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 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.
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.)
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.
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 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.
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.
MIT students modified a 3D printer to enable it to print more than one object and print on top of existing printed objects. All of this was made possible by modifying a Solidoodle with a height measuring laser.
Siemens released Intosite, a cloud-based, location-aware SaaS app that lets users navigate a virtual production facility in much of the same fashion as traversing through Google Earth. Users can access PLM, IT, and other pertinent information for specific points on a factory floor or at an outdoor location.
Sharon Glotzer and David Pine are hoping to create the first liquid hard drive with liquid nanoparticles that can store 1TB per teaspoon. They aren't the first to find potential data stores, as Harvard researchers have stored 700 TB inside a gram of DNA.
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