From the minds of an MIT lab team, a new device that allows for complex 3-D printed objects using 10 different source materials, which itself was created from off-the-shelf parts, pushes the 3-D printing technology further along.
A new technology developed by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory allows for the creation of objects from up to 10 different source materials, including lens, fiber-optics, and fabrics.
According to Wired, the device came into being from off-the-shelf parts that cost around $7,000. While traditional multi-material printers use a mechanical system that sweeps each layer of the object being created in order to ensure it is flat and correctly aligned, the device created by the lab team at MIT uses a machine-vision system. This system allows for precise scanning – down to about 40 microns – in order to reduce the need for such pricey components.
In addition to this new MultiFab device, the team also developed a new-3D scanner that would allow for a large area being scanned, in high resolution, for the device to ‘understand’ what it is printing, even if the object being scanned is transparent.
The hope is that with this new technology, with all of the properties it brings to the current 3-D printing world, will allow for objects, no matter how complex, to be printed in one single take. With this, objects wouldn’t have to be assembled after being produced by different devices.
“We want to combine materials that have functional properties either mechanically, which is what we’ve demonstrated, optically, or semiconducting,” project engineer Javier Ramos told Wired.
While not able to produce complex objects, such as those needed by architects, engineers, or mechanics, this machine is a step towards a future of easily obtainable objects.