There could be hundreds or thousands of applications for this new technology, especially within the prosthetic industry, as carbon fiber is the perfect material for prosthesis.
This is the week of the SolidWorks World 2014 in San Diego, Ca, and so far there have been quite a few pretty groundbreaking announcements from the convention.
Last night we got the announcement from Stratasys, pertaining to their multi-material, multi-color printers, and this afternoon we got to take a look at a printer which is the first ever carbon fiber extruding 3D printer on the market.
It’s called the “Mark One,” and is manufactured by MarkForged. Gregory Mark, the President of MarkFoged, also co-owns Aeromation, which is another tech company responsible for manufacturing computer controlled race car wings. The wings are typically made out of carbon fiber because of its lack of weight, and durability. Mark found that it is quite a daunting task to manufacture parts out of carbon fiber because of the time and expense in laying the fiber down, piece by piece, in the production process. That’s what sparked the initial drive for him to pursue a 3D printer which could simply print the material.
The Mark One printer can print in four different materials, one at a time, which includes carbon fiber, fiberglass, PLA, and nylon.
We took the idea of 3D printing, that process of laying things down strand by strand, and we used it as a manufacturing process to make composite parts,” he told PopMech. “We say it’s like regular 3D printers do the form. We do form and function, said Mark.