The world’s first ever carbon fiber 3D printer is set to become available later this year, according to Popular Mechanics.
Created by Gregory Mark, co-owner of Aeromotions; a company that builds racecar wings from carbon fiber, the goal of this creation is to improve the carbon fiber manufacturing process.
Mark looked to 3D printing to help streamline the process of creating carbon fiber racecar wings, but there was nothing available that could print components that were strong enough for his purposes. So Mark set to work creating the world’s first carbon fiber 3D printer –the MarkForged Mark One.
Mark debuted his start-up company, MarkForged, at SolidWorks World 2014 with a working prototype of his carbon fiber printer.
The $5,000 MarkForged Mark One 3D printer is a compact size at only 22 by 13 inches and looks surprisingly basic with its simplistic layout. The concept behind the design, however, is nothing short of revolutionary. The Mark One uses a spool of carbon fiber to create objects that are up to five times stronger than plastic 3D printed parts. The device uses kinematic coupling and keeps the bed consistently level, which means that there’s no need to readjust the bed in between prints.
The Mark One 3D printer is capable of printing in fiberglass, nylon, PLA, and, of course, carbon fiber.
“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,” Mark said. “We say it’s like regular 3D printers do the form. We do form and function.”
Mark says that this device can be used by anyone who wants to print in a material that is as strong as aluminum; vehicle components, bike parts, prosthetic arms –the list goes on!
MarkForged plans to start taking pre-orders in February, and hopes to deliver printers to customers later this year.