Amateur 3-D printing has long faced a significant hurdle: The materials are limited to basic plastics, and things made out of them often look like crap. MakerBot is taking a first stab at solving that problem, announcing today at CES that it will introduce composite 3-D printing materials that mimic bronze, iron, limestone, and wood.
The company’s goal in 2015, says CEO Jenny Lawton, is to “make 3-D printing even more interesting and accessible,” and these composites are a great first step. The bronze will be polish-able, the iron will be magnetize-able, and the wood will be sand- and stain-able. Made up of PLA plastic and traces of the real material they aspire to imitate, the composites will ship next year, price to be determined. MakerBot owners will have to buy additional printer extensions for each of the composites.
3-D printing appears poised to enter a more mainstream adoption phase, as once-industrial technologies are translated into accessibly priced consumer products. Earlier this week the Culinary Institute of America announced that it would begin offering classes centered around the ChefJet Pro, a 3-D printer capable of producing cakes, cocktails, and other sweets.
MakerBot, which designed the first blockbuster desktop 3-D printer, was acquired by industrial manufacturing company Stratasys Ltd. for $604 million in 2013.
[via The Verge]