When 3D Printing Runs Out of Ink

First off, 3D printing obviously doesn’t use ink. Hence, the race to create the best filament’s in the biz is heating up. Take ColorFabb XT-Copolyester, which is on display right now at the 3D Printshow in London. Printed samples, including a 3D puzzle chair, will demonstrate the filament’s capabilities at the show. Individual pieces of the puzzle chair, printed prior to the show, will be joined together to create a functional chair used in the booth.

3D printing a puzzle

The collaboration between Eastman and Helian, brand owner of colorFabb, began in 2013 with the goal of developing a solution for functional 3D products printed using extrusion-based 3D printing. The companies worked to test materials and formulations, utilizing their expertise in high-performance polymers and 3D printing filaments. Eastman’s history with a broad portfolio of solutions and technical expertise complemented Helian’s innovative work with 3D printers and filaments. The resulting colorFabb XT-Copolyester made with Eastman Amphora 3D polymer focuses on functionality and features strength, workability, processing, aesthetics and low odor for 3D printed products.

“Although fast-growing, extrusion-based desktop printing has yet to see a solution for functional parts. Our collaboration with Helian has allowed us to go beyond prototypes,” said Alex Dudal, market development representative, Eastman Chemical Company. “With Eastman Amphora 3D polymers, parts can be printed with a dimensional stability and functionality for industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, technology, education and retail.”

Eastman Amphora 3D polymers will provide makers of 3D filaments with a consistent, high-quality product. It will empower consumers to create strong, functional 3D products through desktop printing, while ensuring good air quality and dimensional stability with a material that complies with FDA regulations. Looking to the future, Eastman is considering tailoring options — like color and texture — for additional solutions.

Time will surely see an increase in emerging technologies vying for market share in the filament vertical. Personally, we cannot wait for a light refracting filament. Just image what we’ll be 3D printing then!

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