TECH

MIT Designs First 3D Printer, MultiFab That Prints Using 10 Different Materials At Once

27/08/2015 10:47 BST | Updated 27/08/2015 10:59 BST

MIT have created an impressive 3D printer that, for the first time, can use 10 materials at the same time to create a product.

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, described their new invention as a "cheaper, more user-friendly printer," in a press release.

3d printer

"Picture someone who sells electric wine-openers, but doesn’t have $7,000 to buy a printer like this." explains Javier Ramos, who co-authored the paper.

"In the future they could walk into a FedEx with a design and print out batches of their finished product at a reasonable price.”

Why stop at electric wine-openers? Ramos' claim means that we could effectively use these marvellous machines to print just about anything, including those pesky iPhone cases that have a tendency to break under the first sign of stress.

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With MultiFab -- an apt name for the super-printer -- you will be able to place the iPhone in the printer that will then proceed to create a perfectly fitted plastic case for your phone.

The added bonus is that it only costs $7,000 (£4,000). While this is probably over and above your personal monthly budget for gadgets, it is still considerably cheaper than the average 3D printer, priced at $250,000 (£161,000).

multifab

Some of the materials MultiFab can use

This will effectively give small businesses the chance to buy MultiFab and use it to boost their income.

Either way, this machine has just bought us one step closer to printing just about anything we fancy, on demand.