Markforged announces a cheaper 3D printer that can spit out end-use parts

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See you tonight at the Barcelona Mini Meetup

In a surprising move, 3D printer maker Markforged has announced they are going to release the $3,499 Onyx One, a Carbon Fiber 3D printer for entry-level makers and hobbyists that prints “end-use” parts using carbon-fiber infused materials.

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The printer uses Onyx, a nylon and micro-carbon fiber material that has a high durability and heat resistance and looks almost like a finished part when it comes off the printer. It isn’t quite as strong as their continuous strand machines, like the $70,000 Mark X, but it produces usable parts that can be added to machinery right from the print bed. The parts also have a “finished look” and require no sanding or other post-processing.

“With the Onyx One, we provide our customers with superior parts in a seamless integrated system of hardware, material and software to deliver a quality experience at an accessible price point,” said Greg Mark, CEO of Markforged.

The Onyx One can be upgraded easily to the $7,000 Onyx Pro, which includes a print head for continuous fiberglass reinforcement, or the Mark Two, at $13,500, with carbon fiber. Think of this as moving from an entry-level DSLR — a Canon Rebel — to a more powerful full-frame camera and you get the upgrade path.

The printer is shipping this year in the U.S. and next year elsewhere. While you won’t be able to print race car parts on the Onyx One, you will be able to prototype some really nice parts and build things that are a little tougher than traditional plastic printers.