Here's how a new 3D printer adds a dash of colour

Minnesota-based company Stratasys has unveiled the world's first 3D printer that combines colours with multi-material printing.

The 3D printing firm branded its latest device a "game-changer for product design, engineering and manufacturing processes."

The new printer uses triple-jetting technology that combines droplets of three base materials to produce products with almost unlimited combinations of rigid, flexible, and transparent colour materials as well as colour digital materials - all in a single print run.

The Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer will reduce the need for multiple runs and painting which could lead to significant time savings for designers and manufacturers. The ability to produce products integrating materials of varying rigidity and colour has long been an objective of 3D printing companies.

However, firms and individuals hoping to get their hands on the latest that 3D printing has to offer could face shelling out as much as $330,000 (£200,000).

Startsys drew attention to an existing case study of the new technology.

Engineers at Trek Bicycle in Waterloo, Wisconsin have used the Objet500 Connex3 for bicycle components and testing of accessories.

Mike Zeigle, manager of Trek's prototype development group, said:

Now we produce bicycle parts that look and feel like production parts. We are particularly excited about 3D printing our models directly in color. This gives our designers the ability to graphically display color contact pressure map data on rider contact parts like seats and grips. We are also working on doing the same with FEA & CFD stress data on structural bike components.