This luxurious wooden 3D printer can print with four different materials at once

French additive manufacturing startup Pollen has unveiled its gorgeous new Pam 3D printer, which takes the unusual approach of printing using pellets instead of traditional filament spools as raw materials.

“We’ve been in R&D stealth mode for five years,” CEO Cédric Michel tells Digital Trends. “It was difficult to spend so long not talking about it to anyone. It’s a great moment for us to finally be able to go public.”

The wood-framed Pam printer operates speedily, at up to 400 mm/s, and is able to print using a wide variety of materials — including thermoplastics, silicones, composites, natural fibers, metal particles, and more. Perhaps most enticing of all is the fact that it promises to print up to four different materials at the same time, with the ability to pull off feats like printing sunglasses with lenses made of a different material — all in one single process.

Pam isn’t the only 3D printer to use pellets. For instance, the enormous SeeMeCNC PartDaddy delta printer uses a pellet hopper instead of spools of filament. However, the use of pellets definitely puts Cédric Michel’s new machine in a minority when it comes to smaller-size 3D printers.

“Using pellets brings a number of challenges,” 3D printing expert Richard Horne, who has been experimenting and developing open-source 3D printing technology as part of the global RepRap project, tells Digital Trends. “One of the difficult aspects I found when experimenting using pellets is that it’s tricky to stop the flow of plastic — or retract back a little, so it can be hard to control oozing.”

However, he also points out that buying pellets can be considerably lower cost than filament-based plastic, and that many more materials are available in pellet form. “This could really be a breakthrough product for desktop 3D printing,” he says.

But will purchasers of the Pam 3D printer be trapped in an ecosystem having to buy all their future pellets from Pollen? While Cédric Michel recommends that customers do this — due to the high quality of the company’s materials, and the fact that all the material parameters are already programmed into the Pam 3D printer — he says that the system is also open in a way that allows customers to use their own materials if they so wish.

Pam carries a somewhat hefty pre-order price tag of €8,000 ($8,900), although Michel says that this actually makes it low-cost compared to similarly positioned 3D printers. If you’re interested in picking one up, it’s possibly worth doing now — since the price is set to double by 2017 when Pam is officially available to buy.

We’re definitely fascinated to see where this goes!

Giveaways

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Gaming

The most common Nintendo 3DS problems, and how to fix them

The Nintendo 3DS has seen its fair share of issues since it launched in 2011, including poor battery life and fragile Circle Pads. Here are some of the most common, as well as the steps you can take to solve them.
Deals

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.