A 3D Printer That Prints with 2D Paper?

Can you imagine a 3D printer can print out objects in full color but use everyday office paper as material?

This 3D printer, given the name Arke, is developed by Mcor Technologies which was founded a decade ago in Ireland by two brothers. The Arke is the desktop version of a larger printer.

“We had this very simple idea: If we could build a printer that had zero running costs, it would make people want the technology,” said CEO and co-founder Conor MacCormack in a call with Fortune.

MacCormack believes he and his brother, Fintan, have found that with Arke. Instead of plastics or other materials, the printer uses an adhesive to stick together sheets of paper fed into the machine in a fashion similar to that of 2D laser printers. Once sheets of paper have been layered on top of one another, a slicer cuts the profile of the shape being printed. What the machine spits out at the end looks like a block of office paper, but the finished print is actually on the inside. The sections of paper sheets that are glued together more strongly make up the 3D print, while the sections of paper sheets loosely adhered serve as a support structure to keep the 3D print intact until it’s finished. When completed, one can peel away the excess paper, leaving behind the final 3D print.

It seems implausible, but the MacCormack brothers have used this technology to print a number of objects, including models of buildings, convincingly edible replicas of fruit, a bust of President Obama’s head, and a hammer strong enough to drive a nail into a board.

“Paper is incredibly strong when you layer it up,” said MacCormack. “Think of paper like a scaffold, and then you can put into it a resin, so you can get things that are really, really hard.”

The other exciting innovation found in the Arke is full color, something that has been lacking in the desktop 3D printing market. Mcor’s printer color inks are in high resolutions, as the most advanced 2D printer available today would, onto the paper 3D-printed object. “Our definition of full color is any color at any time,” MacCormack said,“We’re standing on the shoulders of the 2D-printing world.”

(Source: Fortune.com)



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