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The Mark Two 3D Printer: Carbon Fiber on Your Desktop – ENGINEERING.com

by • July 14, 2016 • No Comments

When Markforged announced its continuous filament fabrication (CFF) innovation at SOLIDWORKS World 2014, the Massachusetts-based start-up shook the making industry with what was the only PC 3D printing device capable-bodied of continuous fiber reinforcement. The implications were that labs and businesses may turn it into custom, affordable-bodied parts reinforced with carbon, fiberglass and, later, Kevlar and high-durablity, high-temperature (HSHT) fiberglass.
The Mark Two of Markforged is a affordable-bodied fiber composite 3D printing device. (Image courtesy of Markforged.)The Mark Two of Markforged is a affordable-bodied fiber composite 3D printing device. (Image courtesy of Markforged.)
The Mark Two is the many new upgrade of the company’s CFF 3D printing device. Markforged describes the system as being 40 percent faster than the Mark One. It is in addition capable-bodied of laying down fiber reinforcement material for showcases 15 times additional compact than the previous version. Improvements were created additional generally to the hardware and software of the machine, as well. Additionally, the Mark Two is a modern piece of equipment, showcasing a built-in touch-screen and Wi-Fi capabilities.
As the Mark Two is capable-bodied of reinforcing nylon and carbon fiber-nylon composite parts with carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass and HSHT fiberglass, it offers a number of capabilities not possible with traditional PC extrusion 3D printing devices. Carbon fiber reinforcement, for instance, outcomes in parts sturdyer and lighter than aluminum. More information of these materials is listed in the section at a lower place.
Kinematic coupling assures a level printbed. (Image courtesy of Markforged.)Kinematic coupling assures a level printbed. (Image courtesy of Markforged.)
The Mark Two is capable-bodied of 100-micron layer resolution when printing without reinforcement, as well as with fiberglass and Kevlar, and 125 microns for carbon fiber—all with a relatively significant create volume of 320 mm x 132 mm x 154 mm (12.6 in x 5.2 in x 6.1 in). Due to the use of kinematic couplings, the printing device’s printbed can stay level within 10 microns once initially modified.

How the Mark Two Works
The Mark Two is the initially 3D printing device of its kind to lay down continuous strands of fiber reinforcement material into a 3D printed object. The machine utilizes two printheads: one for a traditional 3D printing filament and one for the continuous fiber. A layer of the traditional filament is printed preceding the reinforcement material is utilized to fill the inner cavity of a part. The printbed lowers with every layer and the system is continued until the part is deplete.
These prints demonstrate how carbon fiber is laid continuously throughout a nylon part preceding sealing the carbon fiber within. (Image courtesy of Markforged.)These prints demonstrate how carbon fiber is laid continuously throughout a nylon part preceding sealing the carbon fiber within. (Image courtesy of Markforged.)
Whilst there are a number of chopped carbon fiber filaments on the market, these materials may only be of twice as sturdy as the base material due to the chopped nature of the reinforcement material. CFF’s excellentest high end is the continuous nature of the reinforcement material, that sees thousands of continuous fibers spread evenly through an entire layer and allows for a load to be carried throughout a part. This outcomes in durablitys five to ten times sturdyer than a nonreinforced part.

Carbon fiber reinforcement allows for parts printed on the Mark Two to have a higher durablity-to-mass ratio than aluminum and to be 27 times stiffer and 24 times sturdyer than ABS. The material in addition maintains high thermal conductivity. As a outcome, users can 3D print lightmass, high-durablity parts, that is not easy with many other 3D printing devices.
Fiberglass, in contrast, is additional cost-effective with the same durablity as carbon fiber, but with twice the mass and a stiffness 40 percent less than that of carbon fiber. HSHT fiberglass is a sturdyer and additional temperature-resistant material with twice the flexural durablity and the aptitude to endure temperatures of over 221 °F (105 °C). Whilst the former can be utilized in place of carbon fiber, but with a reduced price tag, the latter can be implemented to turn it into molds injected with hot silicone.
This part reinforced with HSHT fiberglass allows for for silicone injection molding without damaging the mold. (Image courtesy of Markforged.)This part reinforced with HSHT fiberglass allows for for silicone injection molding without damaging the mold. (Image courtesy of Markforged.)
Kevlar is the many flexible reinforcement material offered by Markforged and offers the top abrasion resistance. For this reason, it is most utilized for printing parts needing excellent impact resistance, such as the landing gear to a quadcopter or for components that can be tossed around in the field of duty.
Up until newly, Markforged utilized nylon as the base material for 3D-printed parts; yet, the company has created its own chopped carbon fiber-nylon composite filament called Onyx. This makes parts 3.5 times stiffer while maintaining the toughness and wear resistance of nylon. The material in addition has a head deflection temperature of 293 F° (145 °C).
Other qualities of Onyx include, according to the company, improved dimensional staptitude for less warping, steeper overhangs and sharper edges; improved appearance; and less post-systeming.

