The dominant force in the 3D printing industry, MakerBot is working on the concept of a dual-filament solution that can print colors on the fly. The filament is guided through a heated extruder using a slider system. In order to take this concept a step further MakerBot has patented this idea. The patents suggest that in future MakerBot should be able to change colors mid-print, a vast improvement over current dual-color solutions.
At present the dual-filament solution uses two nozzles to vent out two different colors. The vent spurts out hot filament onto the tray like toothpaste. But with this new change the nozzle will now spurt out different colors much in the same way that toothpaste dispensers can extrude blue and white paste which is later mixed. This change will enable non-monochrome builds.
The ultimate goal of the patent is to enable the machine to use multiple materials to be printed in the same object. For example: this new patent will allow a user to use plastic in the midst of taking a print out that is actually wood based or even embed conductive traces into plastic objects. The system also manages the output so that there is no overlap or mixing of the two filaments.
With the advancements of such genre on one hand, Stratasys the parent company of MakerBot has made an official announcement that the company has rendered a net income of $4.1 million in the first quarter itself. They have sold 8,802 printers last quarter and over 7,000 in quarter 1 in 2013. The company has also experienced a strong revenue growth of 54%. The success story of Stratasys rightfully belongs to the contributions made by the sale of MakerBot home printers.