A few days ago, I participated as a speaker and moderator at a conference on 3D printing, held inside a very interesting fair on eco-sustainability called “Do the Right Thing” at the FieraMilanoCity Exhibition hall in Milan. Among the other speakers that I was to introduce was Edoardo Thomas Longoni from a filament manufacturer and distributor called TreeD.
I had seen their name before; however, I had not analyzed their product line, imagining that they were just another re-seller of basic PLA and ABS filaments. Instead, after speaking briefly with Edoardo and seeing some of the 3D printed products he had brought along, I realized that I was very wrong. TreeD makes a number of exotic filaments, mostly by mixing powders with PLA and other plastics, leveraging their experience as a spinoff of a large plastic manufacturing company called SA2P Xtrusionplastics.
“We design filaments specifically for architecture, industrial designm and the arts,” Edoardo explained. “Our philosophy is to produce filaments of the highest possible quality and we combine every formulation with certified polymers, in order to guarantee the uncompromising repeatability of the final result.”
This resulted in a vast line up of materials that includes several exotic colors of Ecogenius PLA and Performance ABS, as well as a particular type of Styron HIPS, which the TreeD team modified in order to obtain a material that does not release odors while being extruded and that is pleasant to the touch (as well as soluble in lemonene). Another material in their Technical range is Byomide, with igroscopy reduced to below 0.8% and an excellent mechanical resistance.
The most interesting materials are those which combine minerals with polymers. At TreeD, these include a vast range of options, starting with Caementum, a particular filament which gives the appearance of cement to the objects printed with it. Similarly, two other filaments called Dark Stone and Monumental give objects the appearance of being made of either black or white stone, thanks to the careful balancing of different types of marble from Italy and France.
Other options include: Heritage Brick, which has a reddish brick-like appearance specifically for creating accurate architectural models, and Sandy, a filament developed through the integration of sand particles. Finally, TreeD also offers a whole range of TPU- and TPE-based flexible filaments. The UltraFleXX TPE-based filament, in particular, can assure a high level of shape retention.
“Our commitment goes beyond filaments,” Edoardo said. “We pay close attention to the energy, water, and materials we consume. Even if it takes twice as long to roll, we chose recycled cardboard for our spools because we we think that our future depends on these choices, too. Now, both the box and the reel are 100% recyclable. We value environmental respect, and we look for it in our suppliers. All the raw materials we use come from eco-friendly producers.” So, in a way, TreeD filament does grow on trees.