It is unusual that I post about things that I don’t directly use or have the opportunity to try for myself. I do however make the odd exception and this is one of those exceptions because the product is quite unique!
I first saw the Mcor Iris 3D Printer at SOLIDWORKS World 2013 – Walt Disney World – Orlando. (Although Mcor Technologies was founded in 2005) At the time it was one of the most intriguing and fascinating 3D Printer going around. For the past few years in the Partner Pavilion of SOLIDWORKS World Mcor Technologies continues to stand out (and not just for their chosen corporate Orange colour – although that is hard to miss). For me I continue to be intrigued by the Mcor Iris. The heart of the Mcor Iris and what continues to separate it from all other 3D printers is it’s use of paper (A4 – 80gsm) as it’s build material. The more you think about it the more it makes logical sense. When you see talk of additive manufacture the first terms used are normally, sliced to produce a layer by layer build. With paper (and paper reams) that is exactly what you already have! Mcor call the process SDL – Selective Deposition Lamination and the component is produced by taking a 3D model and the applications of a combination of Mcor’s SliceIT and ÇolourIT software. The process is by “printing” the ink adhesive (to the selective areas – thus the name) to each paper sheet, hot pressing the sheets together, then cutting each layers profile to shape per sheet and repeat until the model is complete. For more detailed information on the process, it can be found via Mcor White Paper – How Paper Based 3D Printing WorksIt is a “simple”concept that has the ability to produce strong, durable and economical components
What further separates Mcor from other 3D printers is its ability to print true colour (with over a one million colours) that now includes a International Color Consortium (ICC) profile that ensures precise industry-standard colours. So when you now specify John Deere Green you know you will get TY25624. Although you might have trouble specifying Tiffany Blue
With the introduction of the 2014/15 models it now does that not only using 10% less of Mcor’s specially formulated inks (water based) but also at twice the speed from previous models.One of the new developments since the last time I saw Mcor Technologies is the introduction of Mcor FLEX and Mcor SEAL. With the introduction of Mcor FLEX a model that is designed to be flexible is treated with Mcor’s specially formulated water-based PVA coating. This is absorbed into the model to provide support for the structure whilst allowing the part it’s movement. Whilst Mcor SEAL provides a water proof treatment. With the introduction of these two products the Mcor printers now can produce more flexible and durable parts.One of the things I do find most interesting when handling the models made on the Mcor Iris is that it feels like they have returned back to their original product. That is one of wood. There is a solid density to the products and a textured feel of wood grain. This I would put down in part to the sliced edges of the sheets and possibly the shape of some of the parts, it is however very deceptive! There is also a far greater strength and durability than you might imagination from a product which is paper and adhesive. So with that, it might just be time to put that to the test and enjoy!
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