Mcor’s 3DPrinters. Get Students into STEM free for 3 years!?
Shawn Wasserman posted on May 06, 2015 |


Shawn Wasserman: Hi, I'm Shawn Wasserman, education editor of ENGINEERING.com. I'm here with Julie Reece, with Mcor at SolidWorks World 2015.

Could you tell me a little bit about Mcor?

Julie Reece: Yes, Mcor is the world's only manufacturer of 3D printers that uses ordinary copy paper as the build material.

Shawn Wasserman: Wow, so how do you do that?

Julie Reece: Its layer by layer. A sheet of paper comes in, there's a tungsten carbide tip in there that etches the outline of the model for that one layer, each layer at a time.

Then there's a nozzle that selectively deposits a water-based adhesive, at a very high density in the area where the model needs to adhere, and a very low density in anything that needs to fall away. The blade is also cross-hatching, making cross marks in the area that needs to fall away, too.

Then another sheet of paper comes in, and the machine fuses them together with heat and pressure, and it just continues to cut, and to glue, and builds up additively.

Shawn Wasserman: How many colors can it get into one model?

Julie Reece: It's photorealistic color. So just like a 2D printer, only it's in 3D, and we actually include in our software the ICC color map.

The ICC is International Color Consortium. So a John Deere green going in, is going to be, with our technology, a John Deere green on your model.

Shawn Wasserman: So I know that a lot of schools are starting to get into the 3D printing space and the maker space. Can you tell me a little bit about how Mcor is trying to get into there?

Julie Reece: We really feel like our technology is the most suitable for schools, and there are many reasons for that.

It's the lowest operating cost of any technology in the industry. It's 10~20% of the cost of any other technology. And of course, paper is so ubiquitous, especially at schools.

It's completely safe, which is another aspect. It could be put right in the classroom, plugged right into the normal outlet. There's no special venting, there are no fumes or toxic particle emissions.

When the model comes out, when it's done, and you need to take it out of the paper, which is the support, with Mcor, you simply peel the paper away. You excavate it with your bare hands. And for small little areas, the most you'll need in a tool is common tweezers.

Schools can leverage that 3D printer across departments from engineering to fine arts, to architecture, and to medicine. This is a conrod (connecting rod) that would be suitable for an engineering class, and which finite element analysis (FEA) has been done on the model itself.

Shawn Wasserman: So this was done with SolidWorks simulation? The finite element?

Julie Reece: Yes, exactly.

Shawn Wasserman: Okay.

Julie Reece: And here is another engineering model that would be suitable for an engineering classroom. It's strong enough, where you can tap it and drill it, and we've done that here. So if you twist this propeller, it'll move.

Shawn Wasserman: What do you think is the importance of making all these 3D printing prototypes?

Julie Reece: I think especially for education, there's nothing that's going to communicate better than actually having a student hold, examine, twist it around in their hands.

And it excites students, it gets them energized and enthusiastic about the class, and it prepares them for the careers that they're going to have when they come out of school.

They'll have a portfolio of the models that they produced, and they'll be able to take them into prospective employer, and say, "Here's what I've produced."

Shawn Wasserman: So how do you entice schools to get into Mcor?

Julie Reece: We have a special offer for schools. The technology's already low-cost to begin with, but if they buy one of our machines for their school, they'll get three years of free and unlimited consumables to operate the machine. Which means 3D printing for students for three years is free.

Shawn Wasserman: That's amazing. That is amazing. That'll get a lot of kids into STEM.

Julie Reece: I think so, and that's ultimately what's really important here: is to get students young. Get the girls young. Get the boys young. And get them interested and energized into technology.

Shawn Wasserman: And because it's so cheap, you can also get to those low-income neighborhoods, and also the minority neighborhoods?

Julie Reece: Absolutely, that's critical. That's one of the benefits of paper, is that it's widely accessible at any local office supply store.

Shawn Wasserman: I'm Shawn Wasserman, the simulation and education editor of ENGINEERING.com. I'm here with Julie Reece from Mcor, at SolidWorks World 2015.

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