How to prepare for your own paper 3D printer
Cawley says colleges looking to invest in paper-based 3D printers should look at what they want to accomplish with the machine, and what they want to print with it.
That way, they can identify if a paper-based printer is a good fit, or if a plastic or powder-based printer would be better.
“The real big thing is to look at what you’re trying to do with the machine initially,” Cawley says. “If you’re a medical school and you need to do fine vein models, then the paper machine is not the machine for you…It’s about, what are the deliverables to the students, what are the types of things you’re going to make. I think that steers you towards the type of printer you want to buy.”
Consider the long-term ROI
Reece says even through paper-based 3D printers can be costly up front, colleges should keep in mind the long-term savings it will provide.
She says colleges often make the mistake of opting for a cheaper solution, and end up wasting money.
“The problem we’re seeing is (schools) purchase the printers for 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 dollars because everyone can have one, but the problem is that they are hobby-class,” she says. “If you get a professional class printer like an Mcor, yes, you’re up front cost is going to be higher. But, the student can actually use the printer because they’re low cost and because the output is professional-class.”
Invest in a printer company that will invest back
Reece says printer companies like Mcor provide deals for colleges that buy their printers to keep some green in their pockets.
For example, she says if a college buys one of Mcor’s printers, Mcor will give that college three years of free, unlimited materials for the printer to encourage use.
“That’s tens of thousands of dollars in savings if they use it,” she says. “It’s saying, once you get this printer in house, students can use this for free for three years unlimited. It’s a no-brainer.”