Professional 3D Printing With Fusion3’s Certified Material List

There are several features that make the Fusion3 F410 stand out from other professional 3D printers but one of them is really something special: their Certified Materials List (.pdf 2019 version). The CML ensures every available material is printed with the correct settings for optimized quality and efficiency. Open Material System – Print With 3rd […]

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New Polymer Blends Display Enhanced Interlayer Bonding for FFF/FDM 3D Prints

Spanish researchers have developed polymer blends that enhance interlayer bonding for FFF/FDM 3D prints. By mixing together TPU and ABS in various proportions, they have reportedly created new materials with “the appearance of new supramolecular interactions via hydrogen bonding“. In effect, the blends have far better interlayer bonding while displaying no loss in yield strength. […]

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Interview with Lorena James, Who Turns Invasive Species of Quagga Mussels Into 3D Printing Filament

Lorena James

Lorena James

Lorena James is a Sustainability Innovator within the Additive Manufacturing Industry. She is the founder of Z SPools, an award-winning Lake Erie-based startup that provides 3D solutions for invasive species. They manufacture a patent ending 3D printing filament out of zebra and quagga mussel shells – two of the most prominent invasive species in the Great Lakes. We’ve written about her great project before

Give us a brief summary of your life experience and college experience that has gotten you to this point.

My senior year of high school I enrolled in an Entrepreneurial Studies course during which I was introduced to the world of entrepreneurship. Every month, I worked with a team of students to serve as consultants, solving issues faced by local entrepreneurs in my native Buffalo, NY. From golf ball manufacturing to urban farming, I learned a lot about the diverse experiences of entrepreneurs and the passion that guides them in their work. This inspired me to engage in my own entrepreneurial path for my senior thesis project. I was recommended by my entrepreneurial studies teacher to register for a competition called Erie Hack, a pitch competition with the goal of solving water quality and other environmental issues in cities around Lake Erie. This competition propelled me into my work with Z Spools. Through the ideation process up until the pitch day, I worked closely with mentors at my high school and the University at Buffalo. In the end, I won the high school portion of the competition and continued to work with Z Spools as I began the college career at Davidson College. Now, I continue my entrepreneurial path with the many resources available at Davidson including The Hub Entrepreneurial Center, Davidson’s Makerspace, and the Avinger Scholarship. Such work had inspired me to declare an Environmental Entrepreneurship major.

What makes you passionate about the environment?

My family has always been close to nature. I grew up tending to a lush backyard garden, fishing in the Finger Lakes, and hiking in the Niagara River Gorge. In addition, interest in my Native ancestry inspired my study under a local Iroquois medicine man. He owned a shop in my native Buffalo, NY where he sold various herbal remedies. I learned a lot about methods of natural healing and furthered my respect and appreciation for nature. So, when it came time for me to begin the ideation process for my aforementioned senior thesis project, I used inspiration from the natural world to guide me. The circular economy is a concept that is linked with sustainability as well as 3D printing.

How do you feel about the circular economy as a thought process?

Adopting circular economy as a thought process is crucial when applied to living a sustainable life. Such a way of thinking looks different for everybody. As I travel now through Asia this summer, I see that sustainable living looks different in Shanghai than it would in a city like Buffalo. But people inhabiting both of these cities can make little changes in their everyday lives to adopt a circular economy thought process and – in turn – live more sustainable. For example, think of the life cycle of a plastic bag. Such an item has many uses. While it may be initially used to hold grocery items, subsequent uses may include a shower cap or lunch bag. When applied to my work with Z Spools, I utilize such thought processes often, especially when trouble shooting my extrusion process. When an extrusion does not go as planned – maybe the extruded plastic is too thing or has air bubbles – I save the “wasted” plastic and use it for art pieces/sculptures that I create out of the malformed plastic.

What are important things to keep in mind when it comes to manufacturing and environmental sustainability?

