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An Interview with Connor MacCormack, Co-Founder and CEO, MCor

In today’s segment of our Expert Interviews, we re-connect with Dr. Conor MacCormack, CEO and co-founder of Mcor Technologies who recently had a very successful trip to the 2016 CES which took place earlier this month in Las Vegas. While at the show, the company garnered great recognition for the latest printer to join the MCor family, the MCor ARKe. Attendees were able to see the hi-res, full-color desktop device work up close and personal and experience a great new tool for 3D printing. For their efforts, the company was honored with a Best of Innovation Award, one of only 20 companies to achieve this level of recognition. The interview with Conor was conducted via email and our questions with the his answers appear below:

1) You made a lot of news when you introduced the first Mcor printer, the IRIS. What gave you the inspiration to bring the ARKe to life?
Our vision as a company has always to been to put a 3D printer in every office, classroom and home, and the Mcor ARKe brings us one step closer to achieving this vision. We identified a problem in the current desktop space—desktop 3D printing is entering the trough of disillusionment offering no full colour solution, unreliability and toxic processes. With the IRIS, we offer an industrial printer which according to Gartner is on the slope of enlightenment offering full colour, reliability and eco-friendliness. Our quest was to pull desktop 3D printing past the trough of disillusionment straight to the slope of enlightenment. So, the Mcor ARKe is the first full colour desktop 3D printer that offers reliability and eco-friendly 3D printing, a premium product for the desktop market.

2) With a desktop printer like the ARKe, what distinct advantages does a printing material of paper provide for users?
Using paper as the build material offers a number of advantages:

    • Highest color quality — Printing ink onto paper offers the ability to 3D print the highest quality color models in the industry. The Mcor ARKe has a fully integrated inkjet head. This provides perfect image alignment each time leading to photorealistic, accurate models.
    • Lowest Cost — using paper as a build material offers a very low cost to print—one fifth that of other technologies.
    • Eco-friendly — using paper, water-based ink and water-based adhesive creates an eco-friendly, recyclable model and support structure.

3) The process of printing with the ARKe has been described as "eco-friendly" and safe. How are you able to produce vibrant colors without any harmful chemicals or emissions?
The Mcor ARKe uses a water-based ink and water-based adhesive and this combined with a bio grade paper creates a very high color quality part that is safe to produce and eco-friendly.

In the Rapid Prototyping division we do everything from help you draw out your idea on 2D paper to CAD modeling to 3D printing. We also have high end 3D scanners and very talented CAD engineers.

4) The print resolution on the ARKe is listed as 4800 X 1200 dpi. Is that effective DPI or is that the actual resolution of the output of the device?
The system has an actual resolution of 4800 x 2400 DPI.

5) Can you talk about the build process in the ARKe as opposed to something like the Iris? Given the build volume difference, it is possible to compare the two?
The building blocks are the same but it’s a completely new architecture. The ARKe uses a roll of paper which provides an adaptive build—this basically means the build adapts in size to the dimensions of the part being printed. Mcor ARKe uses an integrated inkjet head and a new adhesives deposition system—all of these features lead to increase in speed, color resolution and complexity of part that can be printed.

6) You had a very successful week at CES and achieved some recognition for your innovation. What did that type of recognition mean to you personally and professionally?
When you spend two years working on a new product, it is not until you pull off that cover and show it to the world do you truly know what the reaction will be! It is great satisfaction for me personally and pride in the team in Ireland and at our other offices around the world that have helped to make this happen.

We were also awarded the CES Best of Innovation Award—this provides great credibility for the Mcor ARKe straight off the bat. Only 20 companies receive this recognition out of the thousands of companies who exhibit at CES so we are delighted with this honor.

7) With the Mcor mobile app, what all can someone do from literally the palm of their hand? Are there future updates users can expect to see in the near future and which country's App Stores is it available in currently??
Our new Mcor App maximizes the connectivity of the printer by allowing a user to download parts from the cloud and view on board footage remotely via webcam in the printer. Running info is also available from this app—all from the palm of your hand!

Future updates will be available in Android and Apple app stores

8) What were some of your favorite reactions to the ARKe from both consumers and business pros at CES?
We received an overwhelming reaction to Mcor ARKe at CES from press, consumers and business pros alike: Some of my favorites were:

“Too good to be true…a 3D printer that churns out objects in full colour and uses everyday office paper (instead of plastic) as the build material?..” (Fortune)

Offers the hope that full-color 3D printers for schools, hobbyists, and households may be on the horizon.. ” (PC Magazine)

“You should win the Nobel Prize for this! ” (Dealer)

“This is a game-changer” (Analyst)

“This will blow open the market” (Analyst)

“When can I get one? ” (Consumer)

“Can I place an order for 100 now? ” (Consumer)

9) When we spoke initially, roughly a year ago, you said at the time that it was the "start of an exponential growth in 3D printing industry and people will look back on this time in history and see it as the start of a new 3D age" and "before there can be mass consumer adoption of 3D printing, the industry must work to solve challenges around speed, materials, affordability, safety, ease of use, access to 3D data, print quality, printer reliability and more". Where do you think we are now in relation to those comments one year down the road?
I believe we are a whole lot closer with the launch of the Mcor ARKe!

The 3D printing industry has been very polarized —with desktop printers on one end and industrial printers on the other—I think the introduction of the Mcor ARKe really attempts to bridge that gap between the two sectors. By bringing a premium product into the desktop space we are offering industrial quality 3D printing but on the desktop!

But there is always more work to do and at Mcor we are always on a quest to improve and bring the technology closer to mass adoption.

10) What can we expect to see from Mcor in the next 3-5 years as 3D printing continues along its path of seemingly limitless growth?
We are an innovation company and innovation driven ? so expect better, faster and cheaper as we move closer to a 3D printer for everyone.

About William Elward

Founder of Castle Ink, William Elward has 20 years experience in the printer industry. He's been featured on CNN Money, Yahoo, PC World, Computer World, and other top publications and frequently blogs about printers and ink cartridges. He's an expert at diagnosing printer issues and has published guides to fixing common printer issues across the internet. A graduate of Bryant University and Columbia's Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program, he's held various leadership positions at The College Board, Bankrate, Zocdoc, and Everyday Health. Follow him on Twitter at William Elward's Twitter Profile