Dr. MacCormack co-founded Mcor Technologies in 2005 to democratize innovation by creating accessible tools based on paper-based Selective Deposition Lamination (SDL) technology. Dr. MacCormack has served as Mcor’s CEO since 2007, during which the company launched industry-changing products and generated worldwide recognition and demand.
1) How did you come up with the idea for Mcor?
My interest in 3D printing began back in 1986 after I saw it for the first time on the BBC television series called “Tomorrow’s World in 1986.” It was inevitable that my brother and I would be drawn to this sort of technology, as we are your typical engineering geeks. Growing up, we would take apart things such as clocks and see if we could put them back together – we even built motorbikes from start to finish! While we lived in Philadelphia, we would spend our time thinking up problems and sketching out their solutions, and constantly had notebooks full of concepts and designs at hand.
When I was doing my PhD in Trinity College in Dublin, I finally saw a 3D printer in action for the first time. I was amazed, but also appalled at how expensive it was to operate – it cost even more than gold! That planted a seed, and Fintan and I set out to solve the problem of just a chosen few having the right to 3D print and decided on our final problem: Can we make a 3D printer that had a zero running cost, and also be eco-friendly? And that’s where Mcor was born.
2) Where do you see the business going?
Our ultimate goal is to have a 3D printer in every office, classroom and eventually home. While the 3D printing market is beginning to stabilize, we know it’s still ripe for disruption and each new technology is continuing to prove that. As new use cases are discovered daily, the power of 3D printing grows among industries including medicine and architecture. We are focused now in expanding our presence in our existing markets such as education and reprographics, as well as penetrating new markets including creative professionals who as of yet have not been addressed in the world of 3D printing. Ultimately, we are an innovation company with a roadmap of other 3D printing products that we’ve planned out, each one bringing us a step close to achieving our vision.
3) What will the future hold for 3D printers?
In the immediate future (next five years or so), we’ll see better, faster, smaller and cheaper printers – before they can be mass-marketed, all of these need to come to fruition. However, before 3D printing is ready for the masses we must solve existing problems around speed, materials, affordability, safety, ease of use, access to 3D software and data, print quality, printer reliability and more. But we are also glad to say that we feel the Mcor ARKe goes a long way to blaze that trail!
All in all, with the future being the future, all of these little problems that the 3D printing industry is facing now will be solved – we aren’t dealing with warp speed or dark matter, it’s engineering, science, materials and software. In 20 years’ time, 3D printed objects will produce parts in seconds and minutes instead of hours and days. Materials will be indistinguishable with materials today from non-3D printed processes including injecting moulding, casting and machining. Every classroom will have a 3D printer, electric cars will have 3D printed body parts, tailored drugs will be 3D printed, human trials of 3D printed organs will have taken place and space missions will have a 3D printer as one of their “must-haves.”
4) What inspired you to go into business?
A general love of engineering and machinery, and the desire to solve problems and change the world. 3D printing is a wonderful technology, and we wanted to bring this tech to the masses, not just the select few who could afford the hefty price tag to start.
5) What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Before embarking on any mission, it’s imperative to ask yourself “What’s the WHY” – this is the reason that you’re choosing that mission and will be the driver behind business decisions as you move forward. It’s okay to dream big and have what I call “irrational optimism.” There are going to be hurdles, but you must absolutely have the vision and determination to get past the inevitable dips and detours in your road to success.
It’s also important to not take “no” for an answer – for ten years Mcor was told by experts that certain things cannot be done or were impossible. It’s important to trust yourself and run with what you believe is right – this is the very reason why Mcor is the fast-growing, award-winning, patent-holding business it is today.
We would like to thank Conor for speaking with us.