The Carbon Fiber Printer: Markforged’s Mark Two review!


The Markforged line of 3D printers is limited to their own Eiger software each machine Only uses one type of expensive specialized filament the carbon fiber inlay process and a few other great parts of the machine are locked down by Patents And this machine is thirteen and a half thousand us dollars before tax, but you get to use elmer’s washable school glue on the print bed so if you’re trying to decide between a $200 prusa kit or This machine then that’s probably going to be an easy decision But if you can make use of the awesome fiber reinforcement take that markforged uses you’re probably not going to care about these points too much anyways and for everyone else come along to the rides because the markforged mark 2 is just a magnificent piece of engineering all around markforged offers quite a few different 3D printers today the lower end offering start with the three and a half thousand onyx one, which is basically this machine right here with a printhead that exclusively uses the nylon based Onyx chopped Carbon Fiber Filament Well, that’s already quite a nice material The interesting bit starts to come into play as you move up to the Onyx pro which adds that two-part tool head lets you print continuous fiber in the case of the onyx pro only fiberglass which means Unlike the bare Onyx material or other chopped fiber filaments you actually get these longer continuous strands of fiber laid into your parts obviously these fibers do make your prints much stiffer and stronger, but more on that in a second and as the ultimate machine in the desktop lineup we’ve got the Thirteen and a half Thousand Dollar Mark 2 formally called the mark 2 Enterprise which adds support for more fiber materials such as carbon fiber High temp glass fiber and Kevlar this machine also has the option to print with plain nylon Which is more flexible and less abrasive than Onyx for the price you also get a ton of consumables two spools of each fiber and a full spool of each base nylon And that’s exactly the machine that I have here from the German reseller Mark 3D Unfortunately, I do have to return it. There’s even higher adoptions There’s also the mark x with a larger print volume and integrated laser scanning or the metal x which is a totally different printer that processes stainless or tool steel, aluminium, inconel or titanium Pretty crazy stuff. But for now, let’s stick with the mark 2. So this is a desktop machine with a print volume of 320 by 132 by 154 millimeters or roughly 12 by 5 by 6 inches you get a touchscreen display in the front of the machine an acrylic front panel that you lift open and an aluminum lid on top for better access to the extruder and the rest of the mechanics and can we just take a second to Appreciate how well this entire thing is engineered And how gorgeous it looks? Starting with little things like how they used these tiny dowel pins to align the linear rails the way they’ve got machined aluminum brass Everywhere in the machine the fact that the entire printer is Super rigid and once you close the top lid all that engineering porn is just hidden out of sight and it just becomes this Minimalistic tech piece that’s going to look good pretty much anywhere on the back of the machine you get power in USb Ethernet, and Wi-Fi since the markforged machines are pretty much exclusively web and cloud-based. Yes, you can still use a USB thumb drive to ferry print files between your computer and the printer But I found that the integration with their Eiger cloud slicer works really well essentially you open up a chrome browser upload your STL file to the service and All the hard work happens on Markforged’s side from then on out Eiger will suggest print settings based on your part’s geometry such as Infill ratios or extra support material and there’s not much else for you to go in and tweak or tune as you would be able To do with most other 3D printers I do like the simplicity of the interface it provides The right options that you’d use regularly and leaves everything else locked down for Markforged to optimize asides from the base material settings you can of course also decide whether or not is how much Continuous fiber to use in the print, though the fiber algorithms don’t feel that sophisticated yet As they will always try to lay down full loops of fiber throughout the entire layer and only lets you control which layers should receive how much fiber and not Specifically which areas of the model should be reinforced. It’s best suited for simpler chunkier parts as finer details will often throw it off and keep you from using [fibers] exactly where you like them the software will always try to encase the Continuous fiber in a roughly one millimeter thick shell of the base material since the fiber tool head doesn’t lay down the fibers too Precisely for the most part though using the fiber inlay is straightforward and works as intended Once you’re happy with the part you can either add it to a print queue to print later or send it straight to the machine if the materials loaded in the machine are the correct ones and the printer knows it’s ready to go Eiger also supports versioning of your parts and print settings and if you don’t like the 100% web based approach you can either leave your printer offline and again use usb drives for print files and firmware updates or Optionally