21 Feb 2014, Singapore — Stratasys, the world's leading manufacturer of 3D Printers and 3D Production system announced the launch of the world's first multi-colour printer, the Objet500 Connex3. The technology allows the unique ability to print in colour and multiple materials in a single print run. This essentially means future 3D printers should have the ability to print composite materials with varying levels of strength, translucency and bio-compatibility e.g. It's possible to print a pair of googles with soft rubber foam lining.
"With a few base materials, we can use 3D printers to create new materials. Colour is just the first step," said Ofer Nir, Director of Product Management, Stratasys.
The commercial applications of 3D printing also extends to fashion design. Yuima Nakazato named the hottest young designer by V Magazine, a Japanese fashion magazine, in 2011 is one of the early adopters. Nakazato professional fame was firmly established when he created stage costumes for Lady Gaga, proudly showcased a 3D printed costume at the launch event.
Stratasys is also the parent company of the world's leading consumer 3D Printer brand, Makerbot. Its current market share for the personal 3D Printer space is valued at 63%. Earlier this year, Markerbot, announced its new Replicator series at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 at Las Vegas. The unique selling point for the new series of printers is the fast set-up time, on-board camera to monitor and record the print process and cloud-based 3D Ecosystem, which allows users to purchase 3D models from their online store. Each 3D model could be purchased at US$0.99 each similar to the Apple App store.
Makerbot shared one of its user stories where children in Sudan with missing limbs who requires prosthetic parts can now print these parts out cheaply instead of replacing it every year they grow. The cost of materials cost US$20 vs a replacement, which cost from US$1000 onwards. Read more about the story on their blog.
Makerbot also revealed its plans to donate 3D printers to schools in the USA for educational use through the Makerbot Academy.
Metalworks will be looking to tap onto the Objet500 Connex3 at local universities who have invested heavily into acquiring industrial grade machinery for future client projects, including clients in the fashion industry.
More photos from the event here: Stratasys Innovation Day: 3D Printing - a set on Flickr