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.
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.)
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.
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.
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