In the past Aluminium has often been the material of choice for prototypes, jigs and fixtures, welding fixtures and the like due to its low cost, ready availability and ease of machining. However, when you take into consideration the associated tooling costs, set up and manpower required it can often make low volume or complex machining using Aluminium too expensive.
The Markforged range of 3D printers are designed to make it hassle free to create a variety of prototypes, fixtures, and one-off parts using 3D printable plastics. They are strong, tough, and stiff — and especially well-suited for checking shape and fit, and making fixtures, end of arm tooling and low volume production parts.
Print materials include Onyx, Nylon and Fibre Reinforced Plastics such as Carbon Fibre, Kevlar and Fibreglass. The chart to the right shows how these compare with Aluminium for strength, toughness, stiffness and environmental resistance.