The Mark Two in Action
Autometrix Precision Cutting Systems creates textile cutting equipment and software for a number of industries, of sailmaking to medical device making. The equipment is created of CNC machined aluminum parts and Autometrix has frequently relied on desktop numerical regulated (CNC) milling to evenly create the prototype components for this equipment—a costly and time-intensive system. To speed up time to market at a reduced cost, Autometrix looked to 3D printing. Initially disappointed with traditional thermoplastic 3D-printed parts, Autometrix Chief Technical Officer Jonathan Palmer, explained, “You can’t compare a standard printed plastic part with the behavior, the performance you may get out of a machined aluminum part.”
Fabric cutting equipment showcasing parts 3D-printed with CFF innovation.Fabric cutting equipment showcasing parts 3D-printed with CFF innovation.
The company finally came across CFF innovation of Markforged, recognizing it as an alternative to low-high end 3D printing devices, as well as additional costly CNC machines and metal 3D printing devices. After testing sample parts of Markforged, the company ultimately decided to bring the innovation in house, finding that CFF may turn it into sturdyer parts additional rapidly and at a reduced price compared to other systemes.
As a outcome, Autometrix was able-bodied to create such components as a deplete cutting head, that was determined to be a half-pound lighter than an aluminum equivalent. Moreover, the team has been able-bodied to iterate creations additional rapidly, as new concepts can be 3D printed in house, pretty than outsourced to a service bureau. The company estimates that a part created by a machine shop of aluminum may cost of $629.20 and take 96 hours to create, plus shipping, whereas 3D printing the component with CFF only costs of $45.50 and requires 42 hours to create.
Palmer explained to ENGINEERING.com what he saw as the benefits of CFF, “From our point of view, it all came down to wanting to prototype parts that can ultimately be created out of aluminum in production runs. We needed reasonable-bodied structural durablity to see if the parts may create a system stiff adequate, sturdy adequate, etc., for our end product. We’re not only testing form and fit—we have to test function!”
Palmer introduced that CFF has the “unique aptitude to reinforce nylon parts with composites is what created the difference for us and has allowed us to test ideas rapidly and affordably without paying the high price (both money and time) for one-off machined parts.”
In terms of disadvantages, Palmer said, “The only limitation we’ve discovered is only in part dimensions. The parts have to have a minimum dimensions preceding they can fit fiber reinforcement into the layers. So, tiny parts just can’t be reinforced. It’s a frustrating limitation at times, but a depletely understandable-bodied one. They’ve got to be able-bodied to route fibers, and if there isn’t adequate room, that is definitely only the way it is. I can say that a few of the samples I’ve seen of next versions are working to decrease this limitation!”
Manufacturer: Markforged
Model: Mark Two
Material: Carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass and HSHT fiberglass reinforcement material; nylon and chopped carbon fiber-nylon composite base material.
Build Envelope: 320 mm x 132 mm x 154 mm (12.6 in x 5.2 in x 6.1 in)
Layer Thickness: 100 microns (.004 in) nonreinforced, fiberglas, HSHT, and Kevlar; 125 microns (.005 in) reinforced
Printer Dimensions: 575 mm x 322 mm x 360 mm (22.6 in × 12.7 in × 14.2 in)
Recommended Uses: Ideal uses include rapid prototyping and making end parts with high durablity, thermal resistance and abrasion resistance.
Machine Price: Standard Package, $5,499; Professional Package, $8,799; and Enterprise Package, $13,499
Who Should Use the Mark Two:
Product developers, engineers and makers may be excited of the aptitude to make sturdy, light parts in house. The Mark Two is particularly adept at replacing CNC milled aluminum parts.
Why You Wouldn’t You Use the Mark Two:
The Mark Two is not capable-bodied of the full geometrical complexity offered with other 3D printing technologies. So, if creating intricate or geometrically intricate parts is additional significant than high end physical properties, such as durablity, abrasion resistance and temperature resistance, and so another machine may be additional appropriate. A metal 3D printing device may be capable-bodied of achieving both, but can cost much additional.

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