Jan 19, 2016 | By Kira

New York-based Graphene 3D Labs has been making huge advances in the area of functional 3D printing. Just last year, it announced the commercial sale of its proprietary conductive graphene filaments, which incorporate highly conductive nano-carbon materials to enhance the properties of PLA and enable commercial 3D printers to produce electronic, 3D printed components. Today, Graphene 3D Labs has made another major step towards bringing functional 3D printing to the masses with its magnetic 3D printing filament line, already available for purchase via Amazon or the company’s e-commerce store, Black Magic 3D.

Graphene 3D’s Ferro-Magnetic material is an iron-based PLA filament that allows for the 3D printing of objects that are strongly attracted to magnetic fields (in particular, the company recommends neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) or samarium cobalt (SmCo) magnets for the best results.) Magnetic filaments open up entirely new possibilities within 3D printing, including 3D printed magnetic sensors, mechanical actuators, magnetic stirrers, educational and DIY projects, and giving 3D prints a 'cast iron' appearance.

"It has always been the objective of Graphene 3D to create new opportunities for 3D printing.  With every functional filament we introduce to the market, the types of 3D projects that can be successfully printed expands exponentially," said Elena Polyakova, Co-CEO of Graphene 3D.  "As this filament is ideally suited to switches, sensors and actuators, we also expect this new functionality will challenge more traditional manufacturers to examine incorporating more 3D printing technology into their manufacturing processes."

There is a growing trend within the 3D printing industry to develop more functional and multi-functional materials that go beyond merely 3D printing cheap plastic parts. In particular, conductive 3D printing inks and filaments have opened the door to creating assembled, working electronics—from smartphones to 3D printed missiles—right off the printer bed.

Conductive filaments such as gold and silver can be used to 3D print cheaper, thinner and more responsive touch screens for smartphones; and companies such as Nano Dimension have developed products such as an oxidation-resistant conductive copper ink for 3D printing, and AgCite, the silver nanoparticle ink.

As for Graphene 3D Labs, in addition to launching its above-mentioned conductive graphene inks for 3D printing, it has also filed a patent for a low-cost process for producing high-grade conductive graphene, and even more recently, it filed a patent for the Romulus III, a multifunctional 3D printer that can 3D print a working, organic LED light source.

Graphene 3D recently filed a patent for a process for 3D printing an organic LED light source that immediately functions when printed

The company currently has six US patent applications pending for its 3D printer and 3D printing materials technology, however there seems to be a lot more to come from Graphene 3D Labs in the near future: "We expect 2016 to be a significant year for Graphene 3D in terms of introducing new functional filaments," said Daniel Stolyarov, Co-CEO of Graphene 3D.  "We have several new functional filaments in the development pipeline and we expect to release several new filaments throughout the year. Availability of a large selection of functional 3D printing materials enlarges the capabilities of additive manufacturing allowing you to print projects that will only be limited by your imagination." 

Graphene 3D does note that because of the iron content, their magnetic PLA is more abrasive and brittle than standard PLA and thus requires more attention while 3D printing, as well as larger diameter or wear-resistant nozzles for longer prints. However, it can be post-processed to look either smooth or rough. The Ferro-Magnetic PLA 3D printing filament is available in 1.75mm for $39.99 per 350g spool.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Materials

 

 

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