May 27, 2016 | By Benedict

BioInspiration, a Berlin-based startup specializing in environmentally friendly 3D printing materials, has announced that its WillowFlex premium eco-filament is now available in 2.85mm format. The larger filament will initially come in three colors: Charcoal, Engine Red, and Natural.

Last year, BioInspiration ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for its 1.75mm WillowFlex 3D printing filament, raising almost €13,000 in pledges. Once the campaign drew to a close, the company spent a few months preparing and shipping orders, before sending out the final few packages in February 2016. The BioInspiration team, consisting of Brian Crotty and Thorsten Perl, has since put together a 2.85mm version of its flexible eco-filament, enabling users of Ultimakers and various Bowden extruder 3D printers to get their hands on the material.

When they formed BioInspiration in 2014, Crotty and Perl wanted to create a 3D printing filament that was ecological, safe, and unique. The duo successfully achieved that tripartite objective with their successful Kickstarter campaign, creating a non-toxic 3D printing material which decomposes naturally at the end of the object’s lifecycle. Months later and the team has now added a fourth tenet to its philosophy: compatibility. The introduction of the 2.85mm filament range brings compatibility with Ultimaker 3D printers and other machines favoring the 2.85mm system. One of BioInspiration’s trade partners even figured out how to print the flexible filament on a Bowden extruder.

Although many makers would like to use an eco-filament instead of PLA or ABS, many remain doubtful over whether such a material could be tough enough for serious printing applications. BioInspiration wanted to prove those makers wrong by creating a filament that was good for the planet and good for makers themselves. WillowFlex is made from a non-GMO cornstarch, and has a biodegrading level of 90% within six months. But despite its eco-friendly properties, the material maintains its integrity at temperatures up to 105°C and stays flexible at temperatures as low as -15°C, making it far from a lightweight in the materials world.

Curious about an eco-friendly filament but wondering how the prints might turn out? Last year, BioInspiration created these 3D printed Star Wars toys to celebrate the release of The Force Awakens while publicizing WillowFlex. Each model was printed in WillowFlex filament before being hand-painted with biodegradable watercolors.

The first 120 spools of the new 2.85mm WillowFlex filament will be ready to ship on June 9. Customers buying the 2.85mm filament can choose from three colors: Charcoal, Engine Red, and Natural, while those buying the 1.75mm version can choose from 10 colors. WillowFlex materials are available through the BioInspiration online shop or through various international resellers.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Materials

 

 

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