World’s First True Color 3D Printer Has a Secret Ingredient: Paper
August 1st, 2013
The color of 3D printed objects is usually limited to the color of the filament that they’re made of. But the Iris 3D printer by Mcor Technologies can print objects in practically any color, allowing for more realistic replicas or sophisticated products and prototypes. That’s because it follows grandma’s recipe: it prints using paper. It also needs grandma though.
Iris uses Letter or A4 size paper to print, but it cheats a bit. Before using Iris, first you have to print cross sections of the object to be printed on a conventional 2D printer. But you can’t just use any type of ink. Mcor developed a special type of ink that soaks through paper to ensure that the finished product doesn’t have bits of white paper showing through.
When the cross sections are printed, you feed those sheets to Iris. The machine will then cut the paper and add adhesive to the cross sections, layer by layer until the object is finished. Resolution for the printer is 5760 x 1440 x 508 dpi on the X, Y and Z axes, respectively.
Who would have thought? The great thing about the Iris is that the objects you make with it are biodegradable and recyclable. However, just like ink printers, Iris costs a lot to use. You have to shell out $15,866 (USD) per year to rent one. But it’s not too bad, considering Mcor will also provide the materials and additional service along with the printer itself.