How to clone yourself in Dubai

3D printing is a global reality now, and they’ve already printed the world’s first aircraft engine (a full, working one). Earlier this week, we learnt that Melbourne’s Monash University and Amaero Engineering created the world’s first 3D-printed jet engine.

Even as 3D printing is tagged as expensive, Amaero engineers and Monash U researchers maintain the manufacturing breakthrough will lead to cheaper, lighter and more fuel efficient jets, and will also have an impact cross-sectorally in fields such as medical technology.

But even as that is happening in Melbourne, in a controlled laboratory environment, it is now possible to print a 3D replica of yourself right here in Dubai – from the comfort of your living room. Dubai-based Jacky’s Business Solutions said on Thursday that it has partnered with Mcor Technologies to distribute the company’s line of Mcor 3D printers here in the Middle East.

The firm is the manufacturer of Mcor Iris, the only line of desktop paper-based 3D printers in the world. Popularly used in education and architecture sectors, the Mcor Iris machine recently made its Dubai debut during the recently concluded Gulf Education Supplies and Solutions (GESS).

“As the education sector started using the latest technologies, schools and universities have also started to see the importance of 3D printers to encourage students’ advancement by enabling them to transform their ideas into physical 3D printed models,” said Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Business Solutions.

Here’s a YouTube video of a 3D printed human face

“We are glad to partner with Mcor Technologies to distribute its range of 3D printers, which are the lowest cost, safest and most eco-friendly 3D printers in the world. As the printers are using layered papers, the objects printed are in full colour and durable at just a fraction of the cost, and companies in the Middle East particularly in the education, architecture and real estate sectors can take advantage of,” Panjabi added.

Instead of the expensive plastics, the Mcor printers use common copy paper, ‘building’ objects out of cut-and-glued sheets of standard 80 GSM office paper. The firm claims its printers can print photo-realistic 3D parts with high quality colour in the finest resolution.

Known as Selective Deposition Lamination (SDL), paper 3D printing is said to have been invented by Dr. Conor and Fintan MacCormack in 2003. Mcor 3D printers are based on the Matrix system that loads the first sheet and uses a roller cutter to slice in the form of the first layer. Then a layer of adhesive is applied and the next layer is added and the process continues.

How Layered Paper 3D Printing Works

3D printing starts with a 3D data file. The 3D printers include control software, called SliceIT, which reads the digital data and slices the computer model into printable layers equivalent in thickness to the paper. The software works on any standard PC running 64bit Windows (2000, XP, Vista or Windows 7, 8, 10) with a dedicated Ethernet card (speed of 10/100 or better) connected directly to the 3D printer.

The IRIS also comes with an additional piece of software, called ColourIT which is used in conjunction with SliceIT to apply colour to the 3D digital files.

Once the colour has been applied, the model is exported as an WRL file which is then imported into SliceIT for preparation for building. The first sheet is manually attached to the build plate.

Once the blade depth and the adhesive levels are correct, the doors are closed and the machine is ready to accept data from SliceIT. From the PC and within SliceIT, the user selects print and the 3D printer starts to make the part.

The first thing that happens is that a layer of adhesive is applied on top of the first manually-placed sheet. The adhesive is applied selectively – hence the name SDL – ‘selective.’ This means that a much higher density of adhesive is deposited in the area that will become the part, and a much lower density of adhesive is applied in the surrounding area that will serve as the support.

A new sheet of paper is fed into the printer from the paper feed mechanism and placed precisely on top of the freshly applied adhesive. The build plate is moved up to a heat plate and pressure is applied. This pressure ensures a positive bond between the two sheets of paper.

When the build plate returns to the build height, an adjustable Tungsten carbide blade cuts one sheet of paper at a time, tracing the object outline to create the edges of the part.

When this cutting sequence is complete, the machine starts to deposit the next layer of adhesive and the whole process continues until all the sheets of paper are stuck together and cut and the model is finished. After the last layer is complete, the part can be removed from the build chamber.

Jacky’s Business Solutions will distribute Mcor 3D printers across the UAE, GCC and the wider Middle East and Africa.

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