Italian Joint Venture Produces High Quality 3D Printer Filament: Feelcolor

By on December 6th, 2015 in materials

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Some very high-quality 3D printer filament from Feelcolor is raising the quality bar for all 3D printer filament vendors. 

We’ve noticed a number of 3D printing companies recently pop up in Italy, and Feelcolor is one of them. This company produces a number of different 3D printer filaments in several materials, including PLA, ABS, Nylon, PVA, Polystyrene and more. Feel color is a joint venture between Kromabatch and AGP. 

It’s a tough market to get into, with many new entrants each claiming they supply the best 3D printer filament. In that situation, vendors must specialize somehow to distinguish themselves from the others. 

The basic requirement for any current 3D printer filament vendor to compete, however, is physical quality. The filament must be consistently within required dimensions. Feelcolor’s products certainly are, as they use multiple axis lasers to ensure that’s the case, with “five micron accuracy”. That’s 0.005mm, which is a lot better than many filaments we’ve tried recently. 

But their true claim to fame is their colors, which are provided by partner Kromabatch, a long-time maker of manufacturing colors for the plastics market. The result of this collaboration is incredibly consistent and vibrant colors. They specifically measure the “delta e” of the colors, which is a metric devised by the International Commission on Illumination, which essentially is the color “distance” and can be used to compare two colors for consistency. We’re not aware of other filament manufacturers that go to this “extreme precision”, as they put it, to ensure color consistency. The delta e is low enough not to make a difference to the human eye. That is as close to perfect as you could want. 

Feelcolor keeps track of the tolerances and exact colors per batch by means of bar codes, which are recorded in a database. Theoretically, you could look up the color and dimensional quality of a given spool after it’s been printed. You could also order spools with the exact same characteristics, a requirement for ensuring a large set of 3D printed objects are consistent. 

Having a partner being a maker of colors gives Feelcolor an interesting advantage: they can produce “any color desired”, and indeed they do. Here we can see a unique spool containing a mix of two colors. They can provide “many color effects”, and only “small batches are required.” While they could provide colors for other filament manufacturers, they tend to keep the “good colors” for their own products. Currently they’re shipping around 120t of filament per month, and have a minimum order of 200-300kgs. So far, they offer over 90 different colors! 

The company is working on some really intriguing manufacturing methods, such as a “microwave coloring method” that provides an ability to change color on single spool. This is accomplished by engaging with “organics” inserted into the material. They have also developed a biodegradable polypropylene spool. 

They’re also producing hybrid filaments, including the very interesting “Kanova”, which is made from 60% marble powder. They say it’s ideal to produce statues for graveyards, and we can imagine many other uses, too. 

All of their products are said to be food grade, with the coloration approved in both the EU and USA. A special “carbon black” filament has been approved by the US FDA. 

Feelcolor’s product line includes both 1.75 and 2.85mm formats on spools of 250, 750, 1,000 and 2,500g. They’ll even produce other formats and sizes upon request. The product is a bit more expensive than common filaments, but you’ll get the best quality and color. 

Are you a distributor in the USA? You may want to give Feelcolor a call, as they’re looking for ways to market their product in North America. 

Via Feelcolor

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!