Layered paper 3D printers: full colour, low cost
While most 3D printers use plastic or metal based materials, Irish company Mcor's unique paper-based 3D printers make some very compelling arguments. For starters, instead of expensive plastics, they build objects out of cut-and-glued sheets of standard 80 GSM office paper. That means printed objects come out at between 10-20% of the price of other 3D prints, and with none of the toxic fumes or solvent dips that some other processes require. Secondly, you can print onto it in full colour before it's cut and assembled, giving a high quality, high resolution colour "skin" all over the final object.
Using a piece of software called SliceIt, a 3D model is cut into paper-thin layers exactly the thickness of an 80 GSM sheet. Each sheet is laid down, and its slice shape is cut into it. Then a print nozzle lays soft glue all over the non-essential parts of that sheet that will be broken away after manufacture.
The paper-based print process was broadly useful in parts prototyping, presentation modelling, architectural modelling, sand casting and a range of other business use cases, one of the most successful areas of the business is in printing out miniaturized cityscapes, complete with topographical data.
Image credit: Mcor