When 3D printing first became popular it seemed as though this piece of technology would be reserved for science labs and the very rich. However, more and more companies are trying to bring out models that are more affordable, and perfect for everyday use. One of the biggest financial issues is the cost of printing materials from the different plastics, resins, nylons and hybrid materials most 3D printers use – trust us, it’s a lot more expensive than your Inkjet cartridge. One company, however, is aiming to change all that.
Mcor Iris HD
Those who have heard of Mcor before will know that they’re pretty good at 3D printing. One of their biggest claims to fame is that they don’t use resin, they use paper; something which has already bought their 3D printing costs down by a fair amount. However, their famous model the Iris HD can cost anywhere in the region of $36,400-$47,600 which prices it out of the market for most people. Not only that, but the Iris HD weighs a whopping 330 pounds. This isn’t the kind of 3D printer that you’ll find in people’s homes, with such a high price tag and weight. So, it was back to the drawing board for Mcor. What could they create next that would really cause a wave in the market?
Enter the Mcor Arke, known as the baby brother of the Iris HD. Weighing 110 pounds this smaller model is definitely more realistic in terms of size, but that’s not all. The guideline price for this model, which was shown off at CES 2016, is just $5,995. Far more realistic in terms of pricing too! Add that to the fact that this piece of kit can make models out of paper as opposed to expensive resin, and we can see some truly viable uses for the Arke. According to Mcor, there’s one key reason behind their affordable, paper 3D printer… Education.
3D Printing in Schools
When Mcor launched their Arke 3D printer at CES 2016 it came with a clear message; “We want one of these in every classroom.” The company have already been working with schools in order to give students the experience of a 3D printer. And with such low price points and an accessible size, it seems as though we could really see these in classrooms around the world. If much more of our manufacturing and design processes will soon be switched to 3D printing, it makes sense that the next generation of adults learn how to use them. One of the trials took place in an architecture class at Robert E. Lee High School in Texas, overseen by instructor Adam Truncale. He commented on how appreciative the students were being able to physically hold something that they’ve conceived using their minds and the specialist software.
We can see why it makes sense to bring these inexpensive 3D printers into classrooms, especially when you take into account that printing with paper costs just 10-20% of the usual resin or nylon materials used. Oh, and did we mention that the paper is then completely recyclable too? It’s definitely a win-win. Our sources say that the Arke will be available in late spring/early summer of this year, and they’re already racking up a truckload of pre-orders.