What do you do when you have a unique and innovative product? One that is successful and continues to distinguish itself from every other product in it market. In the case of Mcor Technologies you start up SOLIDWORKS, take all of the knowledge & experience you have gained over the previous ten years and design a SMALLER better 3D printer! The Mcor ARKe
For those not familiar with Mcor and what has made them unique in the world of 3D Printing. At the heart of Mcor product and what continues to separate them from all other 3D printers is their use of paper as it’s build material.
It’s was brave decision for Mcor to start with a blank sheet of paper. (Sorry about that, but I had to work that pun in there somewhere! Technically it was a new SOLIDWORKS Assembly! ) Maybe they had heard Peter Diamandis and his “Moonshot Thinking” 10x vs 10% (A 10x vs 10% improvement is a 100 times more worth it … But it is never 100 times harder.)
The Mcor ARKe now takes over from the Mcor Iris (and assigns it to a place in history). The Iris was a product that I’ve seen develop & improve over previous years of viewing at SOLIDWORKS Worlds. The Iris was a large free standing 3D Printer. With a (large) commercial cost of around $50,000!
The Mcor ARKe has been reduced to a “Desktop” size printer (admittedly a large desk is required) with an indicative price of $8,000. Reducing the size of the machine by 50% and the cost by over 80% is quite the remarkable achievement! But the improvements don’t just stop with size and price. Performance has also been greatly improved. Up to four times faster than the IRIS with a 50% increase in DPI resolution, at 4800×2400, and a 150% increase in color resolution. Print volume is 240 x 210 x 125 mm (compared to the Iris 256 x 169 x 150mm) which is close to an identical print volume.I had an enjoyable and interesting talk with both Dr Conor & Deirdre MacCormack, on a wide range of subjects, whilst at this years SOLIDWORKS World 2016. When we did get around to the subject of the Mcor ARKe, Conor explained how they were able to achieve both the size and price reduction.One of the issues with the Iris was that it was treating each process in separate areas. Printing of the paper, then moving it to have the adhesive applied, then moving to be cut, then on to building and pressing! This in part was due to the use of standard ream paper. One of Mcor “marketing” points was exactly that! The ability to have a simple supply of “Standard Paper”.
Sometimes hard decisions need to be made! (Again 10x not 10%) By replacing the “ream of paper” with a roll of paper has allowed much of the new design.Now all the processes of printing, adhesive application, cutting and pressing have now been moved to the the one area at the top of the printer. Allowing the components to do the moving and apply their process at the one location. This has also allowed for the simplification of much of the design. Along with a reduction of many components. The final piece to assist with the reduction in cost was to move to a new manufacturer for the product. With it’s size, cost and colour printing ability has now made the Mcor ARKe a far more competitive product. Allowing it compete with many of the more “traditional” 3D Printer and having many advantages over them!