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A Closer Look at How 3D Color Printing Could Change the World

Not everything always came in technicolor; TVs, movies, and photography only existed in black and white for the beginning. And while 3D printing has been largely stuck with single-color creations, it's recently started to explore more colorful results. Objet500 Connex3 is the latest along those lines, a machine that can print in 46 hues and multiple materials.

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It also has the ability to print in several different materials to make a prototype with moving parts, whether they're super strong photopolymer or your run-of-the-mill ABS. The cool part is all these components—from the colors to the materials—can go straight into a single printed item, without post-production assembly from you. Some of the examples Stratasys has shown off is a multi-hued football helmet with both facemask and helmet, or a shoe with a soft interior and a stronger rubber outsole.

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The Connex3 is a CAD-based system in an industrial-sized setup, and it's probably very expensive for just your regular old hobbyist. Price wasn't listed on the site, but if you're interested in getting a quote, you can inquire here. While you might not see these more specific features in say, the next version of a MakerBot Mini, a machine like the Connex3 is pretty safe evidence that 3D printing is finally getting ready to ditch Kansas for Oz. [Stratasys]

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DISCUSSION

That video really pushed my cheesy buttons. By the fourth time they showed that helmet, I was imagining the actors saying things like, "Look at the pretty colors. It's colorful. See how many colors? Mmm. Pretty."

Don't get me wrong. It's very cool and everything and this bodes well for the future of manufacturing. I'd have liked the video to look a lot less contrived, however.