Jan.28, 2014

Designed to overcome the strength limitations of other 3D printed materials, the MarkForged Mark One 3D printer is the world's first 3D printer designed to print composite materials. Now you can print parts, tooling, and fixtures with a higher strength-to-weight ratio than 6061-T6 Aluminum.

Gregory Mark, the President of MarkFoged, debuted the Mark One 3D printer at SolidWorks World 2014 in San Diego with a working prototype. Mark co-owns Aeromotions, which builds fastest carbon fiber racecar wings and spoilers. Carbon fiber is a super strong material that's also extremely lightweight. It's five times as strong as steel, yet weighs about two-thirds less. Most car components are made of steel. But engineers love carbon fiber because by replacing steel components with carbon fiber they could manage to reduce the weight of most cars by 60 percent.

However only a few cars available at your local dealership use carbon fiber, because making car parts out of carbon fiber is an expensive and difficult process that requires laying pieces by hand. To find a solution, Mark turned to 3D printing. However there is no such a printer existing that can print in carbon fiber.

So Mark designed and created his own: the MarkForged Mark One, the world's first carbon fiber 3D printer. The MarkForged Mark One allows you to 3D print parts in carbon fiber, fiberglass, nylon and PLA, one at a time. It features an anodized aluminum unibody and a translucent printing bed. Kinematic coupling makes it simple to level the bed - the bed clicks into the same place every time, within 10 microns. The printer itself is compact and elegant looking, measuring 22.6 x 14.2 x 12.7 in (574 x 361 x 323mm) which is suitable for your desktop.

Features and specifications:

  • Printing Technology: Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) / Composite Filament Fabrication (CFF)
  • Build Size: 305mm x 160mm x 160mm (12″ x 6.25″ x 6.25″, 486ci)
  • Material Compatibility: Carbon Fiber, Fiberglass, Nylon, PLA
  • Highest Layer Resolution: FFF Printing: 100 Microns / CFF Printing: 200 Microns
  • Extruders: Dual Quick Change
  • Filament Sizes: FFF: 1.75mm, CFF: MF4
  • Pause / Resume Prints: Yes
  • Chassis: Anodized Aluminum Unibody
  • Build Platform: Kinematically Coupled
  • Draft Blocking Enclosure: Yes
  • Software: Cloud Enabled
  • Supported OS: Mac OS 10.7 Lion +, Win XP+, Linux
  • Supported Browser: Chrome 30+, Firefox 10+, Safari 6+
  • Supported Files: STL, .OBJ
  • Connectivity: WiFi, USB, SD Card carbonfibe3

"We took the idea of 3D printing, that process of laying things down strand by strand, and we used it as a manufacturing process to make composite parts," he told PopMech. "We say it's like regular 3D printers do the form. We do form and function."

"Composite Filament Fabrication allows you to 3D print parts that are stronger than CNC machined aluminum by weight." says the company. The racecar wing (see image below) is printed with a nylon outershell and honeycomb structure, with a carbon fiber reinforced core. Carbon fiber is two times as stiff as steel, 20 times stiffer and five times stronger than ABS. Mark expects that customers could explore prosthetics, custom bones, tools, and fixtures with this Mark One carbon fiber 3D printer.

However although carbon fiber is a great material, it is not easy to recycle - carbon fiber can't be melted down. And even when it is recycled, the recycled carbon fiber isn't as strong as it was before recycling. This is one of the hurdles that carbon fiber is not in widespread use.

The Mark One is priced at $5,000 and will be available for pre-order starting in February, and for shipping in the second half of 2014.


Posted in 3D Printers

 

 

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AMnerd wrote at 2/4/2014 10:29:08 AM:

@PatrikD, nope, just one of the million FDM clones whose creator happened to find a carbon fiber filament spool online. The whole effort is quite pointless too, as the fiber strength will be useless in Z. You can argue that parts can be designed for X-Y stress all you want, but if you have any experience with mechanisms you know that there is no such thing as a stress that doesn't have an angle.

PatrikD wrote at 1/31/2014 1:31:17 AM:

So, is there *anything* new here, other than marketing? Other people have produced carbon fiber filament for 3D printers before.

Chris wrote at 1/30/2014 12:26:29 AM:

@ That Guy - Fair comment, I wasn't really hating on the design merely identifying its limitation. I will retire the horse and stash it with my old paradigm! This system would certainly make a 6 axis 3d printer useful.

alvaro wrote at 1/29/2014 2:15:35 PM:

This is the first generation of carbon fiber 3D printer . Soon another models will rise.

That Guy wrote at 1/29/2014 1:59:23 AM:

So take the part and split into two parts printed so they line up at 90 degrees and glue them together. A rather simple explanation for what would take some engineering to get the materials right, but not impossible. You probably could get slicing software to do it automatically. Plus if done right it would make making parts bigger than the platform easier. People need to stop thinking that you have to make a part that looks exactly like what it is replacing. Lay ups and pre-peg have their own limitations. Not everything is going to be press and print to a final object, just like current composite and injection molding have their own inherent limitations. Stop trying to make horseless carriages and make an automobile- get your head out of the current paradigm. I hate the word paradigm.

David wrote at 1/28/2014 4:40:21 PM:

Material will definitely be much stronger on the x / y axis than on the Z. This problem did not arrive with carbon fiber material, it is also the same when we talk about 3d printed plastics. Most of the time, the pieces will need great resistance in one or two direction, and a good orientation of the piece on the print bed can overcome the problem. If you need a piece that is strong in every directions, then you will be in trouble indeed.

MachServTech wrote at 1/28/2014 4:37:30 PM:

Seems that this isn't viable for more than marketing hype. The purpose of carbon fiber is defeated by the FDM process itself.....unless the carbon fiber magically grows itself between the FDM layers.

Bri wrote at 1/28/2014 2:13:00 PM:

@Chris - Yes much of the strength is derived from the weave pattern of the carbon fiber, this also applies to other similar fibers. It would appear that this system would have some serious shortcomings in that respect.

Chris wrote at 1/28/2014 1:30:51 PM:

How does the carbon overcome the inherent weakness of the layering process vertically? I understand that in the correct orientation the structures will be super strong - but it is still only a resin that is binding each vertical layer together? Isn't it carbon weave's multidirectionalness that makes it a super strong material?



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