3D printers can create objects in a variety of materials, but plastic is still the most common. While metal 3D printers have been around for years, it's still pretty uncommon to see them being used outside of a professional capacity. The first 3D printer from MarkForged gives hobbyists and professionals alike a material with the strength of metal.
MarkForged announced that its very first 3D printer - the Mark One - is the first 3D printer to use carbon fiber as a material. If that wasn't enough, the printer also supports fiberglass, nylon and PLA. It was built to make the production of carbon fiber objects easier and more affordable.
So, where did the idea of the Mark One come from? Gregory Mark, president of MarkForged, is also a co-owner of carbon fiber component supplier Aeromotions. He found that producing carbon fiber components for cars and airplanes was too expensive for its own good and sought a more affordable solution. That's where 3D printing and its automated processes come in as its removes the need for crafting carbon fiber components by hand.
Here are the official specs of the machine:
Printing Technology: Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) / Composite Filament Fabrication (CFF)
Build Size: 305mm x 160mm x 160mm (12″ x 6.25″ x 6.25″, 486ci)
Material Compatibility: Carbon Fiber, Fiberglass, Nylon, PLA
Highest Layer Resolution: FFF Printing: 100 Microns / CFF Printing: 200 Microns
Extruders: Dual Quick Change
Filament Sizes: FFF: 1.75mm, CFF: MF4
Pause / Resume Prints: Yes
Chassis: Anodized Aluminum Unibody
Build Platform: Kinematically Coupled
Draft Blocking Enclosure: Yes
Software: Cloud Enabled
Supported OS: Mac OS 10.7 Lion +, Win XP+, Linux
Supported Browser: Chrome 30+, Firefox 10+, Safari 6+
Supported Files: STL, .OBJ
Connectivity: WiFi, USB, SD Card carbonfibe3
While we're at it, here's a look at the Mark One in action:
The Mark One will be available for pre-order in February for the very affordable price of $5,000 and will begin shipping in the second half of this year.