M3D, makers of the very popular Micro 3D printer, have released two new filaments with excellent printing properties.
The two new filaments hope to overcome commonly encountered problems during print operations: strength, bonding and warping.
The first new filament is called “Tough 3D Ink™”, and it seems to be a replacement for PLA. Although printing PLA produces some minor odors, Tough 3D Ink is completely odorless and does not warp at all.
Tough 3D Ink is also printed at a higher temperature, meaning it has significantly better heat properties than PLA. PLA’s melting points are low enough that you’ll get saggy objects if you leave them on a car dashboard in summer. This is not the case with Tough 3D Ink, which they say can “withstanding boiling water”. It’s also quite a bit stronger than PLA, too.
They also say this:
When used with the Micro 3D printer, Tough 3D Ink™ can enable up to 400% increase in print speed.
Now that’s quite interesting. A 4X speed up is very significant, and we’re going to have to ask them how this is accomplished.
The other material released is ABS-R; as you might imagine, it’s a replacement for ABS plastic, which is often challenging to print because of its significant warping and dizzying odors. ABS-R has “lower” warp (but apparently not zero) and doesn’t require a heated print surface. Printed objects are somewhat softer to touch than PLA, which is known for its rigidity. M3D also claims the ABS-R plastic has better bonding than ABS.
M3D hopes to release the new filaments very early this year and also says they will become the new “core materials” for their 3D printers.
We think this is a very good idea. ABS and PLA became the defacto standard plastics for desktop 3D printers simply because they sort-of worked and were generally available. But they’re definitely not perfect and now we see companies like M3D introducing their own plastics that are specifically designed for 3D printing.
In other words, better plastics equals better 3D printing.