Jun 10, 2016 | By Benedict

Highcon, an Israeli provider of digital cutting and creasing solutions, has previewed its forthcoming Shape 3D machine at drupa 2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The machine, scheduled for release in 2019, will use Rapid Layer Manufacturing Technology to create large-scale ‘3D printed’ paper objects.

How do you turn a ‘2D’ printer into a 3D printer? Add a Z-axis, replace the ink with filament, and ditch the paper, right? Okay, so that’s a little dumbed down, and nobody is planning to ‘turn’ their old Canon inkjet into anything, but you get the point. But what if you did things differently in this hypothetical transformation, keeping the paper and ditching the printing materials instead?

For a few years now, that’s essentially what Irish tech company Mcor Technologies has been doing with its ARKe, IRIS, and Matrix 3D printers, which use regular 80GSM A4 paper as a build material, cutting and sticking it into shape to form a 3D object. The passion for paper is evidently on the rise, because Highcon, a paper cutting and creasing specialist from Israel, is about to join the 3D paper trail with its forthcoming Highcon Shape 3D machine, another 3D printer which uses paper instead of plastic or metal to build large 3D objects.

If the world of cutting and creasing is foreign to you, you’re probably not alone. That field, in which Highcon has been a major player since its formation in 2009, involves manipulating paper and card after it has been printed on. Think of some elaborately perforated packaging for a chocolate box: that may well have been digitally cut and creased using digital cutting and creasing machinery. A delightfully complex pop-up book for children? It could have been made by an origami expert, but digital cutting and creasing could again be the secret.

At this year’s drupa international trade fair for the printing world, Highcon showcased its latest range of cutting and creasing equipment, as well as a preview of its forthcoming Shape 3D machine, which could bring the two worlds of paper printing and 3D printing into closer orbit. The giant machine, slated to be fully functional by the 2019 edition of drupa, will purportedly be able to create large-scale objects such as sculptures and even furniture, using nothing but paper, at speeds much higher than current 3D printing technology.

Furniture made of paper, you say? How could that possibly work? While the technical details of the machine are being kept under wraps until nearer its release date, a video animation of the Shape shows that, as with Mcor machines, a user loads up the machine with an ordered stack paper, each page of which is sequentially laser-cut into a specific shape. Each sheet then forms a layer of the 3D printed object, just like with a regular 3D printer. After the final sheet has been cut and attached, the ‘3D printed’ object can be removed from the machine, ready for admiration, or sitting on, or whatever purpose it has been assigned.

To demonstrate the power of its existing cutting and creasing technology, Highcon also commissioned some spectacular ‘3D printed’ paper artwork by origami artist Wanda Barcelona. The stunning displays, which hang from the ceilings of the Düsseldorf Fairgrounds, were shaped with a Highcon Euclid digital cutting machine on Arjowiggins Maine highcon image 2M1 paper. Although Barcelona was at first skeptical of Highcon’s ability to cut and crease on such a scale, pictorial evidence suggests they were successful.

“At drupa 2016 we are proving the strength of our vision of delivering digital technology that bridges the gap between design creativity and production capability,” said Aviv Ratzman, co-founder and CEO of Highcon. “The extensive range of different and exciting applications on our booth, from the paper fashion show through to the general commercial and packaging products,and on to the 3D applications, were all produced on our digital cutting and creasing machines.”



Posted in 3D Printer



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Thomas wrote at 6/13/2016 6:18:50 AM:

It's too long to wait.

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