Who would have expected that standard office printing paper, rather than plastic or other material, would be able to be used in a 3D printer to create objects? This is an idea that started just over a decade ago to make safe and eco-friendly 3D objects that Mcor Technologies recently revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Based on the Iris, an industrial full color printer released in 2013, the Arke is a down scaled desktop version printer.
Many Advances Made in 3D Printing
3D printing has been around for a couple of years already, and the most commonly used methods involve layering of plastics, fusing metal powder, or shaping resin with a laser. Although great strides have been made over the last few years in the field of 3D printing, the high costs and complexity of this technology have resulted in the market taking a bit of a dive. Some well-known companies in the market have lost traction or been bought out by other companies, while others still have announced that they were completely pulling out of the 3D printing market. It has been suggested that this may be a result of companies like Mcor that are releasing cheaper, faster and easier technology.
Printer with Zero Running Costs
CEO and co-founder Conor MacCormack mentioned “We had this very simple idea: If we could build a printer that had zero running costs that would make people want the technology.” They believe that they might have managed to accomplish this with the Arke. This printer is making use of an adhesive instead of the other materials normally used. Functioning on a similar principle to a normal laser printer, this printer first layers the paper on-top of each other, then it cuts the item that needs to be printed. Once the printer is done, it produces something that looks like a block of normal office paper.
Many objects can be made
The 3D model is glued together more securely then the rest of the rest of the paper, this is just to protect the 3D model until the print job is completed. When this project is eventually completed, the excess paper can just be peeled away to produce the 3D model. Several models have already been produced this way including a hammer that is strong enough to hammer a nail into a wooden board. MacCormack mentioned that paper can become rather strong once it gets layered together. “Think of paper like a scaffold, and then you can put into it a resin, so you can get things that are really, really hard.” said MacCormack.
One thing that has been missing from the other 3D printers on the market was the capability of producing a full color print. Mcor’s 3D printer is capable of adding a high resolution print to the models. MacCormack said “Our definition of full color is any color at any time. We’re standing on the shoulders of the 2D-printing world.” Mcor said that to date, there are already 2500 pre-orders that have been placed for the Arcke printer to be released later this year.