Graphene 3D Labs is developing a new family of 3D printer filaments, the first being one made from graphene.
Graphene, if you don’t know, is a form of carbon. It’s arranged into thin sheets of atomic thickness, yielding some amazing properties, such as strength 100x that of steel (per weight) and the ability to conduct heat and electricity.
The graphene filament is made by adding nanocomposite materials such as graphene to a polymer and forming it into spooled filament. You should note, though, that the graphene is more than likely fragments and does not traverse the length of the filament. Nevertheless, the filament will result in much stronger prints than you’d get from ABS plastic.
That’s not all. Graphene conducts electricity. If you were to print a plastic object using one extruder and had graphene loaded in the second extruder, you’d be able to print objects with primitive embedded circuits. Imagine a light fixture where you could screw in a light bulb – right after printing it.
This could be a big deal, or at least it seems Graphene 3D Labs believes so; they’ve applied for a provisional patent for “graphene-enhanced material”.
Can you purchase this amazing filament? We don’t believe so; it appears they’re still working on it. We’ll be watching for their announcement.