Japanese plastics company Polysis unveiled a peculiar plastic that we think could be of interest to 3D printing.
Their invention is called “haplafreely” and the interesting property is that it becomes malleable when heated and remains so until it returns to room temperature. You need only heat the plastic to 60C, meaning you can actually drop this stuff in a cup of coffee to cause it to become flexible.
We can imagine 3D printing haplafreely filament into shapes designed to become flexible if heated. Imagine a cover plate intended for irregular surfaces: print one and when placed on top of the object to be covered, merely heat it to match the surface perfectly.
The other interesting factor is the melt temperature. This would be very easily 3D printed at lower temperatures, but at the same time would limit the usage of printed objects. You could not use haplafreely prints in higher temperature environments, obviously.
But as a peculiar addition to the 3D printing toolkit, it could be useful for niche applications.