Al Dean (from Develop 3D magazine) looks at how the company’s entry level machine stands up to its bigger brother.
The ability to mix a nylon-based material with single strand fibre (including carbon, glass and Kevlar) certainly impressed us.
At the time of the review, however, the company also announced two new products that didn’t make it in.
The first is a new material, called Onyx, which brings in two key things; The material is a mix of nylon and micro particles of carbon fibre.
The operating temperature and stability of this materials ideal for a number of applications.
It’s also the first matrix material that isn’t white, so those looking for under the hood or more industrial uses of the Markforged process have a material that looks and performs the part.
One print head, one purpose, one machine — at a dramatically lower cost.
The last couple of months we got to know the Onyx One and explored its many capabilities.
Out of the box and straight to work.
Compared to the set-up of the Mark Two, this is a lot more straightforward and efficient as you only have one extruder nozzle to level (on the Mark Two, the second nozzle is for the fibre reinforcement materials).
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the constituents of the Onyx one, you need to run through the set-up.
This is a case of powering up the machine, connecting it to the network and running any subsequent updates to the firmware.
You’ll also need to attach the Pelican case and feed tube that takes your Onyx material spool and filament from an airtight container into the machine.
The entire process takes 15 minutes, after which you’re up and running.
Due to the robustness of the build quality and some fine engineering work, once you’ve worked through the bed leveling process, you can pretty much leave it alone.
We’ve not re-levelled the machine in our office in about three months since installation (though once a week might be good).
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][boc_top_icon_box title=”Label A:” icon=”icon icon-gears”]The key to the Onyx One’s repeatability and consistency are due to its all-aluminum chassis.[/boc_top_icon_box][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][boc_top_icon_box title=”Label B:” icon=”icon icon-cogs”]Fibre feed, should you choose the Onyx Pro.[/boc_top_icon_box][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][boc_top_icon_box title=”Lable C:” icon=”icon icon-tools2″]Upgrade-able extruder head.[/boc_top_icon_box][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][boc_top_icon_box title=”Label D:” icon=”icon icon-upload”]The Markforged kinematic uses a combination of high-quality engineering, and magnets to let you snap your build plate in and out, even mid-way through a build.[/boc_top_icon_box][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][boc_top_icon_box title=”Label E:” icon=”icon icon-refresh-2″]Fibre load point.[/boc_top_icon_box][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][boc_top_icon_box title=”Label F:” icon=”icon icon-menu”]Touch screen interface directly on the machine – gives you access to set-up, admin, as well as a full print queue that can be shared amongst your team.[/boc_top_icon_box][/vc_column][/vc_row]
To get your machine running, you need to access the preprocessing software.
Eiger is a cloud-based management system. Here you can upload STL geometry and process the build parameters.
This allows you to create a set of parts and store the build job for re-running whenever needed.
Eiger also gives you build management tools — these are key, particularly for those looking to use the machine for industrial purposes.
While each STL is treated as a part and processed individually, these “parts” can also be organised into both projects and individual builds.
Once your design is ready, you can either send it to the machine directly (assuming that it is free) or add it to the queue (which is accessed through the machines’s control panel).
The Results of the Onyx One.
The Onyx One is a very different beast compared to the Mark Two.
There isn’t any of the single strand carbon fibre complexity of set-up — it prints with one material and one material alone.
Generally, parts that meet the supports do have a less than optimal surface, it’s much better than many similar systems.
Markforged does an excellent job in this regard and the support material peels away easily and without impacting surface quality too greatly.
The parts themselves are incredible.
The surface finish is impressive, but what really makes them great is the inherent strength.
Compared to other desktop machines with single material builds, the Onyx One is fantastic. It’s stronger, stiffer and operates at higher temperatures.
We know that the Markforged machines perform well. What’s interesting with the Onyx One is that the company has looked to apply its knowledge and experience at a much lower entry level price.
Also, while the machine has remote monitoring through Eiger, an integrated camera and feed would be useful, particularly for those looking to build overnight.
Should you want to go the extra mile and build with those more exotic composites, then the Onyx Pro is available for another $3,500.
So, if you’re in the market for a serious desktop machine, this should be on your list, without a doubt.
At Dixon Valve’s US manufacturing facility (Chestertown, Maryland).
These robotic arms are commonplace in production line cells, used for part transfers in the manufacturing process.
Strength, safety and chemical resistance are key components to the company’s efficient work environment and, as such, attached to the arm of each robot is a set of jaws built using Markforged’s Onyx material.
“Dixon Valve is a manufacturer of fittings for fluid transfer industries,” explains Max de Arriz, manufacturing engineer at the company. “We’re using a large robotic arm to transfer many styles of our parts between two vertical turning centres.”
De Arriz, along with automation technician J.R.Everett, reaps the benefits of this Mark Two machine in Dixon’s production facility.
“Prior to using 3D printed jaws in the cell, we were machining each tool individually, and it would take a fairly large amount of time,” says de Arriz.
As Dixon Valve primarily produces valves and fittings, these grippers also require strength and chemical resistance, as well as wear resistance from repeated use.
“To that end, we utilise the Markforged parts as our transfer gripping system,” adds de Arriz.
As soon as Dixon Valve unboxed its industrial strength Markforged 3D printer, they put it to work.
“We were able to re-tool a robotic arm in a manufacturing cell in under 24 hours,” comments Everett.
“Onyx is one of my favourite materials because it combines stronger composite material with the chemical resistivity of nylon,” says Everett, referring to Markforged’s chopped carbon fibre nylon filament. “It hits the sweet spot for us in chemical resistance and strength.”