Big and bigger 3D printers at Euromold

Printing a bicycle frame at full scale is now possible. The Mcor Iris attracted considerable interest with photorealistic 3D printing on plain paper.

The annual Euromold conference in Frankfurt, Germany each November is to the 3D printing industry what the Detroit Auto Show is to car makers, a chance to show off the new models and test ideas for future products. This year the theme seemed to be Big and Bigger, as several vendors introduced new 3D printers that push the build envelope.

Objet, which just finished becoming part of Stratasys, showed off their new Objet 1000, with an ultra-large build size of 1000 x 800 x 500mm (39.3 x 31.4 x 19.6 inches). Objet is pitching the 1000 for prototyping, not final part creation, but we are sure DIY types will be demanding this soon at their nearest 3D printing service bureau. The printer uses Objet’s Connex technology to build with as many as 14 materials in one print job, but it is still either standard or ABS-grade plastic.  Objet claims such features as living hinges, embedded typography, soft-touch over molding, and moving parts are possible with the Objet 1000. We’ve seen this level of detail produced by smaller Objet models.

The Object 1000 can print items 1000mm long, 800mm wide and 500mm deep. (Source: Objet/Stratasys)

Even more oriented for large manufacturing environments than the Objet 100 is a new laser fusing 3D printer for metal from Concept Laser. The X Line 1000R may have a smaller build envelope than the Objet 1000, at 640mm x 400mm x 500mm, (18.1 x 15.7 x 19.7 inches), but it can print in a variety of metals including various steels and alloys using a variety of metals including aluminum, nickel, titanium, cobalt-chromium, bronze, and precious metals. Batch materials are converted into a powder form using an atomization process.

Concept Laser says there is no material waste, and the cost of generating parts using the laser system is at least as efficient as traditional methods. A rotating build be allows one part to be finishing while another part is being built. The 1000R was developed in partnership with Daimler AG, where the first unit is now in place. Daimler plans to use the 1000R to replace sand-casting and die-casting in early phases of development. The process also makes it possible to generate lightweight structures with a high level of rigidity, once such models are designed for the printer’s capabilities.

“Bigger” was also the theme for 3D Systems at Euromold, where it announced a pair of new high-resolution printers (16 micron layer thickness). The ProJet 3500 HDMax for plastic and the CPXMax for wax both offer a build area of (298 x 185 x 203 mm / 11.75 x 7.3 x 8 inches). Each comes with tablet apps for controlling and monitoring print jobs.

Consumer-class 3D printers were also on display but attendees said the buzz was muted compared to last year. One interesting device that people talked about was the Mcor Iris 3D printer from Mcor Technologies that uses knives and CYMK inkjets to create color 3D models from standard 20 lb. bond paper. Mcor claims the process provides photorealistic 3D models. Build size is 256 x 169 x 150 mm (9.39 x 6.89 x 5.9 inches).

The Mcor Iris 3D printer uses inkjets and knives to turn 20 lb. bond paper into photorealistic 3D models. (Source: Mcor Technologies)
Mcor just signed a deal with office supply chain Staples to add the Mcor Iris to their line of printing services. A test program will start in early 2013 in The Netherlands and Belgium.