Allow Me to Introduce You to… ZCorp

September 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

To some IARc students, this may be a reintroduction to the gypsum powder 3D printer we call ZCorp. ZCorp is a fascinating machine that can be incorporated into your design process. Now is a good time to review how it works, how to prepare your file and how to get it printed.

How does it work? ZCorp models have two primary structural components the gypsum powder and binder. Depending on the size of your model, the machine will prepare the bed by laying an initial layer of powder that is similar to plaster. Liquid binder is emitted by an inkjet printhead in a horizontal fashion across the bed. The model is built by a continuous layering of powder and binder. When the model is finished, the machine will go through an hour long drying cycle to allow the binder to sure up.

One thing to note, this technology works best in small scale prototyping – think rapid prototyping.

How to prepare your file? From precedent, STL file format seems to work the best with this machine. Rhinoceros is the recommended software to use for well-crafted models. All the surfaces must meet cleanly, solids should be solid, and fillets should be added to soften sharp edges. If there are issues with your model, they will show in the ZCorp software as grey areas. Grey areas mean the software cannot interpret these areas and printing will be problematic.

How to request printing of file? To find out all you need to know about printing files on the ZCorp visit CAM’s website

This machine is a part of the series of machines that are can only be operated by the appointed CAM operators. You’re invited to ask more about the ZCorp whenever you visit CAM.

zcorp_photos

Woods_ZCorpPhotos_fall2014

Contributed by Audrey Waggoner [1]st year graduate student

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