It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from our favorite paper-based 3D printing friends over at MCor Technologies. The proud Irish (they offer cans of Guinness at their booth during trade shows if you ask nicely FYI) company has reported annual sales of their eco-friendly printers up over 600% and are showing no signs of slowing down. As one of the fastest growing 3D printing firms, it was only a matter of time before some Silicon Valley venture capitalists came knocking…and they recently did to the tune of over $20M to help push the $45K paper-based 3D printers further into the market.
“(Business) is Absolutely Flying”
With more business in November and December than all of 2013 combined as well as securing a new round of funding, MCor is certainly on track for making 2014 their best year yet. The company’s IRIS full-color 3D printer uses standard and widely-accessible A4 paper to create 3D prints that are capable of delivering over 1 million colors. The possibilities of creating true-to-life objects are literally endless…so long as you are okay with the final print being a solid block of paper:
In contrast to plastic prints, the ability to print full-color objects like the orange above with color accuracy has a considerably high demand from architects, engineers, and universities. Additionally, the cost to run the machines is cheaper and more eco-friendly than more traditional plastic-based 3D printers.
We had a chance to catch up with MCor’s CMO Dierdre MacCormack (Wife of CEO and Founder Conor MacCormack) at last years’ SolidWorks World to get a tour of how their flagship IRIS printers work:
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!!
(Images via MCor Technologies)