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New 3D Printer Can Print With Carbon Fiber 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the harder-better-faster-stronger dept.
cold fjord sends this news from Popular Mechanics: "[M]aking custom racecar parts out of carbon fiber is daunting. The only real method available is CNC machining, an expensive and difficult process that requires laying pieces by hand. To improve the process, [Gregory Mark] looked to 3D printing. But nothing on the market could print the material, and no available materials could print pieces strong enough for his purposes. So Mark devised his own solution: the MarkForged Mark One, the world's first carbon fiber 3D printer. Mark debuted his Boston area-based startup MarkForged at SolidWorks World 2014 in San Diego with a working prototype. The Mark One can print in carbon fiber, fiberglass, nylon and PLA (a thermoplastic). ... The main advantage of the Mark One: It can print parts 20 times stiffer and five times stronger than ABS, according to the company. It even has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than CNC-machined aluminum. ... Mark says that he imagines this machine is for anybody who wants to print in a material as strong as aluminum. Beyond racecars, it could be useful to industries like prosthetics."
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New 3D Printer Can Print With Carbon Fiber

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  • Er... what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @08:18PM (#46096437) Homepage

    "The only real method available is CNC machining, an expensive and difficult process that requires laying pieces by hand."

    CNC means Computer Numerical Controlled, which isn't remotely similar to laying out sheets of resin-bonded carbon fiber by hand. Or are they forming blocks of fiber made out of a lot of bonded sheets, and then CNC-milling them into shapes? That seems like a pointless waste. Very confusing sentence, there.

  • Re:Uggh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @08:24PM (#46096477)

    Tried machining fibreglass :), dust is a bit of a problem.

    And if you machine CF, you cut through the fibres and lose the strength.

    To get around that you shape a plastic core using CNC, then you have to lay the CF over the core by hand. This bypasses those problems, you can print the core then precision lay the CF thread by thread.

    Another (later poster) got that wrong as well, this *is* as good as hand laid for most applications.

  • Re:i don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by csumpi (2258986) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:48PM (#46097167)
    Yes, that' what I thought, too. Until I built a 3d printer, spent time to calibrate it and learned how to use it.

    Now I can make things much much stronger than a garlic press.
  • by oscrivellodds (1124383) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:50PM (#46097173)

    I doubt it. The strength and weight of CF are very dependent on the manufacturing technique used. CF bike frames are designed using software than can model the forces produced by the rider and road and the resulting effect on the CF frame including CF characteristics that result from the manufacturing techniques to be employed. The 3D printing technique is unlikely to produce a maximum strength or minimum weight frame, compared to the currently used CF frame manufacturing techniques.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:24PM (#46097299)

    What's interesting is that'd you'd be able to print replacement parts. Autoparts are a big deal. And autobody is a big racket I mean, industry.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:13AM (#46100391)

    Ah, I think I get what you're trying to explain to me, you're saying that injection moulding and other trad methods can be beat on price, by current printers, for niche (short-run) products? Is this the case?

    Yes. Doing a mould for injection moulding can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000+, which is where most of the setup costs go. After that, you can stamp out thousands of parts using ti for pennies each.

    A 3D printer is ideal for small runs (under 1000 or so) because while each part is more expensive, you're not incurring expensive NRE in making a mould. And depending on the quantity, you can save some time since you don't have to wait for the mould to be machined and tested (which can take weeks).

    Before that you really only had CNC machining and vacu-forming to make parts. Today, you have an additive process (3D printing).

    I suppose the next revolution would be a combined 3D printer and CNC mill - the CNC is great for shaving stuff off bulk (something 3D printing does poorly - the more solid there is, the harder it is to printer), while 3D printing can be used to make structures that are impossible via a single piece.

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