MIT has achieved a major breakthrough by creating a 3D printer that can use 10 different types of material at once. Most 3D printers can use only one type of material. The most any previous model has been able to achieve has been three types of material at once.
Moreover, the Mutlifab, as the MIT engineers call the new 3D printer, is cheaper and more user friendly. The model costs just $7.000, a figure that many small shops would be able to afford. It is also capable of fabricating objects without human intervention.
One of the major innovations incorporated in the Multifab is a device called machine vision. The machine vision device scans the layers as they are printed, then a mechanical device smooths them out as needed. The feature adds considerably to the quality of the objects being printed.
The Multifab will be able to create objects that will be fully functional right out of the printer, with all that implies for the future of additive manufacturing. The printer will be able to print working motors and actuators that will function right out of the device.
The downside of the Multifab is that it often takes a long time to create an object. Also the machine vision device has trouble with certain types of surfaces, such as mirrored finishes. But the MIT researchers are confident that these problems can be overcome in the fullness of time.