MultiFab allows you (yes you!) to create 3D printed objects using up to ten different materials.
(MultiFab 3D printing video)
At the moment, most conventional 3D printers can only print out one material layer-by-layer at a time, whether it be plastic, metal, ceramics or wood, and users need to keep an eye on the printer as the print can easily go wrong.
Multi-material 3D printers do exist, and Stratasys launched the world's first multi-material full-colour 3D printer in January 2014 that is able to print objects out of rubber and plastic, but it costs up to $250,000 (£159,660) and still requires a great deal of human intervention in the printing process.
However MIT's new MultiFab 3D printer might have changed the game yet again by creating an all-in-one system costing $7,000 that can quickly print out multi-material, multi-component objects with a lot less hassle.
Fans of Philip K. Dick know about the Biltong life forms from his 1956 short story Pay for the Printer. These strange creatures from the Centaurus system could effectively "print out" a duplicate of a reference object placed before them.
The Biltongs are perhaps the earliest example of the idea that it would be possible to make copies of three-dimensional objects made of many different materials directly, without manufacturing. Even cars.
"Can your Biltong print for more than a hundred people?" John Dawes asked softly.
"Right now he can," Fergesson answered. He proudly indicated his Buick. "You rode in it - you know how good it is. Almost as good as the original it was printed fromÖ"