Markforged (NYSE: MKFG), creator of the integrated metal and carbon fibre additive manufacturing platform, The Digital Forge, today announced the addition of Precise PLA to its portfolio of materials. The new capability allows customers to product design and iterate in a cost-effective manner. The Digital Forge platform is now able to address all stages of product design – from validation, which relies on more affordable materials like Precise PLA, to strong, end-use applications reliant on Markforged’s carbon fibre reinforced and metal-printed parts.
Precise PLA is Markforged’s specialized version of Polylactic Acid (PLA), one of the most common prototyping materials in the additive manufacturing industry. Markforged will offer Precise PLA in eight colour options – yellow, red, green, blue, orange, black, white, and grey. The Digital Forge has been calibrated, through updates to Eiger™ software, to print Precise PLA with excellent quality and repeatability.
With the release of Precise PLA, users can now make affordable designs on the same reliable, quality platform used to create mission-critical, end use parts in demanding industries like aerospace, automotive, defence and healthcare. With Precise PLA, Markforged now offers 28 unique materials, from plastics to continuous carbon fibres to metals. Together, these materials offer users unparalleled versatility in capabilities, ranging from high stiffness, impact resistance, temperature resistance, surface finish, and now, affordability. From the initial phases of product development through production and even aftermarket repair, users can now use one simple platform to address their custom part needs.
With the availability of Precise PLA, Zero Tolerance LLC, an injection moulding and machine shop, has now expanded its use of the Digital Forge to bring an end-use motorcycle display adapter from concept to final product.
“When using other 3D printers and PLA materials, the results were not as precise as required, even after multiple iterations. Printing parts to the size and quality we need, with the required functionality and at a great price point is critical for our business,” said Steve Michon, Zero Tolerance president and CEO. “Once design validation using Precise PLA is completed, we move to production with Markforged’s Onyx material for functional testing, followed by printing with continuous carbon fibre for added safety for our final, end-use part. With this new material, we can now utilize our Markforged printer to deliver great results repeatedly throughout the entire design and manufacturing process. This is the most reliable additive platform we’ve ever used. It just works.”
In addition to prototyping, Zero Tolerance also uses color-coded inserts printed in Precise PLA in conjunction with Markforged’s high-strength continuous fibre composite materials to make fiberglass-reinforced assembly tools. The colours help the operator quickly identify the correct tool, while relying on the fiberglass for strength and stiffness.
“An affordable material devoted to design validation was a top request from our customers to deliver a uniform and smooth print on the Digital Forge from the beginning to the end of the product life cycle.” said Shai Terem, Markforged President and CEO. “The growth and adoption of the Digital Forge depends upon our ability to address our customers’ requests and introduce new capabilities that grow our addressable market. This added dimension of versatility will expand the use cases our customers can address with the Digital Forge, and drive adoption in segments such as education and design services thanks in part to the lower cost of entry.”
Precise PLA will be available to order on 15 March and will be compatible with Mark Two (Gen 2) and Onyx Pro (Gen 2). The new material is also scheduled to be available on all Markforged Industrial Series printers that are equipped with the latest A3648 extruder, including the X3, X5, and X7, in Q2 of this year. To learn more about completing the product life cycle with Precise PLA, please register for our upcoming webinar on March 29 at 10 a.m. ET.