The bright and daring future of 3D printing

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Mosaic Manufacturing’s New 3D Printer Brings Greater Multicolor Capabilities to Market (Matthew Billington)

In 1986, an American inventor named Chuck Hull obtained the first patent for a 3D printer. Two years later, his company, 3D Systems (the largest company in the market today), sold its first commercial rapid prototype printer. But consumers waited a long time before 3D printing devices entered their homes (in the meantime, technology was making its mark: in 1999, the first 3D organ – a human bladder – was printed for transplantation).

It wasn’t until 2009 that the home market opened up when a company, MakerBot, developed a DIY printer kit for under $ 1,000 that could fit on your desk, as well as a website. Web, Thingiverse.com, which encourages users to upload and share their countless design ideas.

Today, several brands and models are available. Whether you’re an amateur home printer making keychains, a teacher printing dinosaur fossil replicas, or the father from Brampton, Ontario who recently used a 3D printer to make a plaster cast after his little one broke his arm, the applications are seemingly endless.

Now, Toronto-based Mosaic Manufacturing aims to introduce a new world of color in 3D printing with the third generation of Palette.

Pallet 3 offers multi-color printing capabilities and attaches to any existing Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printer. Fused filament manufacturing is the most commonly used type of 3D printing and uses plastic or nylon chain-like printing material. Printers run on these filaments, which are similar to ink cartridges in traditional 2D printers, depositing them layer by layer to form a 3D object. The range of filament materials varies from nylon reinforced chopped carbon fiber to a stiffer and more affordable polymer material.

Pallet 3, which started shipping in the summer, sells for US $ 599 and can take four separate colored filaments. For an additional $ 200, Palette 3 Pro takes eight filaments.

The user loads the filaments into Palette, which then feeds them into a splicing system that cuts and welds them together into a single strand. The result is more color combinations and customization, bringing new levels of detail and creativity to print projects.

Many industrial 3D printers, on the other hand, use faster multi-jet fusing (MJF) technology, using inkjet-like heads to trace designs onto a bed of nylon powder, which is then fused into layers to create a 3D object. Companies that develop MJF technology, like BC’s Tempus 3D, co-founded by CPA Robert Bleier, are helping to fuel the rapid growth of the market.

Global sales of additive manufacturing technology (another term used to describe 3D printers) and services are expected to more than double by 2024 to around $ 35 billion, according to a report from KPMG.

That’s why there’s also a buzz surrounding another new version of Mosaic, Array, a full-scale 3D printer intended for use in factories (the company says it will ship by December). The machine, which resembles a large wine refrigerator, contains four separate printers and uses proprietary technology to automatically replace printing plates to increase efficiency.

Mosaic aims to establish itself in the growing industrial market, especially given the events of the past year and a half.

“We have seen a powerful shift in customer sentiment towards domestic manufacturing solutions, especially as overseas supply chains collapsed,” said Mosaic Co-Founder and CEO Mitch Debora , who was named one of Canada’s 21 MaRS Tech Entrepreneurs To Watch in 2021.

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