Back in July 2015, I visited Mcor’s Dunleer, Ireland HQ to report on the 10 year anniversary celebrations, during a brief tour I noted that there was an area cordoned off and purposefully obscured from fellow revellers' eyes. “R&D” I was told, it made sense that a company that is always innovating should want to protect their IP, but something about it stuck with me and had me speculating that this wasn’t another stage of evolution for its IRIS machinery but a complete revolution.
On day one of CES 2016 those speculations were confirmed as Mcor Technologies launched the Mcor Arke, a sub- $6,000 (CES launch price) machine capable of printing photorealistic full-colour models on the desktop.
The Mcor Arke
The name ‘Arke’ comes from the same part of Greek Mythology as the machine that came before it, Iris. Arke is the twin sister to Iris - the personification of the rainbow. And much like its twin sister the Mcor Arke has taken the paper-based technology that first debuted at TCT Show back in 2008. If you are not familiar with the process Mcor has perfected over the past decade it uses plain paper as the raw material, razors to cut each layer, inkjets to colour each layer and glue to both hold together and laminate the final layer.
Since the launch in 2008 Mcor’s technology has been garnered with award after award, the team has never rested on those laurels, constantly innovating Mcor has taken the Iris machine to a point of optimisation rarely seen in this industry. CEO Conor MacCormack said during last year’s visit to the HQ: “We see ourselves as an R&D company at heart, this will enable us to realise our long term vision of putting a 3D printer in every office, classroom and eventually every home. We think the DNA in our technology will enable that to happen. We believe that over the next three years we are looking at a very massive growth, within that time we can grow to over 250 employees.”
The Arke is a massive step towards achieving that dream of a 3D printer in every classroom, its plug-’n’-play nature, its readily available and familiar consumables, its closed-box solution and most importantly its price point mean this machine will be an attractive proposition to anyone requiring full-colour models.
The need for full colour on the desktop mustn’t be underestimated, Apple recently saw it as a sufficient gap in the market to publish a patent application pertaining to a process to make full-colour models, and several companies have attempted, unsuccessfully, to bring colour 3D printing to the market. Most processes prove too complicated and limited in their colours, whereas the Mcor Arke can produce models in a DPI of 4800 x 2400 twice that of leading industrial scale 3D printing machinery.
Mcor Arke's Paper Roll
Mcor Arke's Paper Roll
The Arke machine has been scaled down both in price and size that is roughly comparable to a MakerBot Replicator but retains a similar process to the Iris. One particularly important space saving feature is the new roll of paper as opposed to using reams of office paper the paper is on a roll which not only saves space but also minimises any potential feed issues. Another of the machine’s selling points is its customisable designs with four to chose from.
The Mcor Arke is sure to make a splash at CES 2016 and you should stay tuned for a video from the team showcasing the new machine.