If seeing is believing, what then is holding? I say it's one of life's little pleasures, unless, alas, it's the unearthed skull of a fellow of infinite jest. Design engineers have and will always see a lot of their work at all different stages -- on screen and paper. But a growing number of leading-edge engineers also get to see and hold in their hands their evolving ideas. The tactile quality of holding your notions with nature's own hand is one of the beauties of 3D printing. And the idea of 3D printing just got a lot more beauty to it with the introduction of the Objet260 Connex 3D printer from Objet Geometries.
The cool with the Objet260 Connex comes down to this: You can print a single 3D model made of up to 14 individual materials, according to the company. The materials can have different textures and colors, and the materials can have different thermal, mechanical, and physical properties -- say, flexible rubber, transparent, or ABS-like.
The specs for the Objet260 Connex seem good too: a 10-x-9.9-x-7.9-in. build size and layer sizes ranging from 16 to 30 microns depending on your operating mode. Accuracy is a little tricky because you can choose to build your 3D models from more than 50 materials. The company says that typical accuracy for the Objet260 Connex ranges from 20-85um for rigid model features below 50mm up to 200um for full-size rigid models. And it is sized right to fit into your office next to the copier.
More details on the Objet260 are available in today's Pick of the Week write-up. The video linked off the write-up has some pretty good examples of the type of things you can print with the Objet260 Connex, and you'll probably want to check out the materials Objet has available from another link.
3D printing once was more matter with less art. Actually, the art of design was always there. So, maybe it was something more like Henry Ford's wisecrack that you can have every color you want as long as it is black (or white or gray, depending on the material). Color for 3D printing has been available before, of course. But Objet Geometries seems to be trying to take the use of color into a different plane by mating it with a broad selection of materials with all sorts of material qualities. Give it a look.
Thanks, pal. -- Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
Read today's Pick of the Week write-up.
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