Apple designs its own multicolor 3-D printer

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Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 13.17.43
Could Apple build a mass-market 3D printer for consumers?
Photo: Apple

Apple hasn’t released a new printer since the heady days of the LaserWriter 8500 in 1997, but a new patent application suggests the company is working on a new printer — and it’s no ordinary one, either.

Published today under the name “Method and apparatus for three dimensional printing of colored objects,” the patent application describes a 3-D printer capable of not only printing amazing three-dimensional structures, but doing so in multiple colors.

Printers used to be a big part of Apple's business.
Printers used to be a big part of Apple’s business.
Photo: Wikipedia

Apple’s invention would include two different print heads, with one used for depositing layers of material such as plastic, and the other for applying color, via inkjet technology, airbrushes, spray nozzles or airbrushes.

Whether an Apple 3-D printer will ever be released is unknown. Apple pretty much did away with its line of consumer printers after Steve Jobs’ return to Apple in the late 1990s. Up until that point, the company had produced multiple models each year going back to 1980 — with the most famous being 1985’s LaserWriter, which was among the first mass-market laser printers available.

Should Apple be able to find a way of releasing an affordable 3-D printer for the general public (and, given that the LaserWriter cost $6,995 in 1985 money, your idea of “affordable” could vary), it would definitely help the company’s image as not only an innovator, but also a business playing a key role in democratizing tomorrow’s creative tools.

Check out the video below for a sneak peak at what we may all be turning out from our desks in the next few years:

Would you be interested in a consumer-oriented 3-D printer? Leave your comments below.

Source: USPTO

Via: Apple Insider

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