Apple Patent Application Reveals 3-D Printer Plans
An Apple patent application for a color 3-D printer surfaced in December, hinting that the consumer tech giant is looking to develop a commercial 3-D printer.
According to The Motley Fool, Apple submitted the application, titled “Method and Apparatus for Three Dimensional Printing of Colored Objects,” in May 2014. The proposed printer would use fused deposition modeling (FDM), which involves a thermoplastic filament heated to its melting point and pushed out layer by layer to create the 3-D object.
What’s unique about Apple’s application is that it colors the product while it’s being printed via two nozzles—one for extruding the material being printed and another for applying a coloring agent. The patent includes another method, where the object would be colored after printing.
According to 3DPrint.com, Apple’s proposed design, with the two nozzles, is significant, as many 3-D printers only print one-color items. There are a few others that can produce multicolored products, such as the Cube Pro and Dreammaker Overlord, but coloring the item as it prints would be a new addition to the industry’s technology.