Considering how quickly 3D printing technology and materials are changing and evolving, it’s easy to take products at their face value and not consider their uses for other applications. Flexible filament has been around for quite some time now, and it’s been used for everything from miniature car tires to iPhone bumpers. Now, French 3D printing supplier Filiprimante3D has come up with a creative new use for it! Instead of printing a flexible object that will return back to its original shape after being deformed, their team set out to create an object that could be flexed and retain a new shape.
The goal was achieved by embedding a thin metal rod inside of the flexible filament. To demonstrate the principle, Filiprimante created an STL file with a hollow channel in the middle for the metal rod. Once the hollow channel is fully printed, be sure to either manually pause the print, or insert a pause command into the G-code that allows you to insert the metal rod into the channel before finishing the print. Let the machine start printing again and, voilá, a bendable 3D print.
The STL file has been uploaded to Thingiverse, so you can experiment with this cool new use for flexible filament. The possibilities are endless!