When considering a viable 3D printing related business, consensus is that “consumable” will be a key focus of a successful venture. That probably comes from looking at the 2D printing current business model, based on low cost printers and expensive (high margin) ink cartridges. So, when someone decides to enter the consumer/prosumer 3D printing sector with consumables in mind, one of the first things they are likely set their mind to is to figure out a way to develop a material that is both more affordable (perhaps by producing it directly) and more qualitative.
3D PrintLife, an online US filament and 3D printer retailer, is trying to achieve both in one shot by signing a partnership with Sierra Resins, a leading producer of bioplastics, that is to say, plastics that are highly recyclable and easily break down in most landfill environments. The two companies will now work to introduce an ABS based biofilament that will offer both high-quality 3D prints of standard ABS plastics without sacrificing environmental sustainability. Work is well underway, apparently.
The leading candidate material chosen to become biofilament is currently being used in film applications and injection-moulded products. “Processability, smoothness, and adherence to tolerances were good,” according to John Tersigni, President and CEO of Sierra Resins. “We’re now going to submit this particular grade of 3D biofilament to an independent ASTM certified biodegradability testing laboratory. We’re happy about the initial results, so it’s a good sign.”
For Buzz Baldwin, 3D Printlife Co-founder, it is a way to give customers more options. “We are extremely excited about delivering a biofilament to our customers – he said – something that can perform like any other high quality plastic. Some filament plastics have been criticized for their potential negative impact to the environment. A line of biofilaments will make a valuable contribution to sustainable development in 3D printing and with the expertise of Sierra Resins we feel we have the best possible partner to bring a viable biofilament to the consumer.”
Take a look at the video below to find out more: