to make hundreds of vivid colors, Stratasys said.

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