This past week I ran across a site for a new 3d printer that uses standard office paper as its consumable media. How cool is that? The resolution looks pretty good, and given that they are advertising the cost of consumables (paper, cutting blades) at 40 times less expensive than other 3d printers, this could be revolutionary. The basic premise is simple. Like other fabrication technologies, the MCOR Matrix software slices the model into layers which, in this case, are the thickness of 20lb. office paper. It then cuts the profile of each layer out of the paper and uses a PVA-based adhesive to bond the layers together. From reading the FAQ, it sounds like the adhesive is applied much like an inkjet printer.
While this printer is still in development, it appears that it is close to coming to the market, unlike some other alternative fabricating technologies.
We have tried to break the current trend of system manufactures that follow the 2D printer market who on the one hand offer machines with ever reducing capital cost while on the other making 40-50% revenue on materials. The core material for the Mcor Matrix is paper (which is purchased by the end user) with the blade and adhesive supplied by Mcor Technologies at a volume discounted prices. The total cost of ownership, factoring in the consumables makes our system the best value for money in real costs.
For both future use (at the proposed workshop, fall 2009) and probably here and there during this whole this project here are some links to the Art Tech Center and the tools that I can make available to you at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art):
there is also a Roland GX-300 vinyl cutter that is available
Each link talks about the software and file type that works with the machines, and vector files (Illustrator) are used for the vinyl cutter) At this point I’ve been trained in on both the vinyl cutter and laser cutters, posts about future materials testing on these machines and applications for the 3-D printer will be upcoming…
(thanks for the prompt Forrest)
Another piece of nifty 3D modeling software. Open-source. Runs on Linux, OS X, and Windows.
Quote from the website:
Art of Illusion is a free, open source 3D modelling and rendering studio. It is written entirely in Java, and should be usable on any Java Virtual Machine which is compatible with J2SE 1.4 or later.
The current version is 2.6, released April 30, 2008. This version is both stable and powerful enough to be used for serious, high end animation work. Many of its capabilities rival those found in commercial programs. Some of the highlights include subdivision surface based modelling tools, skeleton based animation, and a graphical language for designing procedural textures and materials.
Here’s an image of a rapid prototyped cube.