The fact that regular office paper is neither expensive nor hard to come by helps make 3D printing more accessible to more potential users, MacCormack said. “Whatever paper you put into your 2D office printer, you can use in this machine,” and Mcor is targeting, not the enthusiast or hobbyist, but rather the professionals, including engineers, architects, and educators.
The Matrix 300 looks much like one of those big office copiers. A paper stack on the side feeds individual sheets into the printer, where a blade cuts a 2D profile, and each subsequent sheet is attached with a water-based adhesive.
In addition to its unique paper-based approach, Mcor is flexing its muscle with a novel pricing model. Instead of charging a set fee for the printer, the company is giving the printer away for free and generating revenue by charging for a print service plan that can be purchased for one, two, or three years. The one-year plan starts at $18,500 and includes all maintenance fees and unlimited printing. Mcor is offering the Matrix 300 and the service plans in Europe, and it will introduce the model to the US market this year, MacCormack said.
I was a bit dumbfounded when I first saw this photo. I thought, what does this have to do with the story. Then, it dawned on me. Very cool. I'd like to see more examples of objects that the Mcor Matrix 300 created using paper.
I felt the same, Jenn. I didn't really understand what the block had to do with the ordinary paper and what exactly that guy was doing at first. Once it become clear, it was pretty amazing. The idea of being able to produce fairly durable objects from ordinary office supplies seems pretty compelling. At least for rapid prototying applications--not so sure about using these paper-based parts, no matter how durable, for anything beyond design reviews and some modest testing.
TJ: Not sure about the rate or some of the other nitty-gritty details on the printing process. Your comment on the pricing is absolutely right. They are taking a page (pardon the pun) from the photo copier business and offering a three-tiered pricing plan to meet a range of usage needs, from occasional printing to multi-departmental, everyday use. Interestingly, several of the stories I've been working on lately have touched on this theme of service becoming recognized for its potential to deliver greater revenue and better margins than sales of the actual product given the razor-tight margins most industries face today.
There was a RP company whose name I can't recall, now out of business, that made a machine based on paper based media. The paper was pre-coated with adhesive and was on a large roll. Basically, it differed from current systems in that the laser did not have to path the entire part surface geometry, but rather just it's margins, like a die-cut in effect. After each layer was done, the machine pulled another sheet of the adhesive-backed paper onto the prior one, and ran a roller over it to make it adhere. Then the laser traced the part perimiter on that next layer. The process was repeated as many layers as necessary. When completed, there was essentially a cube of bonded paper. At each layer, the machine would recognize the non-part geometry areas and divide them up into small cubes, which could then be removed from the resulting large cube on completion. This process was very good for very large parts with relatively simple geometry, because it was quite fast and relatively inexpensive. The resulting part was wood-like, and could be sanded, painted, etc. I used this process to create casting positives for a part that was sand cast.
@RNDDUDE: That process does sound reasonably close to what Mcor described, especially the layering of paper and adhesive part. One key difference I see is that the Matrix uses standard office paper so you don't have to load it up with specialized reams. That's part of the value proposition the company is pitching.
I remember seeing a 'Printer' at a machine tool show in Santa Clara, Calif. in about 1995-96 that used the paper on the roll, I think it was coated with plastic, and each layer was pressed by a heated platen. At that time, the liquid polymer with laser was about the only other printer around.
I could see ths being used in the auto industry for tight packaging applications under the hood. It's one thing to see such applications on screen, it's another to be able to hold it in your hand and slide it down under the jumble of wires and other components.
say a cam gear on your _____(insert any company name)breaks. You then take your car to the shop. They say no cam gears on the west coast, _____(same name) can have one sent here by next thursday. Or we can get the file from them and we can print it and your car will be done by later this afternoon, which would you prefer? Of course youll tell him to print it.
It sounds like the main apps are prototypes. I like the recyclability. But I can't see how using this can do much more than assess form. Fit and function won't likely be possible in most apps because paper is too delicate and crushable.
