When plastic alone won’t cut it, the Mark One 3D printer lets you use carbon fiber

Most desktop 3D printers print in plastic, but plastic is weak. The new Mark One by Mark Forged is the first 3D printer capable of printing carbon fiber, which can be added to printed materials to increase strength.

The Mark One is also capable of printing in fiberglass, nylon and PLA plastic filament. It has two print heads, which means you can print two materials side-by-side in one print job.

Mark Forged depicted carbon fiber as a filler (though it won’t stop you from printing a 100 percent carbon fiber object). The main structure of an object is printed in a material like PLA or nylon, and then carbon fiber is added as a thick layer just below the surface. The company reports that the carbon fiber filament is two times stiffer and five times stronger than ABS plastic, which is a bit less rigid than PLA plastic.

MarkForged Mark One carbon fiber 3D printer

It builds objects up to 12 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches and prints at a resolution up to 100 microns. That’s in the same league as MakerBot printers.

Design-wise, the Mark One is also a very pretty machine. It is enclosed with an aluminum frame, and dual filament holders make it look a bit like a tape deck.

The Mark One is not yet available for pre-order, but Mark Forged is taking signups on its website. Popular Mechanics reports that the printer will begin shipping in the second half of 2014 for $5,000.

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