Dec 15, 2015 | By Alec

While is it that the vast majority of 3D prints are made out of PLA or ABS filament? Sure, both are practical for quick prototypes or for solid connectors, but there is a vast variety of 3D printable filaments out there that are easy to use and perfect for more complex building projects. You know that you don’t have to spend thousands on a SLS or SLA 3D printer to add some variety to the hobby. And you’d be surprised to learn how many of these alternative filaments have come out of the mind and hands of German inventor and filament specialist Kai Parthy. And Kai is now once again back for more with SOLAY, a filament that mirrors the qualities of rubber and, to some extent, leather. Perfect for custom shoes, new shoe soles and even accessories such as belts and bracelets.

If you’re a veteran hobbyist who frequently dabbles with more exciting filaments, it will have become impossible for you to miss Kai Parthy. Among the vast range of filaments to come from his workshop, you can find materials such as the LayWoo-D3 wood filament (and recently the LAYWOOD-FLEX version), the flexible BENDLAY flex filament, the wax-like MOLDLAY and even LAYFOMM: a filament that creates very solid and durable objects that gain sponge-like qualities when soaked in water. In short, if you are in need of materials with unusual properties, there’s a serious chance you can find it in Kai’s LayFilaments repertoire.

And the same can doubtlessly be said for SOLAY, which has some properties that will especially interest those fashion students dabbling in 3D printing technology. For as Kai explains, this material has some very interesting characteristics. When 3D printed it is quite rubber-like and durable, being rough and yet friendly for the skin. It has the same type of elasticity as caoutschouc (or natural rubber) featuring a Shore A / ~ 90. This is partially due to the high number of natural organic pigments that it is filled with (at least 30 percent).

This makes it perfect for designing wearable accessories, as Kai himself can know. ‘A couple of years ago in my first life, I worked at the costume department of Leipzig Theater as shoes-maker. We produced that time individual shoes for dancers and opera singers and all actors made by leather from pigs, goat or cow and of course silk,’ he says. ‘Today I´m happy to provide a material for our 3D-printers to print creative styled shoe-soles, being able to vary the effect of elasticity and damping, using intelligent design and slicing methods.’

And as clothes and shoes designers will be happy to learn, it is also very easily dyed. The SOLAY prints are easily colored using inks (such as ethylalcohol marker inks) and even simply with the help of permanent markers. Stone washing, for a blue jeans effect, is also possible. In short, it is the perfect filament for creating wearables.

It is also relatively easy to 3D print, though in the coming months it will only be available as a 3.0 mm filament. For 3D printing, you’ll need a 0.4 mm nozzle and ideally a 20° to 60° heated build platform. Excellent results can be achieved when 3D printing 0.2 mm layers, as slightly thicker layers will make the surface rougher. 3D printing at temperatures as low as 175°C to 190° will also maintain the lovely white color, with higher temperatures slightly browning the filament after a while. It is also easily fed into machines, though it can’t be treated with Aceton or other post-print processing techniques involving solvents.

But what if you can’t or don’t want to work with 3.0 mm filament? Never fear! 1.75 mm is definitely on the agenda in the spring of 2016, but Kai is also working on a very interesting other option: a tool for feeding the thicker 3.0mm filament, or the more conventional 1.75mm width filament, into a 3D printer. It can do much more, however there are still two weeks until his Kickstarter campaign begins and the rest of the top-secret details are revealed. ‘This makes it first time possible to use one 3D printer for both filament diameters. For that I will start in January 2016 a Kickstarter campaign together with my friends the Achatz Family of ReprapUniverse,’ Kai says. However, the few prototypes already work very well, so that machine would be a very interesting option for makers everywhere. We will keep you updated as soon as we learn more about it.

In the mean time, you can already find SOLAY at your local filament dealer, where it will be priced approximately the same as Layfomm, Layfelt and the other Kai Parthy filaments. Your dealer doesn’t sell these filaments? Direct his attention to Kai, and that will doubtlessly change very quickly.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



Maybe you also like:


DAVID wrote at 2/19/2016 1:37:30 PM:

WHERE TO BUY?! Could you post a link of Reseller?

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive