Beyond Connex3: What Would a True Color 3D Printer Be?

By on February 14th, 2014 in Ideas

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With the excitement from Stratasys’ recent announcement of the color Connex3 technology, we’re wondering where this is going next. 
The Connex3 technology involves using three separate liquid resin feeds into a special print head that can mix them in different ratios. In this way the Connex3 can produce a variety of colors and materials simply by loading different combinations of three resins. 
However, there’s some limitations with Connex3, as we’ve said before. If you’re using any non-color resins, you no longer have a full color palette to work with. So Connex3 is not always full color. 

But let’s imagine how this technology may evolve in the future. We’re thinking the end state will be what we might call “Connex7”, a print head that could mix up to seven different resins in varying ratios. The resins would be: 

  • Cyan, Magenta, Yellow for full range of RGB colors
  • Black, because you can’t get true black with a mix of CYM
  • White, for the same reason
  • Clear, for elements requiring no color at all
  • Flexible, for any portions requiring bendability

A theoretical Connex7 device would need only these resins to be able to 3D print a huge variety of full color objects. You’d simply top up your resins when they empty, in much the same manner as you’d do on a 2D inkjet printer. 
When might something like Connex7 arrive? We’re thinking several years out, but we don’t doubt that it’s being worked on, somewhere deep in the Stratasys labs. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!