Once the paper layers are bonded and stacked, they have the density of hardwood, not really crushable. If there were thin sections, there would be fragility as there is in any non-metallic SLA process.
When you finish, the waste goes in the paper-recycle bin. The model can go in there, too, when you finish with it. A nice tool for models but I'd like more information about tolerances. Many of the prototype printers that use plastics have good tolerances that let parts fit together and "operate." Does this type of paper-based prototype let users do that? I'd also like to know more about the technology and how the moving head cuts and glues the paper. Very clever.
I like your point about the recycling aspects of the printer, Jon. I'm not sure about exactly how the process works and there is little technical information on the site. Based on my conversations with the company, they say the printer can and is being used overseas for rapid prototyping of parts--in particular, they mentioned a medical device company using it for vaccum forming and some companies using it to prototype packaging. I'm not sure I see it in use for part prototyping that requires precise tolerances, however.
I can see this 3D printer turning up on one of those cable TV crime channels (Investigation Discovery) as being used in attempted counterfeiting. Must be very tempting to someone out there. (On the lighter side, I can see paper-based 3D printing taking origami into heretofore uncharted territory.)
this printer, no. I dont see it happening to make printing plates. But if you have time to SLS a set of steel plates that mimics a 1995 series note. And have time to model up $20 bills I may see this working. And then youd need more time to touch up your plates because they dont print perfectly.
Meanwhile youll need the correct stock of paper, and you have a handfull of colors to match.
As you say, it's not easy. One of the biggest impediment to successful counterfeiting is the paper, which is not only heavyweight, but has actual colored fibers embedded within it. Then there's the huge amount of pressure used in the currency presses, which deeply embedded the ink in the paper. Finally, there's the recent (within last decade) additional wave of anticounterfeiting measures, including difficult-to-duplicate watermarks and microrprinting, and those vertical strips (in certain denominations) which are only visible when you hold a bill up to light. To obtain paper, some counterfeiters bleach ones and then try to reprint them as higher-denomination notes.
Those measures were necessary becuase color copiers had become so good. The early ones copied at something like 98% of original size so that you could tell it was a copy. Nevertheless, I knew a guy in a copy room who made fake IDs using these copiers. His IDs were not necessarily copies of actual IDs. This was in Washington, DC, and there were so many obscure Federal Agencies that no one really knew.
Im not saying its impossible, I am saying someone with time will be able to do it. And exactly as you said, the Cubans bleach ones and print 50s over them.
As I said, a 1995 series note would be difficult to detect the fake, especially if its printed on 1s.
More importantly, think about this, have you ever heard of the Omega Counterfeiter?He made Saint-Gaudens twenty-dollar gold pieces. Someone could buy an American Gold Eagle, run it through the NextEngine and print some dies. Im sure you could make some good copies.
Do you think that would work, keepinitril? Fake bills are successful because they are passed to unsuspecting store clerks for a bag of groceries (or a TV or whatever). The Eagles tend to be traded by people who know a thing or two about bullion. At a miniumn, they would need to get the final weight right as well as include some type of gold plating to fool the surface tests.
Im not saying this isnt great or anything, but I am saying there will be two issues here;
First when it is "printed" or cut(personally I think it will be a layering vinyl cutter) you will need some we to remove your project, whether the software automatically created draft or it cuts lines from wherever your troughs and peaks are.
Second it sounds great like it will be cheap and simple, but if 3DS sees it as a threat, they ill start buying and monopolizing the resources it uses. IE it will change from the liquid binder to a gel one. The gel will be on a spool and read by a PROM. Or it will use a reader on the liquid bottle that will do the same thing.
Another I just thought of, 3DS will claim you need to buy their propriotary paper because basic paper will pose a fire risk. It will not let you use regular paper eith because they will install a photocell with a 10lumen light, if it sees the light, youre not using their paper and the machine wont run
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 for inkjetsuperstore hp 96, 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
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