There’s a lot of technological advancement in the world of 3D printing. New printing techniques, new materials, new printers – these are all becoming rather commonplace as the technology sees wider acceptance around the world.
One of the most promising printing techniques uses carbon fiber, and the latest advance here promises up to 40% better printing speed.
The New Mark Two Printer
MarkForged is based in Massachusetts, and holds the distinction of being the first company in the world to create a carbon fiber 3D printer. They’ve done themselves one better this year, unveiling their new machine at the SolidWorks 2016 expo.
Not only does this printer offer up to 40% faster printing, but it can apparently use a wider range of materials, including Kevlar.
The company went back to the drawing board for the Mark Two with a couple of key goals in mind. First, they wanted to create a machine that could print faster.
They also wanted to be able to strengthen the features in parts created. Finally, they wanted to provide better reliability and confidence in the finished product.
The result was the Mark Two, a worthy successor in all ways to the company’s groundbreaking Mark One 3D printer. It offers up to 40% faster speeds when using carbon fiber, but it also builds in some other pretty advanced features.
The printer now has the ability to reinforce features 15 times smaller than before. It also has two different print heads.
The first uses nylon, while the other is used to reinforce the nylon parts with carbon fiber continuously. This results in a very strong printed object that offers outstanding durability and reliability.
“The more extensive reinforcement of our new MarkForged printers allow us to 3D print even stiffer and stronger parts,” stated the company’s applications and control engineer, Charles Su. “The software also automatically strengthens more of the parts we throw at it, especially smaller and more detailed parts.
We can make them lightweight, we can make them very stiff, and it’s basically a cost-effective overnight operation. In both R&D and production, nearly every day brings a new opportunity to quickly replace machined aluminum or brittle plastic parts with robust reinforced 3D prints.”
The Mark Two is available for a starting price of about $5,500. While that’s a hefty chunk of change, it’s not that much more expensive than some high-performance desktop models on the market.
For the money, you get:
- 320 mm x 132 mm x 154 mm build area
- Maximum resolution of 0.1 mm
- The ability to use carbon fiber, fiberglass, nylon and Kevlar in prints
- Compatibility with Windows, Mac and Linux
It’s an exciting development, and a sign of things to come. Look for more and more manufacturers to offer printers capable of using once-exotic materials that allow higher quality, stronger prints in the very new future.