It seems like the 3D printing market is throwing out curveballs lately when it comes to technology innovations and price points.
The latest pitch I came across is from Mcor Technologies, a company based in Ireland that bills itself as the only maker of a printer that uses ordinary (A4/letter-size) printer paper, instead of the powdery plastic or resin substances employed by most competitors, to make 3D objects.
You read that right. I said ordinary paper. Before you get too skeptical, check out some of the Mcor Technologies YouTube channel videos. They show that the Matrix 300 3D's water-based printing process can churn out some
pretty impressive-looking prototypes that don’t look or sound like they were produced using paper.
The Mcor Matrix 300 uses ordinary new or used A4 paper to make 3D objects. The setup greatly reduces operating costs.
Mcor is pitching its paper-based technology as a cost-effective alternative to the traditional cadre of 3D printers. Pricing on commercial 3D printers (even those at the higher end) has come down significantly over the last few years. Nevertheless, Deirdre MacCormack, Mcor’s chief marketing officer, told us that the cost of running the machines -- everything from regular maintenance fees to stocking the materials -- often makes the value proposition hard for many companies to justify, especially smaller ones.
“The big inhibiting factor in this market is the high cost of running these machines,” MacCormack said. “While the commercial printers are all coming down in price, the cost to run them remains exceptionally high. It’s the same model with a 2D printer -- you can now get the printer for cheap, but purchasing the cartridges for the printers can get expensive.”