Friday, December 30, 2011

How Far Have 3D Printers Come in the Last 12 Years?

As Objet is celebrating its 13th birthday this month I thought it would be a good time to show this great photo, kindly provided by Eduardo Napadensky. (Can you believe it was so old that I actually had to scan it?)

On the left is what our 3D printers looked like at the very beginning. This was the Objet Quadra Tempo back in the early days of 2000, with Eduardo in yellow and Avi Cohen in the white lab coat.

And in the photo below is where we are today, a mere 12 years later. Avi (now Head of Objet Medical and Dental Solutions) and Eduardo (now Chief Technology Officer) stand next to Objet's newest multi-material 3D printer – the Objet260 Connex, released in July.

The original Quadra Tempo was a game changer in its time. Delivering 20 micron print layers, the machine featured 1536 jet nozzles in 4 print heads, based in a single block and the machine printed one material, known in its time as M510.

In comparison, today's Objet260 Connex delivers double the print quality, from just half the number of print nozzles, at a significantly higher run speed – and in a machine with half the footprint.

In place of just one material it features a choice of 68 different materials with ranging properties from opaque to transparent, rigid to flexible, and standard to engineering plastics. It can also combine up to 14 different material properties and color shades within a single model prototype (!)

Here's to many more incredible developments in 3D printing and rapid prototyping from Objet in the years ahead…

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