Efficiency and life cycle are two important concepts to keep in mind when it comes to manufacturing and environmental sustainability. In terms of efficiency, I refer to the manufacturing process as a whole, but also the development portion. As this applies to manufacturing 3D printing filament, the process can be quite wasteful if one does not keep a detailed record of accurate extrusion temperatures and speeds – among other variables. If the temperature is too hot, then the filament will be too thin for use. If the extrusion speed is too fast, then the filament will be become malformed. This wastes extrusion materials but worry not. This is where life cycle comes into play. Life cycle applies to the creation, use, and post-use of a product. Even if a product has abnormalities and cannot be used for its intended purpose, the material – in this case malformed 3D printing filament – can be used for other purposes. It can be broken down and fed back through a filament extruder. Or, one could be a bit more creative and use the twisted, cracked material for art installations as I have done in the past.

What motivated you to start your startup while in college?

At Davidson, I receive a lot of mentorship and monetary support for my academic and professional endeavors. This is a time in my life where I have the support system to pursue my ambitions. Even if I fail, I have the flexibility and support to pivot without the worry of debt. In addition, it is a wonderful learning experience that enhances my studies as an Environmental Studies student. I am very humbled and grateful to be in such a position as a student at Davidson.

What does your startup do?

We manufacture a patent pending, biodegradable 3D printing filament made of invasive species found in the Great Lakes. We work specifically with zebra and quagga mussel shells, two of the most prominent invasive species in Lake Erie. We start by hand collecting zebra and quagga mussel shells off of beaches mostly in Buffalo, NY. When then process the shells so they can be used to make our filament. I am currently working with two partners (one in Akron, OH and another in Dublin, Ireland) to perfect this manufacturing process. We are also currently working to develop an educational component as to inform our customers about these invasive species and what can be done to lessen their impact on the environment. We are waiting to introduce our product to market until we receive results from our patent application.

What are your thoughts on issues and policies such as the Green New Deal?

It is possible to encourage sustainable living and environmental protection through private movements and enterprises, but their effects will be lessened without the support of public policy and government funding. Such policies are crucial for a more sustainable world. Environmental Sustainability is intrinsically linked with globalization and policy reform,

What do you wish to see in terms of political reform with the US and globally?

Applying my environmental studies to my studies in Shanghai, I believe that more policy should be formed around manufacturing practices in China as it pertains to sustainability. Improvements to manufacturing practices in China would improve many environmental problems in the country including issues of water and air quality. The US and other countries that commonly import goods manufactured or assembled in China also have an important role to play. Enterprises in countries that utilize China’s manufacturing capabilities should push for more sustainable manufacturing practices, because it is these enterprises that are creating the demand for such pollution inducing products.

Lastly, what are your goals for the next 5 years?

In the next five years, I hope to find a co-founder for Z-Spools and expand to become an invasive species consulting service. I wish to develop other methods to utilize invasive species as natural resources not just in the US but in other countries as well, starting in China.

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3D Printing Interview with Buzz Baldwin of 3D Printlife

Buzz Baldwin

Buzz Baldwin is the founder of 3D Printlife. The company is committed to reducing the environmental impact of 3D Printing. From their Enviro ABS, to their Eco-Friendly spooling and environmental contributions, they strive to deliver customers filaments, while protecting the world. 3D Printlife filaments are all made in the USA. 

Give us a summary on your background and how you’ve reached this point in your life and career.

I grew up in New Hampshire. I have always had a love of nature. I went to Berkeley college of music and played in a band for a while. I loved it but I needed to pay the bills. Then I started working for Warner Brothers and worked for their animation scene. I then was looking to be a bit more entrepreneurial. I was sent an article in the Economist, and it was all about the revolution of 3D Printing. It was when all the patents were expiring. I then decided to try and get into the space. I was thinking that it would be a tech that almost everyone would have in their homes. We started looking for manufacturers. I had an imaging background so I was looking into a way to bring in non OEM branded filaments to the scene. Through luck I met a dental hygienist who had a friend who was a biochemist and we connected. This allowed for us to be able to start and make a filament that was our Enviro ABS line. It was eco friendly and compared well property wise to typical ABS filament. That did okay and gave us a great amount of brand recognition. We have been really trying to build a product line that is.

