Put away the plastic toys, the Mark One 3D printer creates in carbon fiber

Mark One 3D carbon fiber printer

We here at Digital Trends are big fans of 3D printing. Like so many others, we see it as one of the most potentially disruptive technologies currently on the market – something that could substantially change the way we shop, work, and create. Problem is, at the moment, consumer-level 3D printers are mostly an expensive way to make cheap plastic trinkets.

Of course, that will soon change – perhaps sooner than you think. This week, newly launched startup MarkForged announced the world’s first 3D printer capable of printing objects in carbon fiber, the super-strong and lightweight material. Dubbed the Mark One, the 3D printer also prints in fiberglass, nylon, and PLA (the common plastic filament used by many 3D printers).

MarkForged, which debuted this week at the SolidWorks World 2014 conference in San Diego, is founded by Gregory Mark, co-owner of Aeromotions, a company that produces high-end airfoils for high-speed cars. It is from this foundation of “form and function” that Mark created the Mark One printer, he tells Popular Mechanics.

The benefits of carbon fiber is that it is far stronger than plastic 3D-printed items, and 20 times stiffer than ABS thermoplastic filament (an alternative to PLA). As such, carbon fiber is better suited for creating things like prosthetics, which are one of the most promising types of goods currently created by 3D printers.

“It’s a material that everybody knows, but probably most people haven’t used,” Mark tells Popular Mechanics. “So we made the price low and you can start using it. We wanted to make it really easy for people to start printing with it, so they can explore prosthetics, custom bones, tools, and fixtures.”

Measuring 22.6 inches wide, 14.2 inches tall, and 12.7 inches deep, the Mark One will put you out $5,000 when it goes on sale later this year. Pre-orders will start in February, and you can sign up for notifications about Mark One pre-orders on the MarkForged website.

Features

Exclusive: The Surface Hub 2S will revolutionize work. Here’s how it was made

Exclusive interviews with the designers, futurists, and visionaries behind the Surface Hub 2 paint a dramatic picture of how Microsoft thinks collaboration will change your office.
Mobile

Some Samsung Galaxy Fold displays have broken mere days after shipping

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Emerging Tech

Even a true rock god can’t smash this unbreakable 3D-printed metal guitar

Rock stars love to smash guitars. Geeky engineers love to build things using the latest high-tech tools. What happens when both parties meet? This "unbreakable" 3D-printed metal guitar.
Cars

Supercar tech makes the 2019 GMC Sierra pickup lighter and stronger

The number of V8-powered vehicles that rely on carbon fiber to save weight just grew by one, but the newest member of this expanding club, the GMC Sierra pickup, is not what you'd expect.
Emerging Tech

Pepsi, StartRocket team up to launch satellites for energy drink ad in night sky

Pepsi is working with StartRocket to launch an energy drink advertisement into the night sky using miniature satellites. The Russian startup is looking to send its system into orbit in 2021.
Emerging Tech

Public vote opens for new planet name, but Planet McPlanetface won’t fly

The largest unnamed world in our solar system needs an official title, and you can help choose it. The scientists who discovered the icy planetoid recently announced details of a public vote offering three choices.
Emerging Tech

How MIT hacked horticulture to cultivate a hyper-flavorful basil plant

At MIT, Caleb Harper used his personal food computers to alter the climate in which he grew basil. Exposing it light for 24 hours a day changed the flavor profile of the plant, making it spicier and stronger.
Emerging Tech

Watch the fearsome DroneHunter X3 pluck rogue UAVs out of the sky

How do you stop enemy drones in their tracks? DroneHunter X3 is a new autonomous anti-drone technology which outruns and then captures rogue drones in midair. Check it out in action.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX’s main Falcon Heavy booster is lost at sea after falling off drone ship

SpaceX has lost the center core of its Falcon Heavy rocket after a successful mission last week that ended with it landing on a drone ship. SpaceX said rough seas resulted in the rocket toppling over and falling into the ocean.
Emerging Tech

Sweden is building a road that recharges electric buses that drive over it

The Swedish transport administration is exploring special roads which will charge vehicles’ batteries as they drive over them. It will test the idea with a short sample stretch of road.
Emerging Tech

Scientists manage to 3D print an actual heart using human cells

Scientists at Tel Aviv University have achieved a world-first by 3D printing a small-scale heart, complete with blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers. Here's why that's so exciting.
Emerging Tech

Drown out noisy neighbors and rest easy with these white noise machines

Some people are more sensitive to sound during sleep than others. Luckily, there are a number of white noise machines on the market to mask the noise. Here are our five of our current favorites.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and others that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

Watch a pack of SpotMini robot dogs perform a terrifying feat of strength

Boston Dynamics' SpotMini robotic dog is now going around in packs, and the results are somewhat concerning. Check out the video to see what kind of shenanigans 10 of them got up to recently ...