Printing Out Awesome

What if I told you that someday you could create a 3D image using specific software, send this file to your printer, and create a perfect 3D model of the image?  So perfect in fact, that you’d need a magnifying glass to see any of the details.  What if I told you that this day I speak of already happened years ago?  What if I told you that it’s even better?

Welcome to the Connex500.

What is it?  It is a very sophisticated 3D printing system developed by Objet to create anything the mind can dream up.  This new machine is capable of creating parts and assemblies using up to 14 different materials all at once, in one printing.  I know what you’re thinking… ooh, fascinating…  why should I care?  Well, if you’re a geek like me you’re foaming at the mouth to get one of these (well, your company anyway since these don’t come cheap).  What this machine can do that has never been done before is meld different materials together in a single process, saving loads of time and money, and creates prototypes literally overnight.

This means that all of those lead times from vendors stating 4-6 weeks and hundreds to thousands of dollars in tooling including first article samples are virtually a thing of the past.  New concepts can be tested and proven (or disproven) in less than a week.  In my field as an electro-mechanical project engineer this is unheard of.

For those out there who don’t particularly care about the gizmo side of this crazy cool contraption let me rephrase this into something you really care about; Master Chief Suit of armor from Halo.  This machine is capable of creating a full size replica suit of armor using different types of materials to make the armor plate, the visor, and the gloves, to name a few.  Every one of your favorite game heroes, comic legends, or anything else you can dream up can be made using this machine in astonishing detail (depending on the detail level of the file imported into the machine).

How can this possible get any cooler? This seems so amazing that it couldn’t possibly get any better, but it might in the future.  While it is a bit unrealistic to think about using one of these machines for home use, imagine how we can use this technology and shrink it down to something that CAN fit inside your house.  Think of it as the Ultimate appliance that you just absolutely could not live without, because you would be able to print out a couch you downloaded from online, an entire living room, or perhaps the perfect gaming lounge.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.