How has your early musical studies background been applicable to your entrepreneurial career?

I have met others in this space with a music background. I think there is a weird super power of looking at a complex scenario and being able to look at areas of improvement. We are able to look at a complex system and the ability to know the problem quickly. A lot of music is very geometrical. This is a simplistic way to look at it and it allows people to see things. Composition and lyric writing was essential for my studies. There are no rules but there are tools. With songwriting you have to create something that is interesting but not too repetitive. It is important to apply this thought process to entrepreneurship. When applied to my company there needs to be quality and differentiation. Anyone can write a song, but how is it memorable or good? It is difficult to make something that innately is boring when it has no real meaning until someone creates the story.

3D Print Life Enviro ABS

What got you interested in 3D Printing?

My friend sent me an article about 3D Printing and I thought that was really fascinating. The article did not really give a vision or understanding of what is the process. As a songwriter, you are creating something from nothing. With 3D printing you are able to create something from nothing. I think that is extremely empowering. It opens up a lot of possibilities. It opens up functional creativity. The ability to have decentralized manufacturing is amazing. An inventor in their garage can create a sustainable living for themselves. A remote makerspace in Africa has the possibility to  create their own tools and develop. Makerspaces and fab labs around the world can benefit large organizations and people.

How is the field of additive manufacturing critical for the ideals of a circular economy?

It is tough. We have had a lot of people ask about this. Overall the idea is great. On the material side, the degradation of a polymer occurs always once it is used for 3D Printing so it is difficult. There are needs for engineering PEEK, and being able to make materials that are eco friendly. It is still difficult though.

3D Printed Pokemon from 3D Print Clean

What are the biggest concerns of additive manufacturing in terms of sustainability?

It is a tough question to answer. There are so many factors. Additive is a niche space. The great part about it is mostly prototyping and education. There is not a mass production level yet. We all want to change the world. There still needs to be a focus on making sure thermoplastics are placed in the right environment. Biodegradability is only applicable in certain locations. End users should be focused on how this actually important. I would hope additive will create a way for us to reduce mass produced and injection molded parts. It is a larger scale problem that people are somewhat ignorant to this.

3D Print Life EnviroABS

What has been the biggest surprise in terms of the work you have done in this industry?

I am surprised by all the creativity out there. There is so much. The space lends itself well to this mindset. One is only limited by their imagination and it is great. There are endless possibilities. One of the biggest surprises is that I as someone who went to school for music can even have an impact on the space. It opens up invention and manufacturing to anyone. A bit of investment can lead a large way for anyone to be able to create something. The level of advancement for using technology to benefit humanity has been tremendous. The ability to think and then conceptualize allows people to build.

H and H 3D plastics launch new industrial sized filament spools

U.S based filament manufacturer H and H 3D Plastics is launching a new line of industrial sized spools to facilitate the growth of large format 3D printing. “If you’re producing a 3D print which takes 48 hours or more – and many of our clients already are – you simply don’t want to keep switching […]

stronghero3D seeks 3D printer material resellers in Europe and the U.S.

stronghero3D is a material producer headquartered in Shenzhen, the tech capital of China. Specializing in the creation of vibrant and rainbow-gradient filaments, the company was founded by Tommy Wu in 2014. In an interview with Wu, 3D Printing Industry learns more about stronghero3D’s plans for global expansion, and how the company aims to humbly stand out […]

Fortify and DSM Royal collaborate to develop industrial materials for 3D printing

Fortify, a Digital Composite Manufacturing (DCM) firm in Boston, and Royal DSM, a Dutch multinational chemical company, have partnered up to develop industrial-grade composite materials for 3D printing end-use parts and structural components. The companies will develop the materials using Fortify’s DCM platform, which is powered by Fluxprint technology where magnets are integrated into DLP […]

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Dichroic 3D-printing material changes color with point of view

Dichroic 1

Via NewAtlas

In use since at least the 4th century AD, dichroic glass displays different colors depending on how it’s being viewed. Now, Dutch scientists have produced the effect in a material that can be used to create 3D-printed objects – and it’s not just a novelty, as it could have practical applications.

