What instantly sets Mcor’s machines apart from other printers* is that they don’t build models using resins or plastics, but standard A4 paper.
Effectively a large robotic cutter, adding a sheet layer of paper at a time before carving out the accurate dimensions, the latest offering, the Iris, it can be configured to print models with 300dpi accurate colour to a Pantone standard.
The package actually buys you two printers in one – what more proven a way to apply a specially adapted ink to A4 paper than a desktop printer stored in the larger cutting section’s stand.
The ink from this printer can be adapted to give full Pantone colours if desired, printing different hues simultaneously from a palette more than twice the size of its nearest competitor, including pure black.
The ink has been engineered to seep right through the page, rather than sitting on the surface as it would with a typical printer, without bleeding.
Your printed stack, already in correct order, is then picked up and placed into a tray that feeds cutting section where it is accurately sliced into shape from an STL. OBJ. or VRML. files with added colour data.
Adhesive is applied to bind the required layers, and once finished, the final model is then removed and the unwanted ‘support’ is then easily removed by hand, or tweezers for the niggly bits, and can be coated to add solidity and any number of finishes.
At €34,000 the Iris isn’t a novelty toy, but considering for this you’re actually getting two machines in one, and that Mcor will provide all the cutting blades and adhesive for the first three years, you’re left with having little more to buy than inexpensive paper and ink cartridges.
Removing the colour capability gives you the Matrix machine, which while costing €24,000 it can still handle coloured paper for solid block-colour models.
Another benefit is its ecological leaning – although it still requires electricity, the ink used is water-based, the adhesive is toxin free, and the models can be fully recycled once their use has come to an end. You could always rig up some solar panels and go all-out eco-warrior.
The team are already putting the finishing touches to a deal with stationery giants Staples to provide its 3D printing services, so expect to hear much more from these local heroes in the future.
*Other things include that the machines are developed in Ireland and manufactured in the UK, and that they’re burning orange in colour.