Apple patent reveals work on 3D color printer

Apple 3D printer patent
Apple has been developing a 3D printer capable of producing colored objects,
according to a new patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Unlike most of days 3D printers, Apple’s uses two heads that allow for the creation of multicolored models.
3D printers are slowly but surely taking off, but as things stand, they’re very much professional machines that are far too expensive for the average consumer. They also have their downsides, with most models employing just one print head printing just one color.
Apple’s, which is described in a patent titled “Method and apparatus for three dimensional printing of colored objects,” works in much the same way as existing machines, heating and squeezing plastic through a print head to create a 3D model.
However, Apple’s also has a second head that is designed to add color to that plastic. The company suggests that it could use inkjet technology, spray nozzles, airbrushes, and even multicolored markers, which would allow users to make multicolored models that aren’t possible with most machines.
“In one version, the print head deposits a layer and moves up and out of the way as the color head comes in to add a layer of color,” explains AppleInsider“Another embodiment has the print head complete the build before the color application head moves into position for paint application.”
It’s not totally clear whether Apple designed this machine for consumer use, or for its own benefit — perhaps to produce early prototypes when developing future devices. However, its patent does include references to home use, and creating custom toys.
A 3D color printer could certainly appeal to creative professionals, who Apple already serves with products like the MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, and now the iPad Pro. But it still seems fairly unlikely we’ll see a 3D printer making its way into Apple’s lineup in the foreseeable future.


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