3D printing has been limited to basic plastics for home users until now. MakerBot has revealed new fake wood, metal and stone materials that can be printed to imitate the materials using plastic.
MakerBot says that the wood effect material is so effective that it can even be sanded and stained just like real wood. The metals can be made to have magnetic properties akin to real metals.
MakerBot showed off the new materials in action at CES 2015 in Las Vegas. While the material is still a PLA plastic it has the look and finish of materials including wood, stone and metal. Even the weight is similar to the materials, varying to give the best possible final effect.
The new materials require a different extruder, which MakerBot says takes just minutes to swap out. Presumably if you have a dual extruder printer you'll be able to mix material effects.
MakerBot will be launching the new materials later this year. They do require new specific nozzles to work so expect to shell out for those too. MakerBot hasn't mentioned exact release dates for the extruders or materials nor has it mentioned pricing. Since it's a PLA plastic we'd hope it's not too much more expensive than current plastics.