get an offline version of Eiger there is no support for alternative software in slicers But the print files do look like a standard G code file with a compression. So how does the fiber inlay process work? It’s similar to dual extrusion But not quite the base material is printed with a fairly standard extruder and hotend Setup which comes with a hardened drive gear in the extruder and the nozzle with a hardened insert Which is nothing that you couldn’t reproduce on any other machine so far But the continuous fiber feeder is a bit more special the base fiber is a fairly thin filament that consists of the fiber itself obviously but it’s already impregnated with a nylon Matrix that will fuse it to the rest of the print and This isn’t extruded like a traditional polymer filament It’s essentially ironed onto the layers of the print you see the fiber nozzle is fairly Oversized for the filament the machine is shoving through. Instead It’s more or less Just tacking it on and then smooshing it down with the hot brim of the nozzle This is where those not perfectly regular fiber tracks stem from Once a loop of continuous fiber is finished the fiber cutter snips it and then either moves on to the next loop or switches back to the base material. And the results do speak for themselves while the base onyx material is already a very strong contender when it comes to print quality In the Markforged machines specifically and effective strength It is still a material that is a bit less rigid But also more ductile than regular 3D printing materials. But once you add fibers you can massively alter and improve the mechanical properties of your print adding even a light amount of carbon fiber will turn your parts into fantastically rigid elements and Depending on how much fiber and how much base material infill you use You can definitely create parts that can compete with one’s machine from solid aluminum in the live unboxing I casually broke the sample printed half and then compared it to aluminum And the force required to snap or permanently deform them felt very similar this is a Carbon fiber infill part you want to check out the full Filaween episode on the onyx material and how it changes with the extra fiber You can do that up here. Now you might have noticed that I didn’t talk too much about the pure nylon material yet well first of all like many nylon filaments It’s quite soft and probably not useful for a bunch of applications But it also turns out that you have to decide which material you want to use with your machine and then stick to that Because not just a nozzle which you can replace But the entire tool head wears in for the Onyx material and once that process is completed nylon just won’t work well anymore Markforged quotes about one spool of material for this process to start, but in my case I was already seeing some degradation with nylon after about a quarter of a spool of Onyx So either you stick with nylon and keep your tool head fresh or you go all in Onyx and allow your printer to wear in for that material however I was also seeing some Artifacting with Onyx which I believed to be either a software bug or an issue with this particular review unit which had it under Extrude on the outside of the print when I tried reducing the number of outer walls to one to allow for Continuous fiber to be included in parts that would otherwise not have enough space for the minimum fiber lengths between cuts But again that was something that only showed up in well extreme cases other prints with the recommended print settings worked flawlessly every time and that’s something I really have to praise Markforged for not just the Eiger platform But also the printer itself and the interface on its comparatively small LCD screen just feel and work great there are streamlined and efficient to use Everything is where you’d expect it to be and it just works I know some people hate me for that phrase but really it just works and Markforged are making sure that you do things right when operating this machine for example the bed leveling wizard has you using these two precision shims and goes over each adjustment spot twice. Yes, It doesn’t have auto bed leveling But with these smart lever style adjustment points if you set the bed adjustment points correctly once You can even remove and reinstall the bed as often as you’d like and it just snaps into place perfectly every time Nozzle swapping is also something you might eventually have to do and they include a tiny socket wrench with a torque limiter So that you tighten the nozzle perfectly each and every time E3d should really start selling these and during printing machine regularly runs into the endstops over here Just to check that it didn’t lose any steps if it detects a shift you’ll get an email Just like when a print successfully completes. Stepper drivers in here are Trinamic which are great plus a Texas instruments DRV8825 I think for the extruder But that has quite a bit of stepper whine to it which most of you might not be able to pick up Filament loading and unloading makes use of convenient Wizards on the LCD as well though admittedly that will still take a bit of practice to do perfectly as the fiber really wants to unwind once you take the tape off And the filament inside the [drive] box also tangled itself a few times while I was printing markforged have already reduced the spool size to 800 cubic