Mark Forged introduces a 3-D carbon fiber printer in this Mashable video presented by Mikah Sargent Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. The new Mark One 3-D printer is the current name for the device. The device could be an aerospace engineer’s (or any material engineer) choice to build a part with carbon fiber – or other durable/non-durable materials. You can’t print carbon fiber with your current 3-D printer. The Mark One has a special print head to handle high-strength non-metals.
For a “teaser video” of the Mark One in printing action link again to the Mark Forged website. Mark Forged’s copy describes carbon fiber as “the strongest material in the world.” That may be true as long as you are looking for a long strand material with very high tensile strength. Marked Forge suggests it be used in the construction of “aerospace parts, rockets and Formula One cars.” One might guess that such material should have military, commercial and ‘technical’ applications. The site also cautions to forget about chopped carbon fill – although you could likely still 3-D print with that material.
Speaking of materials, carbon fiber is apparently not the exclusive material for the Mark One printer. Some of these materials are reported by the Mark Forged page for use in this 3-D printing process. (Recall that the gadget has a new design in printer head technology.) Using fiberglass and nylon in the process gives the builder a number of cost options – carbon fiber is not necessarily needed in every construction. It is far beyond the scope of this post to cover the chemistries, properties and wide cost varieties of nylon polymers for such applications. You would need a guidebook for that and it is extremely expensive.
And there is something slightly “new” in the mix for the Mark Forged carbon fiber printer – polylactic acid polymers. These are being promoted as “bioplastics”, degradable and listed under resin code 7. The site suggests a “higher strength to weight ratio” than 6061-T6 Aluminum might be achieved with carbon fiber. The current Mark One is compact with numerous resources – please check the Mark Forged website for the full range of specifications on this state-of-the-art open source 3-D printer. One last thing - the Mark One may not be for the home enthusiast.