Recently HP has launched four new 3D printers capable of printing in full color with multiple materials at the same time. The Jet Fusion 300 and 500 3D printers, both of which are available in black and white are HP’s next step in democratizing 3D printing. Designed with the intention of small to medium operations, the machines start at about $50,000 and can even get up to $100,000 depending on the configuration. I would not call this consumer-friendly pricing but it can be a small investment for teams looking to prototype products such as 3D printed shoes. What sets the printers apart is their ability to work as voxel-level, which means it can create full-color objects. HP has already worked with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Yazaki Corp., and Youngstown State University to look for new purposes for full-color 3D printing technology.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital has used the full-color 3D printing to create an anatomical model of a patient’s heart that has a complex defect. With this doctors can visualize the optimal surgical path and explain to the patient’s family what will happen. Aside from color, HP is working with partners such as SolidWorks to boost its Open Platform. This helps develop different materials that will be used by the Jet Fusion printers. While the Jet Fusion printer is printing a design, it will be able to change the material used to alter the final product. Imagine a 3D printed shoe insert that has a fabric-like material for the top and a springy platform for support. It could all be made in a single process and 3DShoes.com loves the idea of that possibility. HP expects that 3D printing will be a vital part of what deems the next industrial revolution. And with these new printers, they look like they’re going to be on the right track.