Today at CES, Mcor announced their brand new entry into the desktop 3D printing market, the ARKe. The ARKe brings full color 3D printing to the home, office, or classroom, along with a new type of additive manufacturing that we have not seen in the desktop market thus far.
The desktop 3D printing market has been dominated by FFF (or FDM) filament-based 3D printers, with SLA/DLP resin-based printers beginning to catch on, and the first signs of SLS powder-based printers coming to market. The Mcor ARKe uses a technology known as LOM (Laminated Object Manufacturing), where layers of paper are cut into shape, stacked, and glued together.
Inside the ARKe, a spool of paper is pulled through the machine to a full color inkjet head which can print the layers image onto the paper. Next a cutting wheel outlines the desired shape and makes any additional cuts needed. After a layer is complete, it is pressed into the layers below, and a glue binder is applied to prep for the next layer. This method of cutting and gluing also allows for extra material to be added to act as support material that can be easily removed after the print is complete. Because of the paper’s wicking properties, Mcor prints can be post processed with baths to increase the strength or flexibility of the final part.
Mcor is the leader in LOM paper 3D printing with 10 years in the industry. While their previous printers like the Iris had price tags that planted them firmly in the big business category (starting at $30k), the ARKe – while still expensive at $5995 – opens the door to many new customers. The ARKe doesn’t sacrifice quality to make up for these savings either. While the Iris had the flexibility to use standard copier paper, this created an alignment hassle. The spools of paper on the ARKe help increase the reliability and end resolution of the ARKe’s prints.
The ARKe has built-in Wifi and Ethernet for networked printing, and will have iOS and Android apps for print monitoring. The built-in touchscreen interface and a handy LED status bar will make it easy to check on progress from afar. The ARKe has a build area of 240 mm x 205 mm x 125 mm and is capable of .1mm resolution in the X, Y, and Z.
We can’t wait to get a hands on review and let you know more when the ARKe ships in Q2 2016!