A 3D printer capable of creating objects in a variety of colours and materials has been launched by Stratasys, the 3D printing company that owns MakerBot.
The "ground-breaking" new Objet500 Connex3 is the world's first printer to combine colours with multi-material 3d printing.
By using triple-jetting technology to combine droplets of three base materials, a large range of products with varying material strengths and colours are able to be produced.
Such an innovation could significantly improve manufacturing efficiencies by reducing the need for assembly or painting.
"Stratasys' goal is to help our customers revolutionize their design and manufacturing processes," says Stratasys CEO David Reis. "(The printer) will transform the way our customers design, engineer and manufacture new products.
"In general and with the Connex technology in particular, we will continue to push the envelope of what's possible in a 3D world."
The printer is commercially available at a cost of around $330,000 (£200,000).
Igal Zeitun, vice president of product marketing and sales operations at Stratesys, claims the new machine will be of particular interest to the automotive, consumer goods and fashion markets.
The printer has already been used by engineers at Trek Bicycle to assess and test accessories like bike chain stay guards and handlebar grips.
"As the first true multi-purpose 3D printer, we believe the Objet500 Connex3 is in a league of its own, enabling you to dream up a product in the morning, and hold it in your hands by the afternoon, with the exact intended color, material properties and surface finish," Zeitun said.