A team of researchers at Wageningen University started with regular polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), which is a widely-available polymer commonly used as a 3D printing medium. To this they added gold nanoparticles of varying sizes – not much of the gold was needed, as it ended up constituting only 0.07 percent of the resulting composite material’s weight.

Learn more!

Fillamentum launches ASA 3D printer filament made for more than just the outdoors

Popular 3D printer materials brand Fillamentum has launched three new shades of its ASA Extrafill filament for FFF/FDM. Noticing a rise in users switching from ABS to the higher resistance thermoplastic, the company states, “ASA is getting really popular among designers, and that happens for its properties. ASA is optimal for outside usage but its […]

Interview with Solvay’s Brian Alexander About Solvay’s 3D Printing Future

The giants are coming. DSM, SABIC, BASF, DOWDuPont, Eastman, Mitsubishi, Covestro, Evonik, Arkema, Perstorp, Clariant and Solvay have all joined the 3D printing industry. All these companies are making serious investments in creating materials and applications for 3D Printing. Their heft, polymer expertise and existing client base should all help our industry grow. They all have high hopes for our fast-growing industry but these giants range from $2 billion to $65 billion in revenue. Is there enough room in our $12 billion industry for this heard of elephants? Will act like accelerants to our industry, making 3D printing better? Are they here for the long run? What will they do?

3DPrint.com asked Brian Alexander of Solvay what the €12.4 billion Belgian chemicals company is up to in 3D printing. Solvay has not made a brash entrance at all but is slowly but surely making its polymers available to the 3D printing market. Solvay is selling directly via its own e-commerce site and is focussing on high-performance materials such as PPSU and PEEK.  Brian leads the Business Incubation Platform Additive Manufacturing at Solvay Specialty Polymers and is in charge of bringing Solvay to the 3D printing market.

PPSU is a good candidate material for 3D printing, what do you think it will be used for?

PPSU delivers the highest performance of amorphous materials for chemical resistance, toughness and thermal stability. The high heat resistance and excellent hydrolytic stability of Radel PPSU make it an excellent choice for hot water fittings and medical devices requiring repeated steam sterilization such as dental and surgical instruments, but also for aircraft cabin interior parts, that need to withstand cleaning agents and to comply with extremely stringent fire, smoke, and toxicity standards.

Where do you see your Fluoropolymers portfolio being deployed in manufacturing?

With exceptional purity and chemical resistance, our fluoropolymers are typically used in the chemical processing industry, automotive and oil & gas. We already see demands from these sectors for 3D-printable fluoropolymers that will enable more sophisticated shapes and tailor-made, small-series production.

What are your plans for PEKK?

We are working on a PEKK powder for selective laser sintering (SLS) that enables for superior 3D-printed parts. It is currently available for sampling. We are also studying the use of PEKK with other printing technologies.

For PEEK?

We have recently launched a AM-ready filament based on our KetaSpire PEEK, which has a unique reputation in the market as one of the highest performing polymers out there. We believe that Fused Filament Fabrication is the best technology for such a material, but the industry is evolving quickly, which is why we also work on adapting this material to other printing technologies.

When do I use PEKK and when do I use PEEK?

Both a similar materials, but PEKK has higher thermo-mechanical properties, while PEEK has a higher chemical resistance.

High-performance polyamides would seem to be a future area with significant competition with DSM, BASF and other gearing up in the space. Will you join with your PPA’s?

Solvay Specialty Polymers’ ambition is to leverage its full portfolio of high-performance polymers. At the same time, we work flexibly and pragmatically on new product developments, based on customer demand and technology readiness. PPA’s are currently not in our focus.

Do you believe in Swiss army knife polymers that can be used for a wide array of applications? Or very specific materials?

