One of the things holding 3D printing back is the limitation of the material used to print objects. A Chinese company, Polymakr, has developed three new printing materials that aren't just regular plastic, but re-engineered plastic to be used as an "ink" with 3-D printers.
Polylactic acid (PLA), an amorphous polymeric material, is more brittle and will tend to splinter and break compared to ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene).
The PolyMax PLA created by Polymakr is re-engineered with high mechanical strength. "The material exhibits over 8 times better impact strength and toughness than regular PLA." says the team.
Compared with ABS, PolyMax PLA has the advantages of less unpleasant (even toxic) odor, less tendency to warp and it also exhibits high impact strength than ABS, according to a comparison sheet below made by the company. However there is no further explanation of how the tests were done. We will update this when further details come out.
The second new material from Polymakr is PolyFlex, a soft and flexible filament that is said to be compatible with most desktop 3D printers, including MakerBot Replicator 2, Replicator 2X, Ultimaker, RepRap Prusa Mendel, MakerGear M2, Afinia / Up! Plus etc.
The PolyFlex is also easy to feed and the company says you can print with a normal printing speed in a range of 60 – 90 mm/min.
PolyWood is a wood-mimic PLA based printing material that contains no wood. It has a porous microstructure and the prints feature a rough surface that both looks and feels like raw, carved wood.
"We used a unique foaming technology that stabilizes the air bubbles inside the material (imagine tiny micro-balloons) – so you can maintain the porous structure during and after the printing." write the team. The foamy structure allows you to print objects which can be used in, for example, heat insulation, sound insulation or anti-vibration etc.
The Polymakr team has launched the three new 3D printing materials on Kickstarter. One lb of PolyMax PLA spooled and One lb of PolyFlex or PolyWood costs $24 and $30 respectively. Check out more options or pledge the project here.
Posted in 3D Printing Materials
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DJH wrote at 3/17/2014 10:35:32 PM:
I'll give the PolyMax a try. Too bad it only comes in white, despite what their images show.
jd90 wrote at 3/15/2014 2:54:42 PM:
I'm amused they briefly showed line art of 3D System's CubeX, which was built to try preventing users from using third party filaments. Incidentally, I think it might be the worst 3D printer anywhere near that price range. I had a buddy say he got better results from a Solidoodle than his employer's CubeX. The pitch seems interesting. I'm tempted. I rarely back crowdfunded projects.
jd90 wrote at 3/15/2014 2:19:03 PM:
The packaging has nice touches, such as a resealable bag and an included clip. I have made those clips, I guess I've forgotten about trying to do that. There are holes in the spool though. I'll look at it closer later.