More and more, it’s looking like 3D printing will be the future, but before it can reach its full potential (and market saturation) it has some obstacles to overcome. For one thing, price can be a bit of an issue; even the smallest, most consumer friendly 3D printers aren’t exactly cheap. And the second is, if the things aren’t cheap, they better be good at what they do. The Objet Connex500 printer is a good example of the latter as evidenced by a small collection of stunning, tiny, incredibly detailed prints.
Although it’s an industrial strength model, the Connex500 is not lacking in finesse. As shown in the picture above, it can print incredibly small models at a 16 micron resolution with flourishes so subtle as to be hard to notice at a glance. This capability for detail was recently shown off in the pieces Objet printed as part of a multi-vendor 3D puzzle cube that was displayed at the recent RAPID conference in Georgia. As you can see, the fruits of this printer’s labor are not only super detailed, but also frozen inside a transparent block, making use of one of the Connex500′s other skills: Printing with up to 14 different materials at the same time.
16 micron resolution is far from the record for small 3D printing; there’s actually a nano scale 3D printer out there. When it comes to conventional use, though, the Connex500′s micron resolution is probably more useful since nano scale printing requires hardware quite different (and more advanced) than larger scale printing, and in most cases micrometers are going to be detailed enough to be impressive without going overboard.
One thing is for sure, if I have to keep looking at awesome 3D printed things, it’s going to be practically impossible to resist ordering custom, 3D printed miniatures to put on my desk, and I really don’t have the time, or coordination, to get into model painting right now. Still, it is pretty cool watching this tech blossom and evolve right before our eyes. And if that means I’ll eventually have to succumb to my urge to commission some Mechwarrior models, so be it.
- Use 3D printing to make a chocolate mold of your face!
- Or to put your face on a superhero!
- Or to make fighting chess robots!