Stratasys has launched the first printer to combine colours with multi-material 3D printing.
The the Objet500 Connex3 Colour Multi-material 3D Printer features a 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.
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 decisions earlier before committing to manufacturing.
Engineers at beta user Trek Bicycle in Wisconsin, USA are using the Objet500 Connex3 Colour Multi-material 3D Printer for assessment and testing of accessories like bike chain stay guards and handlebar grips prior to actual production.
“The Objet500 Connex3 Colour Multi-material 3D Printer changed the way we manufacture at Trek, augmenting our traditional, time-consuming CNC processes with fast, iterative and realistic prototyping and functional testing,” says Mike Zeigle, manager of Trek’s prototype development group.
“Now we produce bicycle parts that look and feel like production parts. We are particularly excited about 3D printing our models directly in colour. This gives our designers the ability to graphically display colour 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,” adds Zeigle.
Similar to a 2D inkjet printer, three colour materials – VeroCyan, VeroMagenta and VeroYellow – are combined to produce hundreds of vivid colours.
These colour materials join Stratasys’ range of PolyJet photopolymer materials including digital materials, rigid, rubber-like, transparent, and high temperature materials to simulate standard and high temperature engineering plastics.
The Objet500 Connex3 Colour Multi-material 3D Printer also features six palettes for new rubber-like Tango colours, ranging from opaque to transparent colours in various shore values to address markets such as automotive, consumer and sporting goods and fashion.