BotObjects announces first full color 3D printer— ProDesk3D

May 01, 2013 by Bob Yirka report

(Phys.org) —Co-founders of a company called botObjects have announced on their website, the development of a full color 3D printer, the first of its kind. Until now, most 3D printers have been either monochrome or were able to use just a few select colors. The new printer from botObjects—called the ProDesk3D—its makers claim, is able to print three dimensional objects using virtually the same color palette as 2D color printers.

3D printing is achieved by melting certain kinds of plastic then using it as ink to print onto a surface—letting it cool and harden, then reprinting over the same surface causes the ink to build up, creating a three dimensional effect. Most 3D printers use either ABS or PLA— that are suitable for quick melting, cooling and hardening in a way that doesn't impact their color or structure. The ProDesk3D uses PLA—Polylactic Acid—a that can be melted over and over again without losing its integrity, making it a popular choice for 3D modeling and printing. To create the myriad of colors claimed, five color cartridges are used and just like ink jet technology, are mixed together to create new colors and shades.

In their announcement, company co-founders Mike Duma (CTO) and Martin Warner (CEO) said that their new printer is just what the technology world has been waiting for—a printer that can print full color 3D objects in an affordable design. They note also that a lot of effort has also gone into the design of the case, resulting in a look they describe as an "artistic presence"—one that people would be proud to display on their desks.

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The two also point out that as a company with a history of creating software to control 3D printers for other brands, they are at the forefront of design, which has resulted, they say, in a very easy to use product thanks to its user friendly design. They say it's extremely precise as well—offering precision to 25 microns.

Thus far, the company has not revealed how much the new printer will cost, nor have they demonstrated it to anyone outside of the company, or given a firm date on when customers can expect to put in an order. Thus, the new printer and its abilities are still a bit of a mystery. But, if it lives up to the claims of its developers, it's likely to create a whole new type of computer application—from modeling and/or prototyping to the creation of on-the-fly products that can be used the moment they have finished printing.

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More information: botobjects.com/
Press release: botobjects.com/botObjects_Press_Release_042913.pdf

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plaasjaapie
2.3 / 5 (3) May 01, 2013
LOL! Of course, you can melt your full-colour PLA print in a cup of hot coffee. :-D
Tektrix
1 / 5 (1) May 01, 2013
Who is going to be liable for the safety and performance of a replicated part? The file creator? The printer manufacturer? The part material manufacturer? The printer owner? And copyrights . . . how does that work in these situations? Will there be DRM'd parts?

The lawyers already have their fingers deep into the entire 3-D printing arena, especially around the patents and design copyrights. It's a contentious field already, and some open-source initiatives are starting to crack under the commercial potential these things have- just too much money to be made to give it away.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (2) May 01, 2013
Who is going to be liable for the safety and performance of a replicated part?

You build it - it's your problem.

But on the plus side: people who put best designs on the web for no charge aren't beholden to corporate strategies (i.e.: "make it as cheap as possible, with as little material as possible...and please design it so that it fails as soon as the warranty runs out"). So I'd argue that we'll be seeing good products quickly replacing faulty design.

On the other hand that still means there will be a market for specialty parts that do need to conform to some very tough standards - because the individual can't have a testing lab in their basement. But the amount of those parts are few and far between.

baudrunner
1 / 5 (2) May 01, 2013
Serious proto-typers don't care whether there are more than two colors or two plastics so long as the printer meets their expectations and produces a viable prototype. Most engineers wouldn't use PLA because of what plaasjaapie wrote. Add the subtly different thermal properties that darker and lighter colored parts will have and you have a model that will warp and appear to go soft over time, maybe rather quickly. When they come up with an ABS machine with the same capabilities, then they will raise eyebrows.
TheKnowItAll
not rated yet May 02, 2013
Clearly this product is not for serious printing but more for home use in the same way that pretty much everyone has an inkjet, they could have one of those. What I would like to see is a 3D printer that could manage a base of 11"x8" so that we could print 2D or 3D. Why print on paper if you can print your own paper?
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (1) May 02, 2013
Why print on paper if you can print your own paper?

1) Because printing on paper is vastly cheaper (and likely to remain so)?
2) Because printing on paper is vastly faster (and likely to remain so)?

3D printing is for those times when you need something an it's too complicated to get it made (or there is no one who actually makes what you need) AND time is not an immediate issue.
If you want to print out 100 pages while also 'printing' the paper you'll be there all night.