What’s With The Silk Filaments?

, What’s With The Silk Filaments?
Some pretty shiny 3D printer filament prints [Source: Fiberlogy]

I keep hearing more about these so-called “Silk” filaments. 

The first time I heard the term was a few years ago when receiving a list of filament products from an anonymous Asian plastics manufacturer. At the time I initially thought this was one of those translation errors where the English words don’t quite match what was being described. 

No filaments are literally made from silk, although just thinking about that concept, it may be something worthy of investigation as a reinforcing material. “Silk” does not literally mean “silk”. It seems to mean “shiny”, which is of course the appearance of silk fabric, hence the use of the term. It’s also slightly translucent. Really, it’s usually just a special mix of PLA material with certain additives, and can be 3D printed in much the same way as normal PLA.

Occasionally I encounter a 3D print made from “silk” filaments, and they are indeed quite shiny. But lately there seems to be “extra silk” in some of the shiny filaments used. 

Take, for example, this startling 3D print made by Reddit contributor 3dlyx of the “Dice Tower”:

, What’s With The Silk Filaments?
Incredibly shiny gold 3D print made with “silk” material [Source: Reddit]

It is so shiny it seems to be wrapped in gold foil. He says: 

“That moment when you realize that the plain print is just too beautiful to be painted.”

And he’s correct. Here’s a timelapse video of this particular 3D print job:

Now it seems that in addition to Asian suppliers, we have a European filament manufacturer offering “silk” filaments: Poland-based Fiberlogy has introduced a line of materials they call “FIBERSILK METALLIC”, and the print samples are astonishing. 

, What’s With The Silk Filaments?
3D print sample made from FIBERSILK METALLIC filament [Source: Fiberlogy]

They explain the new materials:

“Fiberlogy’s FIBERSILK METALLIC offers a unique elegance of the printouts created with it. They are characterized by a silky metallic shine that brings out every smallest detail of a 3D model with all its bends and curves. Its aesthetic value is further enhanced by a rich palette of available colours. Fiberlogy have come up with a wide selection of vibrant colours for every user to find something that suits them just fine. The metallic finish makes it easy to hide the boundaries between layers making the entire print more uniform and expressive.”

And: 

“In addition to the visual advantage over traditional PLA, FIBERSILK METALLIC is also more durable. Thanks to the high adhesion of layers it can take heavy loads without cracking and then returns to its original shape. The filament is both easy and safe to print.”

I’ve tried Fiberlogy filaments in the past and found them to be of exceptional quality. Even better, the company is one of the few that experiments with more unusual products, and it seems they are doing the same with the new silk products.

Fiberlogy says they will offer this material in no less than ten different colors, and expect to add more soon. The material will be on sale this month. 

Pricing will vary for the FIBERSILK METALLIC material, as sold through their extensive network of distributors. However, we’re told the price should be near €30 (US$32.50). Fiberlogy currently have several dozen distributors across Europe, but only one in North America, Ohio-based Wolfworks 3D

Via Fiberlogy

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