Is thethe cost and time-saving continuous fiber printing machine for you? Read on for our take.
The Markforged Mark Two (Gen 2) is an updated version of the impressive Mark Two, formerly called the Mark Two Enterprise. This machine is special because it offers continuous fiber fabrication (CFF), a process Markforged developed where one nozzle emits high-performance nylons while a second nozzle presses a line of fibers in to give the material extra strength on par with some metals.
Since Markforged developed the technique about half a decade ago, other printers with similar technology have been developed by other companies. Recently, for example, Desktop Metal unveiled the Desktop Metal Fiber. However, Markforged remains the leader in this market and has earned years of trust from customers.
So, does the latest iteration of the Mark Two offer the professional workflows and solutions for your business or are you better off with a different machine? Read on for our take.
Visually, the Markforged Mark Two (Gen 2) is sleek, with a minimalist design taking up 584 x 330 x 355 mm. It offers a build volume of 320 x 132 x 154 mm and uses dual extrusion to print composite parts that are as strong as aluminum by reinforcing the entire build with one of four composite materials.
The Mark Two is part of Markforged’s desktop series, which includes the Onyx One and Onyx Pro. It’s an upgrade from the previous version of the Mark Two, which was only able to print with carbon fiber, fiberglass and Kevlar. The Gen 2 does it one better by adding HSHT fiberglass. These sturdy, reinforced prints can be used as functional parts or prototypes with no extra work required.
The machine is also designed to optimize precision. The print bed snaps into place with 10 micron accuracy so you can pause a print, remove the bed, add components, click the bed back in and then carry on with the print as if nothing ever interrupted it.
The Mark Two can handle onyx plastic along with four different kinds of fibers: carbon fiber, fiberglass, Kevlar and HSHT fiberglass. The machine itself comes with an 800 cc spool of onyx, a 100 cc spool of carbon fiber and 50 cc spools of fiberglass, kevlar and HSHT fiberglass.
The machine has a touchscreen interface and uses Eiger, a cloud-based software, to track the materials being used and optimize print settings accordingly. Eiger can also work within most browsers, easily importing CAD drawings without the need of cumbersome software. There’s also an option to have other software at an additional cost.
The printer also comes with various security settings, including two-factor authentication, org admin access, and single sign-on.
If you’re wondering whether a Mark Two (Gen 2) can fit seamlessly into your workflows, Markforged offers a few use cases of how other companies have harnessed it.
A Canadian oil and gas company required an automated machine that could load “large glass reinforcement tape pads” to increase productivity in their plant and to lower changeover time. They needed to build the machine themselves, and because of that, needed custom parts. However, the parts were too expensive to produce. The conundrum was that without them — and without the machine — the plant’s throughput wouldn’t go up, but with them, the increased throughput wouldn’t make up for the costs involved in building the machine.
So, the company bought a Markforged Mark Two, and by printing 53 custom 3D printed parts on it, it was able to reduce costs and speed up prototyping and iterating. The parts included “fuse covers, end effector laser sensor mounts, mechanism covers, bump stops, motor mounts, and more,” plus the company can quickly replace parts as they need them by printing them out on site.
The parts they produce are in Kevlar, HSHT fiberglass, or carbon fiber. The company reports saving $27,000 CAD by swapping “aluminum and sheet metal parts with 3D printed parts” on one part of the machine alone.
This metal fabrication job shop produces custom machining with a five-axis CNC mill. They needed a custom, metal vise to create a part for a customer, but couldn’t swallow the $6,000 cost. The solution was to 3D print carbon fiber reinforced parts on a Mark Two and combine them with purchased parts to build exactly what they needed. They were able to do this for $1,500 — 75% cheaper — and it only took one week compared to three weeks for traditional manufacturing.
Dixon Valve was empowered to create new manufacturing tooling solutions using a Mark Two.
An engineer from the company described the machine as “a critical component in our design process really changing the way we work to the point where we are actually altering our procedures and plans to accommodate it” to Markforged.
They use the parts they create – jaws that mount onto a robot — in corrosive fluids and repeated clamping forces, so they need to be extremely durable.
3D printing them with the Mark Two saved them time (it takes nine hours to print the parts rather than 144 hours to have them machined) and money (from $290 for machining to $9 for printing).
Printing technology: FDM, CFF
Build volume: 320 x 132 x 154 mm (12.6 x 5.2 x 6 in)
Print bed: Kinematic coupling — flat to within 160 μm
Extrusion: Second-generation extruder, out-of-plastic detection
Power: 100–240 VAC, 150 W (2 A peak)
Layer height: 100 μm default, 200 μm maximum
Infill: Closed-cell infill: Multiple geometries available
Plastics: Onyx, nylon white
Fibers: Carbon fiber, fiberglass, Kevlar®, HSHT fiberglass
Tensile strength: 800 MPa (25.8x ABS, 22.2x Onyx)
Flex modulus: 51 GPa (24.8x ABS, 14.2x Onyx)
Software package: Eiger (other options available at additional cost)
Security: Two-factor authentication, org admin access, single sign-on
Weight: 16 kg (35 lbs)
Frame dimensions: 584 x 330 x 355 mm (23 x 13 x 14 in)
Here’s where you can get a Markforged Mark Two (Gen 2):
License: The text of "Markforged Mark Two (Gen 2): Review the Specs & Use Cases" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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