With over 35 different high-performance polymers in our portfolio, which is the broadest in the market, we firmly believe that there is no “one size fits all” polymer. What you need is a range of AM ready materials able to cover most industry applications. We have that.

Will you be selling resin for 3D Printing direct, through distributors?

We started selling our polymers directly through our eCommerce platform which offers a new experience to both existing Solvay customers and new customers. The great advantage of this site is that behind, you have access to Solvay’s unique materials expertise and application know-how. But we are also working “offline” with our strategic customers and building a network of partners capable of printing our materials to develop new applications and help our customers find the best solution for their needs.

How about SLS powder?

SLS powder is much more specialised especially for higher performance polymers and requires a higher initial investment for the printer. We are currently working closely with some key customers to enter this market.

Are you focusing on FDM, SLS, SLA?

We are focussing mainly on FDM and SLS, but we monitor the market constantly for new technologies.

What future applications are you most excited by?

“The most exciting aspect of Additive Manufacturing, is not being limited to current applications and design. The most exciting applications are still in the minds of the designers and engineers, and it is our goal to help them find the right solution to meet the needs for their applications, whatever the industry.”

What does Solvay want to do in 3D printing?

Our objective is to become a globally leading supplier of customized high performance AM solutions.

What are some polymers that you have that we in 3D printing are not familiar with yet?

So far we have focused on a handful of materials from our portfolio, so we still have a wealth of possibilities to explore, both with aromatic polymers and fluoropolymers, including fluoro-elastomers.

We see some companies moving aggressively into 3D printing, Solvay seems comparatively cautious?

There is indeed a lot of communication around the topic, which some even consider to be a hype. We are working on creating the right foundations and expertise, both internally and externally, to grow our 3D printing capabilities for the long run.

Is there a particular industry that you are focussing on?

We started with PEEK and PPSU because they are polymers which are recognised and used extensively in Healthcare and Aerospace. Both industries have ambitious targets for the adoption of 3D printing in customised or small-series production, so they are obvious initial targets for our offering.

What kinds of companies are you interested in partnering with?

We believe in an open ecosystem approach that allows to combine the best solutions for a given customer or application. Those solutions will not always be the same. This is why we are ready to partner with a large range of players, from leading printer manufacturers – large and small – to specialist software companies such as e-Xstream, we want to work with the best companies to take 3D printing together to the next level. We have even launched an AM Cup, an open innovation competition to tap into the ideas and creativity of some of the brightest students in AM and accelerate our product development cycle – and we were stunned the results, which were excellent.

Why should I as an end user work with Solvay PEEK rather than someone else’s PEEK?

We have worked hard to develop a PEEK filament with superior performance and are already working on NexGen materials. We are also combining our strength with those of our partners in the printer, processing, and design space to allow our end users to print the best possible 3D parts.

PEEK is very difficult to print. Are you doing things to correct this? Or do you think that the industry will solve this with printers?

Materials, hardware & software all need to be optimised to get the best 3D printed part performance. We are working to take PEEK to the next level for demanding AM applications.

Just generally why should people work with you rather than another firm?

Solvay is an innovation powerhouse since 1863. We believe in the power of science and what science can deliver for society. We demonstrate this every day by pushing the limits of high performance polymers to solve some of the planet’s trickiest material challenges, and we do so striving for sustainable solutions. More specifically, we also have the broadest range of high performance materials and work with over 3,000 customers across all industries. This gives us unique capabilities to develop the best possible AM-ready material solutions.

What kinds of end-use customers are you looking for?

Obviously, we want to serve our over 3,000 existing customers with our AM offering. But we also believe in the democratisation of manufacturing thanks to AM. Tomorrow, anyone among the 10s of millions of designers, engineers, or makers across the planet could need a spool of Solvay filament for his or her project. Our eCommerce platform is there to also reach out to all these potential end users.

Melt processable fluoro TPE’s are very interesting materials – could these become 3D printing materials?

“We have our entire portfolio to play with, and we will develop it flexibly and pragmatically. too soon to say.”