3 Key Factors in Advancing Multi-Material 3D Printing

If you’ve followed any of our blog posts (or Kickstarter updates) in the past, you’ll know that we believe firmly in transparency. In the spirit of this mantra, in this post, we reflect on the evolution of our products and share how you can expect our technology and products to evolve in the coming years, and how they fit into our mission.

The Factors

Our mission is to increase the range of objects that 3D printers can create (which we believe is essential in making 3D printing more useful). We see 3 factors as essential in achieving this mission. Below, we discuss and compare Palette (our first product) and Palette+ (recently released) so you can track and assess our progress on each of these factors (and thus our progress toward achieving our mission).

Factor 1: Reliability & UX

First: increasing our technology’s overall reliability (which substantially affects its user experience). For a technology to be useful, it must be sufficiently reliable. A car that breaks down every second trip does not offer enough value to be worth the trouble. The same holds true of 3D printing technology and Palette: the more reliable we can make it, the more useful it will be.

The main drivers that have caused or will cause improvements in Palette+'s performance are: hardware advancements, better firmware (splicing algorithms), and entirely new approaches to slicing and modelling for multi-material.

Hardware Advancements

  

Palette's original splicing mechanism. We discuss improvements in the core splicing mechanism in further detail here.

Our second generation splicer in Palette+, which provides improvements in reliability and simplifies maintenance.

Firmware: better splicing and usability, and more features

With Palette+, we've also refreshed our firmware with better menu navigation, refined splicing algorithms, and more information accessible across different menus. We're also launching Chroma 2.0. Over time, we'll release further generations of hardware/firmware.

CANVAS Software

We also plan on launching CANVAS around the end of this year. CANVAS seeks to improve multi-material, multi-body slicing and modeling.

Factor 2: Accessibility (Price)

Second: we believe that reducing the price of our technology is incredibly important to increasing its adoption as the industry standard. Decreasing price is incredibly difficult and will take time to achievebut so far, by creating manufacturing efficiencies and achieving higher volumes, we were able to decrease the price of Palette to Palette+ by 20% in a 12-month period.

We aim for our tech and hardware to be integrated with of the majority of the ~5 million printers that will ship in 2020, and to do so, we believe that decreasing its cost substantially is of paramount importance. 

Factor 3: Material Compatibility

Third: we seek to increase the number of materials that can be combined in the same print. We believe that by allowing people to create objects with a diverse array of material properties in the same print that 3D printing can become more versatile, provide different kinds of value, and continue to expand into new market verticals.

Flexible and rigid polymers combined together to create parts never before possible.
 

By increasing the range of functional objects that can be created with 3D printing, we allow our partners to create value and open new markets (as opposed to shifting value from one player to another and assuming that the 3D printing market is a zero-sum game).

These three factors are key to allowing us to accomplish our mission of making 3D printing more useful. If we're successful, we expect to:

  1. Establish multi-material 3D printing as the industry standard
  2. Expand the overall 3D printing market

With the announcement of Palette+ last week, we've taken (what we feel is) a substantial step forward in each of these three areas, and we feel closer to the goals we have for the industry we're proud to be part of. 

Next week, we have another exciting release (if you're one of those people who loves the Lulz, that is). Don't go away! We'll be right back after these messages...

Mosaic

 


2 comments


  • Jonny Yeu

    Hey Toby, we don’t have any plans for a 3mm version of Palette at this time. We did have to play around with our Taz 5 in order for it to use 1.75 mm and we plan to release some articles and support material on how we made this conversion!


  • Toby Warren

    any plans to splice 3mm? any plans to have a manual splicer for consolidating filament rolls 1.75 & 3mm. Thanks TAZ-6 3mm printer


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