By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
I worked with this guy who bought a hot love machine to advance his profile with the girls. Envious wheels. It growled waiting for the stoplight to change and hugged corners like paint on a wall. A real head turner. The problem was that if you even looked at the accelerator, it burnt a gallon of premium gas. So, my buddy spent all his dough filling the thing up, leaving him none to impress a date.
Machinery can do that to you in an engineering environment as well. Many small outfits skip out on the boost rapid prototyping can give them, not because of the price of the machine per se, but because they can’t afford to buy a whole lot of the materials to keep it busy. It’s a vicious cycle. Since they can’t afford to use it as much as they like for, say, concept modeling, building examples to wow potential clients, or for fit and form testing, they can miss out on new business or have longer design cycles.
So, the other day I came across the Matrix 300+ 3D printer from an Irish outfit called Mcor Technologies. One intent of this device seems to be to break this bottleneck for SMBs, or any outfit wanting to get into 3D printing that has not satisfied their concerns about its total operating costs. Here’s why I think that: The Matrix 300+ uses regular old letter-sized paper and a water-based bonding agent to produce eco-friendly models.
“Paper?” I hear you say. Yes, paper. That could lower your materials costs dramatically, enabling you to produce literally reams of models. Still, paper? So, I started poking around and found that my colleague John Newman over at DE’s Rapid Ready Technology had taken a look at this device and held its issue. He says the parts are “remarkably resilient.”
Parts are built using a layering technology the company calls Variable Volume Deposition (VVD), which seems to offer a way to make parts both more durable as well as complex. Checking out the image gallery on the Mcor website, it seems there are some cool and complex models its technology can produce. Incidentally, some of the model subjects are amusing.
I can tell you that the specs seem pretty respectable too. The Matrix 300+ offers a 10 x 6.66 x 5.9 in. build size and 0.004 in. resolution. It has two modes of production, draft and presentation, so these numbers can vary a bit. It also comes with software to process STL models for 3D printing. It does not, apparently come with fumes, so it does not require special venting and can be located around people.
The Matrix 300+ will be available globally by the end of the year, which is coming fast. At press time, the company had not yet determined pricing. They did tell me that it will cost less than $15,000 in the US.
All in all, the Matrix 300+ strikes me as a very interesting product with the potential to bring the benefits of 3D printing into more engineering shops. You can learn more about the Matrix 300+ from today’s Pick of the Week write-up. Make sure to hit the links to check out the image gallery and John Newman’s report on the Matrix 300+.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
This is sponsored content. Click here to see how it works.