centimeters instead of a thousand to make that less likely to happen and obviously adjusted the price as well yes, both nylon and Onyx need to be used in the included airtight Pelican case since they are highly hydroscopic and I don’t know. This is the one part that just doesn’t feel right having this dingleberry attached to the printer just doesn’t feel as sophisticated as the rest of the machine does and It’s not like the mark 2 wasn’t hard enough to pick up and carry around already now price I’ve covered the printers base price which is already pretty hefty but There’s just nothing else to compare it to there is no other machine that does continuous fiber however filaments are bit less proprietary so we have something to compare them against and yeah, they’re not cheap both the Onyx and the base nylon clock in at more than twice as much as the most expensive nylon and Carbon Fiber Nylon filaments from other manufacturers and the fibers come on these mini spools with 50 cubic centimeters each selling for between $75 before tax for your glass fiber and $149 for Carbon while the continuous fiber is used Sparingly and of course you can Set how much you want to use you can still easily triple the printing cost by adding continuous fiber to your print Which is probably worth it for a lot of professional applications and while there is no DRM or cartridge system keeping you from using other filaments on the Markforged machines And you could even use the Markforged base material on other printers Since it’s just a standard 1.75 millimeter size they still heavily advise against using third party materials Especially when using it with continuous fiber. There’s not even a way to adjust the print temperature and while Theoretically you could just grab another Carbon filled or a plain nylon You should be aware that you will be signing away any reliability and strength Guarantees from MarkForged as well as warranty claims at least for the tool head and while we’re on the topic of Proprietary or non proprietary choices for that matter. Let’s talk about patents And I know this machine is geared towards Industrial customers where by and large the value of your company is measured by how many patents you own In this case in particular I find it sad to see the technology getting locked behind closed doors for the next 17 years or so especially since this and most other Printers only exists because core patents for FDM 3d printing expired a few years ago and everyone started jumping on FDM styled printers The Carbon fiber inlay CFF technology the Markforged Machines are using is awesome It’s an absolute game changer for functional 3D prints as you suddenly get to use a much cheaper 3d printing process where you’d otherwise have to maybe go with sintering processes or CNC machining where setup cost alone make up a huge portion of the price of a Manufactured object so again particularly because this approach is so awesome and yes revolutionary I’d love to see a few more companies working on it, and maybe getting a bit of competition going though I don’t know if that’s going to happen. Well, we’ll see, maybe one day Markforged Will go ahead and mark their patent pool as purely defensive that would be awesome There’s also a patent pending on some aspects of the bed adjustment mechanism which is an element of the printer that just works extremely well and I’d just like to see on more machines. And on a related note I also Didn’t find any attribution for community and open-source work being used in here particularly around the beaglebone and linux system to power the entire Experience on the Mark 2 itself there is a bit of attribution giving for the Eiger web interface So maybe they just missed it on the printer itself All right! So the Markforged Mark 2 is definitely a printer that is unique that Expands what 3d printing can do and it does a tremendous job at it. I really like the printer I like how well everything clicks together and things like the web-only simplified slicer add well to the experience and make sure that using this process doesn’t require you to do hours of training first Most of it is really intuitive and just simplified enough to not be restrictive the continuous fiber fabrication process CFF and Markforged base Material especially Onyx Also offer exceptional quality and performance even if it comes at a price. I was ready to hand out a “Tom approves” badge But the entire patent topic has me hesitating if it doesn’t bother you then Markforged Machines are a great option for a sleek and high-performance 3D printer Let me know in the comments below if you’d give 3d printing on these machines a shot if the only other options for a part Where machining or laser sintering and if you thought this video was helpful to you give it a thumbs up? If not Let me know what I can improve also Consider subscribing to the channel and because youtube only really shows you updates from the channel if you also check that bell Remember to also do that check out the affiliate links on the video description to shop on Amazon, Ebay, Matterhackers and I go 3D Those don’t cost you a single penny extra or if you want to support this channel with a spare dollar or two head over to Patreon and get access to monthly Q&A hangouts and more that’s it for today. Thanks for watching and I’ll see in the next one.

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