Objet Geometries today (July 6) unveiled an office-friendly, compact and multi-material enabled 3D printer – the Objet260 Connex. It is the first 3D printer of this size that can print in multiple materials with properties that are close to engineering plastics (ABS-like) grade materials.
The new printer is based on the company’s inkjet 3D printing technology, currently the only rapid prototyping system able to jet two materials simultaneously. It allows customers to choose from an extremely wide range of composite materials when building 3D models. The system can also print a model replica made of up to 14 individual materials in one print run.
Commenting on the new 3D printer, David Reis, CEO for Objet said: “The compact Objet260 Connex brings our high-resolution, multi-material 3D printing to new levels of accessibility for front-line designers and engineers who demand the highest quality prototypes and true-product representation. And all this in a system that is quiet, reliable and small enough to run in the corner of any office.”
Objects new system allows the user to print complex prototypes, combining different materials and joining them together in relatively complex ways. Examples of the type of models that could be created are rigid walls with flexible, rubber-like joints or models combining transparent and opaque parts.
Eli B. Hamou, R&D product manager at Medtronic, a leading medical technology provider praised the new printer: “[The new printer] allows us to produce realistic anatomical models and prototypes of our medical devices by printing both rigid and flexible material elements in a single print job. This has enabled us to develop better end-products in far less time.”
Lucien Hirschi, CEO of Zedax SA, a Swiss 3D printing service bureau said: “As the only platform able to simulate the different material properties of assembled watches, the Objet260 Connex gives us a major advantage and enables us to expand our business opportunities.”
The rise of additive manufacturing and the decreasing average price of such 3D printers has caused a wave of commentary on the subject, with The Economist devoting a page to its free edition last month. Issues such as intellectual property rights and the effect the introduction of cheap 3D printers will have on the manufacturing industry in countries such as the UK.
The Objet Connex family of 3D printers is the recipient of the EuroMold 2007 Innovation Award, recognizing the most innovative developments from the fields of mould-making and tooling, design and application development. It is used at companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Adidas AG, Trek Bicycles, DRS Tactical Systems, Vista Technologies, IPF, Zedax and Medtronic, among others.