3D printers of the week: the Fuel3D, the Objet500 Connex3 and the Mark One

The Fuel3D scanner

The first images of the Fuel3D handheld scanner have been unveiled and it looks pretty snazzy. The product of a £196,000 Kickstarter campaign, the scanners combine pre-calibrated stereo cameras with photometric imaging, meaning 3D models can be snapped and processed in seconds.

fuel3d

Fuel3D designed the scanner for maximum usability and anybody who can point and shoot on a digital camera should have little or no trouble working the controls. A viewing window has been incorporated on the final design and a target-finder application is available, to make aligning the camera perfectly with your subject easy.

Though it began life in an Oxford University lab, the Fuel3D scanner will be officially launched at the 3D Printer World Expo in Burbank California, before shipping next September for an estimated price of £760.

The Objet500 Connex3

It’s finally here: Stratasys’ multicolour and multi-material, industrial level 3D printer. The Objet500 Connex3 comes with triple jetting technology, which is based on full colour 2D printing colour mixing. By blending droplets from three base colours (cyan, magenta and yellow), the machine allows users to create objects in hundreds of distinctive colours, while the base materials of rubber and plastic can be combined and treated to create objects of all levels of flexibility, opacity and transparency.

Objet500

Stratasys VP of product marketing and sales operations, Igal Zeitun, describes the device like this:

We believe the Objet500 Connex3 Colour Multi-material 3D Printer is in a league of its own, enabling you to dream up a product in the morning and hold it in your hands by the afternoon, with the exact colour, material properties and surface finish.

It’s a major new machine, built to suit the prototyping needs of large scale manufacturers. It’s expensive too, however, with a $300,000 price tag.

The Mark One carbon fibre 3D printer

Mark Forg3D’s Mark One carbon fibre printer took everybody by surprise with its launch this week. Not only was this machine’s development kept ultra-secret over the last twelve months, it is the first ever device to print in carbon fibre.

Mark One

What makes carbon fibre so special is the extraordinary mixture of durability, light weight and flexibility that it offers. In fact, it’s a full 20 times stronger than ABS, which makes it stronger than solid aluminium. But the Mark One does not restrict you when it comes to what you print, as it also supports PLA, nylon and fibreglass.

Mark One Carbon Fibre

You can even print objects that are only partially carbon fibre, using it to reinforce PLA or nylon items with an extra layer of strength. This offers you greater flexibility and cost effectiveness. Plus, there’s a print bed that requires no leveling and a generous 305 x 160 x 160 mm build volume and 0.1mm accuracy.

Right now, it remains a prototype but it should be on the market by June 2014 for just $5,000 (about £3020).

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