MIT CSAIL MultiFab 3D printer


3D printing as we always imagined

Additive manufacturing has massive potential — NASA recently tested a 3D-printed rocket fuel pump — but printing with more than one material is still difficult and expensive. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, however, have developed a device that can print with 10 materials at once and do so at a resolution of 40 microns.

Using 3D scanning techniques from machine vision, MultiFab can self-calibrate and self-correct, which ensures accuracy (particularly important when using different materials) and also allows users to easily embed circuits or sensors into objects, making them more like finished products than the single-material objects manufactured today.

The team has used MultiFab to print everything from smartphone cases to LED lenses, and they envision applications in consumer electronics, medical imaging and telecommunications, among other things. They plan to also experiment with embedding motors and actuators that would make it possible to 3D-print more advanced electronics, including potentially even robots.

MultiFab was built for $7,000 from off-the-shelf components.

What new technologies do you think GCN readers should learn more about? Tell us on Twitter: @GCNtech or #GCNwishlist.

About the Author

Connect with the GCN staff on Twitter @GCNtech.


  • Records management: Look beyond the NARA mandates

    Pandemic tests electronic records management

    Between the rush enable more virtual collaboration, stalled digitization of archived records and managing records that reside in datasets, records management executives are sorting through new challenges.

  • boy learning at home (Travelpixs/

    Tucson’s community wireless bridges the digital divide

    The city built cell sites at government-owned facilities such as fire departments and libraries that were already connected to Tucson’s existing fiber backbone.

Stay Connected