Product Overview - Z Corporation 3D Printers

By Hal Reid

ZCorp Overview VendorZCorp Logo
32 Second Avenue
Burlington, MA 01803
Tel: 1-781-852-5005

Product Overview

Z Corporation produces several 3D printer models that range in output size from 8 by 10 by 8 inches to 20 by 24 by 16 inches.Note that there are three dimensions, not two like your average printer.This is because these products can be used to create models of terrain, topographical maps and even models of parts and assemblies.The output can be generated from mapping programs that support 3D, 3D CAD programs or 3D modeling programs.In addition Z Corp.has their own software for STK, VRML and PLY formats that allows for 3D viewing, text labeling and scaling, for fine-tuning prior to printing.

How it works

The Z Corporation printers have five basics process functions to create a 3D model.

First, a special powder is feed to the print surface.
Second, a roller spreads the powder on the print surface at a pre-determined depth (note that this takes just seconds to complete)
Third, Standard inkjet print heads (a total of 6 print heads to form a CYMK color base including clear) apply color the initial layer of powder.
Fourth, the layer of powder is solidified
Fifth, the print surface is lowered for another layer of powder.

This process repeats until the entire 3D model is completed.

The combination of the powder and the ink jet color forms a bond and become solid.So if there is no printing done at a given location or layer, the powder remains only powder.At the end of the printing process, the pure powder is blown out leaving an output that is reflects the original drawing or model.Depending on the size and complexity of the output, typically this takes less than half an hour.

What does the output look like? (remember these are solid 3D printouts)

Example 1 "" Cityscape - New Orleans before Katrina
Image of New Orleans
Click for larger image

Example 2 "" Topographies -Â A section of Lake Tahoe and a Canyon Relief
Topo Map Image
Click for larger image

Canyon Image
Click for larger image

Example 3
"" A Shock Absorber prototype and a Running Shoe
Shock Absorber Image
Click for larger image


A 3D printer producing prototypes is almost science fiction.What is perhaps the most amazing thing is that when you watch it work and then see the output, it is immediately recognizable and looks like the real thing, because it is that good.

These printers from Z Corporation do a truly remarkable job and when you see the results you begin to wish it could work in metal and plastic and actually produce what you see on the computer screen as working prototypes or pre-production examples.Perhaps that is coming in the next generation.

Published Thursday, December 1st, 2005

Written by Hal Reid

If you liked this article subscribe to our bimonthly newsletter...stay informed on the latest geospatial technology

Sign up

© 2017 Directions Media. All Rights Reserved.