This is interesting: a reinforced PLA material using glass fiber.
Philament, a Hungarian company producing a wide range of interesting 3D printer filaments, introduced a glass-fiber reinforced PLA filament.
I think this is interested because most of the time you see higher-end engineering materials make use of reinforcing materials such as glass or carbon fiber, but not PLA. PLA is not the greatest engineering material due to its brittleness and low temperature resistance. But it prints very well, so anyone not concerned with those engineering characteristics simply 3D prints it.
But in order to gain access to the higher-end materials you typically need a higher-end desktop 3D printer that’s capable of 3D printing materials at higher temperatures. Some of these engineering materials are quite “warpy” and also require an enclosed and possibly heated build chamber for successful printing.
If you’re stuck with a 3D printer that prints only PLA, and there are a great many of you out there, you are locked out of these unusual materials.
But now there is an option: Philament introduced a glass fiber reinforced PLA filament that should make for stronger prints. They explain:
With glass fiber reinforcement the new filament has comparable to engineering plastics properties, so it is suitable for printing durable and semi-durable appliances. It is ideal to print lightweight parts also, that are excellent for metal replacement. Specifically, the new filament is a low-warp product.
That’s correct: you print this stuff in just the same way you’d print any PLA, so you don’t need to do anything special.
Another interesting property of this material is that it has a very attractive finish that provides a bit of shine to your print. It should be quite good for 3D printing delicate structures, especially artwork.
You can obtain a 750g spool of “Philament Glass Reinforced” for €38 (USD$44) from their website.