3D printer pumps out items in many materials and hues

Stratasys' Objet500 Connex3 3D printer is capable of creating products in one print job that are rigid, flexible, and come in hundreds of colors.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
Glasses 3D printed on the Objet500 Connex3 in one print job -- no assembly required. Stratasys

It seems like the options could be endless with a 3D printer that spewed out products in many colors and materials. And, it appears that's what 3D printer manufacture Stratasys is after with its new Objet500 Connex3.

The company unveiled its professional 3D printer on Monday, touting the machine's endless color options and various materials. The printer uses triple-jetting technology that mixes droplets of three base materials that lets users do single-run printing to create objects that can be both rigid and flexible. Additionally, the Connex3 uses the three primary colors -- cyan, magenta, and yellow -- to let users come up with hundreds of hues.

The Connex3 "produces models and parts using photopolymers in vivid colors so you can create colorful models from investigating concepts to pre-production pilot runs," Stratasys vice president of product marketing and sales operations Igal Zeitun said in a statement. We believe this 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 intended color, material properties and surface finish."

The Connex3 costs $330,000. Because of the high price tag, Stratasys appears to be marketing the machine to companies looking to create prototypes and carry out small batch production. For example, engineers at Trek Bicycle have already begun beta 3D printing accessories like bike chain stay guards and handlebar grips.

Stratasys isn't the first company to experiment with 3D printers that use various colors and materials. 3D Systems came out with its desktop CubeX 3D printer last year that let users print an object made from two different materials, and in up to three colors.

The Connex3 is expected to be available in the spring of this year.

Bike helmet 3D printed on the Objet500 Connex3. Stratasys