BotObjects is a 3D printer company that promises “full-color” printing in a system that uses a set of colored filaments to extract colored plastic in layers. Like the Makerbot, the ProDesk3D deposits plastic in layers and can print colors in bands around an object and not really in specific spots on a model.
That said, they’ve more video of the printer in action (I can’t embed it here, perhaps by design); the founders have offered me a hands-on after quite a bit of back and forth.
After following this company over the past month or so, I’ve seen a number of 3D printers express skepticism at its product. I’ve seen a lot of vaporware in my day — I was one of the first guys to poo-poo the Phantom console back in the day — and, at the very least, these guys are willing to work the crowd. The printer, as shown in these videos, isn’t exactly printing in full color — it’s essentially only good at building bands of color around a device — but it could be programmed to add spot color in the right places.
While I can’t claim to have seen this thing with my own eyes, from my understanding of the technology we’re looking at a working model that will be ready to ship in a few weeks.
Is this a real color 3D printer? If you accept the clear limitations of the current incarnation then sure, it’s entirely feasible to create nicely colored plastic objects using this technology. If you’re looking for something more detailed, however, you will have to use services like Shapeways to print in real, full-color sandstone. I’m cautious but optimistic on the BotObjects ProDesk3D, which is about all I can be without seeing it in the flesh (or plastic).