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Stratasys releases multi-material 3-D printer

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MINNEAPOLIS—You probably have a color printer for paper documents. Now Stratasys Ltd. has come out with the first color, multi-material three-dimensional printer, company officials said Jan. 26.

The Object Connex3 Color Multi-material printer features a triple-jetting technology that combines droplets of three base materials in virtually unlimited combinations of rigid, flexible and transparent color materials, as well as color digital materials, all in a single print run.

The unit can make a complex part without assembly or a painting step. In promotional material, Stratasys shows photographs of a rainbow-colored bicycle helmet, beta tested by Trek Bicycle Corp., the Wisconsin company that has one of the color printers.

Other applications include frames for glasses and vibrantly multicolored shoes.

In other 3-D printing news from Minneapolis-based Stratasys, Dell Inc. announced it will offer MakerBot Replicator printers and scanners as part of Dell's 3-D design product offerings. MakerBot is a subsidiary of Stratasys.

The MarkerBot Replicator is designed to work with Dell Precision workstations that are certified and tested for Dassault SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, Revit and AutoCAD, and PTC Creo.

"At Dell we strive to arm startups, designers and engineers with the powerful, reliable and cutting-edge technology they need to succeed," said Andy Rhodes, executive director of Dell Precision workstations. "With the addition of MakerBot's 3-D printers and scanners to Dell's workstation portfolio, our customers can now bring their innovative prototypes to life much more quickly and affordably."

The company's Objet Eden260V ED printer also won the 2014 Product Award for Top Innovative Equipment from the Dental Advisor magazine. It was the only rapid prototyping platform in the magazine's annual Product Award list for the second year in a row.

"By combining oral scanning, CAD/CAM and 3-D printing, dental labs can accurately and rapidly produce dental stone models, and a range of orthodontic appliances for dental offices," said Avi Cohen, Stratasys director of global dental.

He added using printers for additive manufacturing and dental models with medically approved materials will allow its customers to cut costs and boost efficiency.