June 15, 2014 | By Cynthia

In the past, the experimental 3D printing filaments of inventor Kai Parthy have gotten our attention. He's the mind behind the materials Laywoo-3D, Bendlay, and Laybrick. Today, we checked in with Kai on the progress of his new materials.

Only months ago, Kai released his LAY-Ceramic and two versions of PORO-LAY for purchase on Ebay. He extrudes his materials with a lab extruder, and, although his supplies are limited, Kai told us he is eager to make his materials available for early adopters.

3D objects printed with the LAY-Ceramic material can be fired at a high temperature to produce hard ceramics while objects printed using materials from the PORO-LAY series can be rinsed to produce soft and jelly-like objects. Universities and design studios have shown interest in Kai's work.

We asked Kai about possible applications:


LAY-Ceramic in Space

"I've been asked whether LAY-Ceramic could be printed in the absence of gravity and if the polymer binder in it could be exorcised using focused sunlight only. I hope the next Chinese or U.S. missions will take it to Mars and that they will test 3D printing ceramics in orbit."

LAY-Ceramic in 3.0 mm is available at ebay for EUR46/0.5kg.


The Poro-lay line includes four different materials:
1. Lay-Felt
2. Lay-Tekkks
3. Lay-Fomm
4. Gel-Lay

In general all filaments have structure inside, some are more like a foam, with holes, others are more like a felt, with elongated, fibrous holes. The main characteristics of different PORO-LAY filaments are:
1. Lay-Felt: Lay-Felt contains stiff or soft felt-fibers, it may be used in the following applications: 3D membranes, filters, semipermeable, future cloths, and artificial paper.
2. Lay-Tekkks: Lay-Tekkks and Lay-Felt are both fibrous like felt, but Lay-Tekkks has thinner, finer fibrous structures. Lay-Tekks can be used for making oriented fibers, stacked fibers, future cloths, and tissue.
3. Lay-Fomm: Lay-Fomm is full with holes, it feels like very soft rubber. It may be used in making micro-foam, sponges, bio-cells, elastics, and bendable suits. LAYFOMM-40 is available at ebay for EUR26 / 0.25kg.
4. Gel-Lay: This material is highly porous and the printed objects are very unstable. Its applications could be: objects in water, marine organism, flow simulation, and bio-mechanics. Gel-Lay is available at ebay for EUR26 / 0.25kg.

Applications of PORO-LAY

PORO-LAY in robotics
"After rinsing, PORO-LAY is an elastic, fibrous material similar to human muscles in structure. It's also a conductive material when the pores are filled with an electrolyte like salt water or ionic fluids. Then PORO-LAY can transmit low voltage electronic signals in a manner similar to a copper wire. It could also be used in as membranes in electrochemical cells and robotic applications."

PORO-LAY biocompatibility
"Further application could be elastic feathers for foldable structures like solar-panels or vibration dampers – all things that we need for mars missions in 20 years. PORO-LAY is also biocompatible. The rinsed PVA is even used as food-packing material, and the remaining part is a harmless polymer.

PORO-LAY may also be blended from a biocompatible-backbone polymer instead of the rinseable one, which is already biocompatible. With this polymer, bacteria may go inside the porous structures and degrade the PORO-LAY after usage or allow other cells to grow using the pores for stability."

PORO-LAY in the wild
"I've also been asked about using PORO-LAY for elastic muscles in a wet environment."

So whether you're interested in making a space ceramics or a SwampThing replica, Kai Parthy's experimental filaments may be just the material for your 3D-printing application.


Posted in 3D Printing Materials

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