3D-printing is seen as one of the most vital technologies in building Industry 4.0. But still, the usefulness can be questioned since cost-effective 3D-printers only print one material at the time. This limits its scope of production dramatically. Even a more advanced 3D-printer that can manage three materials (cost around $250 000) still have great limitation and are far from automatic. However, these obstacles can soon be a thing of the past since MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab now is presenting Multifab 3D-printer that can manage up to ten materials at the same time and without much interference of humans during the production since the printer self-calibrate and self-correct.
Cost effective 3D-printing
The technology of the 3D-printer is based on using 3D-scanning techniques, which save time, energy and money. The cost of building Multifab was around $7000. One of the members of the research team that has developed Multifab, Javier Ramos, says:
“Picture someone who sells electric wine openers but doesn’t have $7000 to buy a printer like this. In the future, they could walk into a FedEx with a design and print out batches of their finished product at a reasonable price. For me, a practical use like that would be the ultimate dream.”