If you ask me, 3D printing is the next big thing in terms of on-demand manufacturing – and eventually in-home manufacturing. While the technology is only in its infancy, even low-cost printers have proven that if you’ve got enough time and patience that you can actually render fairly complex objects on your desktop. The guys over at Objet are focused more on commercial grade 3D printers, which makes them even more precise and capable than the type I’ve seen up close and personal.
Objet is showing off prints from their Connex500 printer which are so detailed that you’d need a magnifying glass to see how precise they are. This industrial-strength 3D printer is capable of outputting details at a 16 micron resolution, and as shown in these samples, can even print with multiple materials at the same time. In this case, the opaque 3D objects are suspended inside another clear 3D object – despite being printed all in one step. In fact, the Connex500 can print with up to 14 materials in a single print job.
If you have any doubt how detailed these 3D prints are, just look at how much information is preserved relative to the guy’s fingers. Pretty incredible stuff, especially when the 3D prints I’m used to seeing from Makerbots and the like are all jaggy around the edges.
These particular elements were Objet’s contribution to a multi-vendor 3D puzzle cube which visitors needed to collect pieces of at the recent RAPID show in Atlanta. I so wish I could get my hands on one of these for my desk. (The cube, that is and not the printer – though I wouldn’t turn that down either.)
[via Objet Blog]