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Mcor’s unique paper-based 3D print technology has been holding up strong at their select Staples locations in Europe. I had the opportunity to talk with Mcor’s CMO Deirdre MacCormack at SolidWorks World 2013 where she walked me through how their Iris 3D printer works (the one being used at Staples), as well as some updates on how soon those in the US can be swinging by Staples to pick up a 3D print before picking the kids up from school…and perhaps a desktop offering to compete with the MakerBot Replicator II?

The Mcor Iris 3D Printer

Let’s Take a Look at That Resolution, Shall We?





Interview with Deirdre MacCormack

Tell us a little bit about MCor. Who are you guys, and how did you get involved with 3D printing?
Mcor Technologies was the vision of brothers Dr Conor MacCormack and co founder Fintan MacCormack. With a firm interest and exposure to rapid prototyping, both founders realised that 3D printing technology was not being exploited and utilised to its full potential due to the high ‘total cost of ownership’ of the technology. And so it was that on the back of some desk research, the idea of producing an entry level 3D printer was born. The company was formed in 2005 and Mcor’s technology mission was clear; to bring 3D printing to the masses and to make 3D printing as easy as printing on paper!

Mcor Technologies CEO, Dr. Conor MacCormack is former site manager for a 5th Framework European project with Airbus and principle investigator with SPS Technologies in the US in the aerospace sector. Conor has a PhD in mechanical engineering from Trinity College Dublin and has in depth experience in the CAD/3D printing field.

Fintan MacCormack leads the company’s technical development as Chief Technical Officer. A qualified aircraft mechanic and graduate from the prestigious Temple University in the US in electrical engineering, Fintan has accumulated a vast amount of experience in control systems and machine software development with the world’s leader in wire bonding machines in the semi-conductor industry Kulicke and Soffa Industries.

How did you guys develop your paper-based 3D printing technology?
The vision was to develop a 3D printer with a very low running cost so what is the lowest cost sheet material you can find?? Yes, paper. Conor and Fintan also wanted the printer to be eco-friendly and focused on working with a water based adhesive – the end result was the Matrix!

How has the Staples-based print program been working out, and when can we expect to see the service in the USA? Which cities might be your first markets in the USA?
Staples Printing Systems Division plans to take Staples Easy 3D worldwide. The online platform for Staples Easy 3D will initially be made available in the Netherlands and Belgium in Q1 2013 and will be rolled out quickly to other countries. Staples Printing Systems Division will make an announcement about this soon. This is a very exciting partnership for us and one we believe with provide a real platform to reach a consumer market.

You mentioned a desktop printer. When might we see a more consumer-friendly machine?
We are very R & D focused company and are planning many new printers – so it could be smaller, bigger, faster in the future – who knows!

What are some of the benefits of printing with paper vs other 3D printing filaments?
It is low cost and eco-friendly material and it is very accessible!
And with the IRIS full colour works perfectly with paper – we can achieve photo-realistic 3D parts with the resolution you would expect from a high quality 2D colour printer. In this one machine we can produce up to 1 million colours and 5760 x 1440 x 508 dpi. We can achieve superior colour fidelity – what you see on the screen is what you get. We are to the 3D printer world what wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) was to the 2D document word. Our goal in the industry is to deliver a more consistent and rich colour palette from part to part which is not achievable with current technologies. As we like to say, our colour has soul!!


  • Adam

    Amazing to actually see this thing in action. I’m still struggling to believe that it’s practical for large scale use–it seems pretty wasteful to just throw away 50+% of your raw material–but it’s interesting none the less. Thanks for putting this together!

  • Simon Martin

    Great point Adam–makes total sense. When I asked the same question in a side conversation she mentioned a Tetris-approach towards filling the print bay with multiple models….similar to Shapeways. Will be interesting to see though!

  • M.S.

    Interesting stuff, though I have serious doubts about the idea of WYSIWYG color fidelity. Even seasoned graphics professionals struggle with managing color profiles and convincing the printer to obey them, not to mention matching the calibration of one’s monitor to one’s software and then to one’s printer. The “secret” to the color printing inside the mcor is just an inkjet printer, so I don’t see how it could perform any better…?

  • That 50+% throwaway should be easily recycled, though that is one benefit other 3D printers have – near-zero waste. Would be interesting to see if they set up some sort of recycling loop with Staples or even their desktop users.