ralphzoontjens wrote:Anything specific you would like to know?
Get something printed, take some photos of the whole experience, what it costs, how long it takes, what you can see in the shop, what the staff tell you and how knowledgable they are.
Submit it to Core77 as a possible blog article.
Hi, so I went to Staples a few weeks ago, and learned a lot more about this 3D printing service. I don't have time to do a well-written blog article so I'm just going to sum the most important things up listwise and if you want to know more then you can ask me of course. I also attached a picture with some examples of paper-based printed items.
- They use the MCor Matrix 300 printer, which creates objects by stacking sheets of paper with adhesive. It is based on Selective Deposition Lamination, SDL. This is different from LOM (Laminated Object Manufacturing) in that 1. Application of glue is selective, so the support structure is not glued together, which facilitates much easier object weeding, and 2. The shapes get cut out of the paper by a cutting blade instead of a laser.
- Input material is standard office paper. It can also be colored by a modified inkjet printer which prints through the entire paper on both sides. Color goes a few mm inside the object so it doesn't come off easily. First the entire stack of paper is 2D printed, then the printed stack needs to be moved to the 3D printer. This does make the printer a bit bulky but still smaller than Shapeways' SLS machines. The ink and glue used are non-toxic.
- The properties of the printed object are woodlike, it feels like MDF but light like balsa wood. It feels very strong but inflexible, although with different adhesives objects can be made more flexible - they had no example of this though. I read that it would even be possible to incorporate living hinges. Accuracy is 0.1 mm, bounding box 17 x 26 x 15 cm.
- Printing an object does seem to take a long time from what I have seen - they had a printer running. Cutting could be around 30-60s per slice, applying the glue 60s or more. Together with 2D printing it could be as much as 2-2.5 minutes for each 0.12 mm thick layer. A full-colored object could then take up to 35 hours to print! Watch a movie here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... Jk8O6y6fpM
- Because the support structure is not glued together you can create very intricate structures. One object they had was an open buckyball-like structure. You cannot create hollow chambers though because this will trap the support structure.
- It is not recommended to use the objects for outdoor applications, although a water glass (SiO2) coating can be applied to make it water-resistant. This makes the object look wet but does bring out the color quite vividly. The layers can still be seen but nevertheless it looked impressive to me.
- Costs will be about EUR 1 / cm3
- They are as good as ready to launch their 3D printing service. This will include the possibility of opening a webshop, just like Shapeways.
- The staff was very friendly and open but I think they were more sales-oriented, and I don't know about their technical knowledge and experience. Might still be a bit underdeveloped.
All in all, it looks promising to me and I am looking forward to trying out their service.