Being one of the longer term user of the machine, I feel compelled to add my two cents worth.
Unlike some, we do not view the machine as a novelty or training tool. Since July of 97, we have used the machine to make a wide variety of parts for a wide variety of clients. Today, the machine continues to crank out Parts, Models and Sculptures at a cost and within a time frame that has not been surpassed. Our machine continues to serve as a revenue stream as well as an internal design communication tool.
Other than a few enhancements, the machine operates as it did the day it rolled into our office. One of the enhancements that I am most happy about is the ability to build very accurate and durable parts from a 100% recyclable material. In fact, parts made on the machine today are durable enough to ship and handle without post infiltration. Also, we have always recycled as much as 75% of our powder, but now we are at the 99% maker.
As for the original questions posted, once again here are my comments. I also suggest those interested, check the archives dating back to July 97 on the subjects :
1. How well does the new 'plaster' type material work, is it reliable and
> can it make thinner more delicate parts than the 'starch' material?
It works very well and yes you can make more delicate parts with better accuracy.
> 2. Is the Z corp machine really as quick and easy to operate as they say or
> do the parts need a lot of post-processing?
This is a relative question based on your expectations, but I would say yes it is very quick and easy to operate and no you do not need to do a lot of post finishing.
> 3. Are the 'plaster' parts strong enough to use directly off the machine or
> do they need dipping in wax or resins.
Yes you can use the parts right out of the machine. In fact, the new material gives one the ability to carve on the parts and make minor modifications in the green state.
> 4. Do the parts need to be left to cure in the powder or can they be used
> as soon as the machine has stopped.
The new material should be left in the powder for a little longer than the old powder because of the increased saturation and thinner layers.
> 5. I have heard that the 'plaster' type material takes twice as long to
> build as the starch is this true? can anyone give typical build times or
> examples of build speeds for this material?
This is true because of increased saturation and thinner layers. Sometimes it takes twice as long to build a part. But that is because the head is putting down more liquid and the layers are half as thick. Keep in mind that the machine is still very very fast. New users of the machine wont recognize the difference, they are still impressed by its speed.
> 6. Has the Zcorp machine lived up to operators expectations or does the
> choice of materials limit its use. Do end users appreciate the speed of
> build as a fair trade off for prototypes with a limited functionality?
Zcorp has a license to deliver a concept modeler, and they have done an exceptional job of it. Yes we all sometimes want to use the parts for more than conceptual models and you can, but at some point as with all RP systems you have to step up or move sideways to the next level. No one machine can deliver it all, but you can surely get a lot done with this little gem of a machine.
I am very happy to say that we picked the right company to deliver on our need for a concept modeler. If I had to buy another low end machine it would be a easy decision for me.
President & CEO
Creative Technical Solutions, llc.
Product Design, Development & Rapid Prototyping
9955 Westpoint Drive, Ste. 140
Indianapolis, IN 46256
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