Continuing on from our last post on Advanced Materials for 3D Printing in which we discussed the uses of Nylon, Polycarbonate and PVA, we’ve got more to share here.
Flexible or TPU 95A
Flexible filament is used in a wide range of applications. It’s a rubber-like filament that comes in a range of flexibilities, or shore-hardness ratings. If it’s rated a 40 or 45 in shore hardness (like the Innofil3D Innoflex40/45), then it is more flexible than a higher shore hardness (like the Ultimaker TPU 95A).
Really flexible filaments, like the Innoflex40, generally work better on a direct drive 3D printer system (with the filament feeder located right before the hotend, so the filament is basically pulled into the hotend, such as on the Tinkerine Ditto Pro) than on a Bowden tube system (with the filament feeder located at the back of the printer, so the filament is pushed through a tube some distance before the hotend, such as on Ultimaker printers). For Bowden system printers, we recommend using semi-flexible materials (higher shore hardness).
These materials are great for:
- End use products like mobile phone covers
- Components of other printed products like finger tips on prosthetic hands or rubbery insoles for shoes
- Miniature ties, drive belts and bracelets
Special Filament – Metal Based
There are now a number of composite metal-based 3D printing filaments available on the market. These filaments mix metal into the plastic filament, allowing fantastic metal-like printed results. With all of these composite filaments post-printing processing is key in order to achieve the metal finish desired.
ColorFabb offers Steel, Brass, Bronze and Copper-based 3D printing filament which allows the user to achieve amazing prints. Most of these require an upgrade from the standard brass nozzle on the hotend to a hardened steel or harder metal in order to not destroy the nozzle in the printing process.
Special Filament – Carbon Fiber
There are filaments available (XT-CF20 from ColorFabb is one) that are reinforced with carbon fibers. This filament is therefore perfect for parts which need high stiffness. They also print with a great matte finish as expected from carbon fiber.
Hardened steel nozzles are a must with carbon fiber filament!
Special Filament – Glow in the Dark
Glow in the Dark is a fun filament that appears off-white in normal light, but glows in the dark. It’s great for hidden features on prints, or anything Halloween themed! It’s made from PLA so prints as if using standard PLA.
Special Filament – Wood and Bamboo Composites
Finally, there are other composite materials that give other properties to the filament. Wood or bamboo fibers are mixed with PLA (about 30% fibers in most cases) to make a wood filament that is printable. You can sand your prints just like they are wood, and even get the freshly sanded wood smell!
Have questions or want to get your hands on these filaments yourself? Email us at info @ kuunda3d.com to learn more!