At the surface, the products made with a MarkForged Mark One printer don’t look like they’d be very strong. Printed in a crude-looking white and beige filament, the wrenches and tools demoed by founder Greg Mark at CES this year looked like any other 3D-printed object – flimsy and unfinished.
However, once you tried to break them, amazement set in. The wrench he built based on the model sent to the International Space Station was impossible to snap and felt completely solid. It was light – the carbon fiber is interspersed with nylon to keep down the weight – but it felt as substantial as steel. I tried to break it a few times and the single strand of carbon fiber woven through the object kept it completely rigid.
Mark spoke with us at our CES stage last week and showed us some items produced on the printer. Expect a full review soon.
The Mark One is the only home 3D printer that can print in carbon fiber and it’s an amazing thing. Costing a hefty $5,499 for the basic model, this is mostly for designers and manufacturers who want to test ideas in carbon fiber quickly and easily. While you probably don’t want to print a bunch of Yoda heads with it, I could see you printing plastic engineering samples and even tools on an ad hoc basis.
In short, this printer is one step away from printed metal. While it can still be broken with enough force, I would find if inconceivable for any normal human to best these 3D prints, even someone exceptionally strong.