Now that the dust has settled, the Mark Two has been announced, and the team has caught back up on sleep, there's finally some time to take a look back at our time in Dallas at Solidworks World 2016.
Dallas had a lot to offer us - aside from some incredible barbeque at Pecan Lodge and beautiful views of the city on early morning runs on the Katy Trail, the Solidworks World Partner Pavilion where our booth was located had an excellent display of the state-of-the-art technology demos from our fellow Solidworks Solution Partners. We saw demos showcasing the latest tech in 3D design, metrology, 3D scanning, and brand new solutions for the underlying software and hardware platforms to support them. There was some incredible machining demos from the Haas team, complex metal bending bordering on art and a virtual cockpit helicopter simulator that Greg tried his hand at (it was decided that he is a much better CEO than helicopter pilot).
The highlight for us, of course, was finally unveiling the MarkForged Mark Two printer, our second generation machine. Since we started shipping our original Mark One printer a year and a half ago, we've been constantly listening to our customers' feedback on the machine. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, but we aren't satisfied with the status quo. Our customers love pushing the envelope. We wanted to provide them with a tool that evolved the technological breakthroughs of the Mark One to deliver stronger parts faster, and in smaller geometries. Compared to the original Mark One, the Mark Two:
- Prints fiber an average of 40% faster
- Can reinforce 15x smaller parts
- Uses a combination of additional sensors as well as software and hardware improvements to enhance the printing experience
We had an absolute blast with the response to the Mark Two - the booth was packed during all four days of Solidworks World with people who wanted to see the 'carbon fiber 3D printer' (we print so much more than that guys!) and we got to show off some examples of the type of 3D printed parts that our customers are developing for their day-to-day prototyping and end-use purposes.
The star demo of our show was a carbon fiber-reinforced universal ball joint clamp stand developed by Bryan, our Director of Materials. Bryan started with this assembly from Thingiverse to start. He then modified the model in Solidworks to accept some stainless steel rod stock we had in the shop, since the original model used bolts as linkages and we wanted to have an unthreaded surface finish for the display model. Bryan brought the components of the ball joint assembly into Eiger, where he was able to reinforce nearly all layers of the three parts with continuous carbon fiber strands.
This demonstrates a huge advantage of the Mark Two - the upgrades we've made to the printer enable it to reinforce parts up to 15x smaller than the original Mark One. In fact, we were able to directly reinforce the large-diameter threaded portion of the ball joint base and cap. Interestingly enough, (though perhaps not surprising when you consider the deformation mechanics) the outer nylon shell of the threads helped create a locking effect in the assembly that resisted unintentional unscrewing. When the cap was tightened down on the base, the slight amount of elastic deformation produced in the nylon shell tended to lock the cap in place and required a breakaway torque to start unscrewing the cap. This was a completely accidental discovery but is an extremely useful design feature for your parts.
Want to print your own?The original STL files: Universal Ball Mount System by Agger
We edited the STL files to maximize the carbon fiber reinforcement which you can find here: STL Files