ZCorp used to be one of the larger manufacturers of 3D printers and additive manufacturing machines and then they were bought by an even larger player in the space, 3D Systems. Once the acquisition of ZCorp went through 3D Systems began rolling most of the existing ZCorp line into their own. One of the primary differences of the ZCorp line is the use of color. By adding ink heads to the machine the ZCorp line is able to create multi-colored models in a single print. This eliminates the need to hand paint a print, which is typically a time consuming and costly secondary process. For organizations using 3D printers to create prototypes and models intended for display and sales purposes the use of color ensures that the true form of the model is conveyed.
The higher end series of ZCorp machines come with a chamber to remove dust. By keeping everything contained they cut down on overall material usage because the unused portion can be folded into the next print. An added benefit of the build chamber, along with other features, means that the ZCorp series are “plug and play”. Although still to large for most home or desktop applications the total experience with them makes for a much easier pitch to small organizations who can not afford the time or investment to learn new systems and provide support for high end machinery.
Of all the sample parts ZCorp displays one of my personal favorites is the Geospatial landscape. The multi-colored skull they printed for me back at Solidworks World in 2010 is still sitting on my desk today and I have used it a number of times to explain the capabilities to colleagues. The material used is still limiting, it is a custom material intended only for the machines, so resultant parts are not direct replacements for typical injection molded components. That said, as a prototyping machine the ZCorp ZPrinter series certainly holds their own for the ability to quickly create colored models.
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