Industrial 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys has announced what it called the world's first multi-colour, multi-material printer capable of making objects of hard, soft and flexible polymers.

Stratasis' Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer features a triple-jet technology that combines droplets of three base materials to produce parts with virtually unlimited combinations of rigid, flexible and transparent colour materials in a single print run.

Previously, manufacturers could print multi-colored parts using many different materials and assemble them after completion. Stratasys' new printer ushers in an all-in-one technology that speeds production by combining the materials at the print head.

"This ability to achieve the characteristics of an assembled part without assembly or painting is a significant time-saver," Stratasys said in a statement. "It helps product manufacturers validate designs and make good decisions earlier before committing to manufacturing, and bring products to market faster."

When available in the second quarter of this year, the printer will sell for around US$330,000 (around £199,000), according to Joe Hiemenz, a Stratasys spokesperson.

Use the slideshow controls above and right to see more of what's possible with the Stratsys Objet500 Connex3 3D printer.