3D printing filaments are not only popular thermoplastics. I’ve got a feeling that the number of filaments is enormous and unlimited. You can print from hemp, used tires, glass fibre… A company Proto-Pasta proves that there are a few things which can’t be used in 3D printing.
What is interesting in their offer?
Magnetic Iron PLA – it’s a surprising ferromagnetic material. Your model looks and “behaves” like it was made from metal, but it’s just a normal PLA. Encapsulated in plastic, the iron maintains a stable matte, cast metal finish as printed, but can be rusted when desired. What’s more… it can rust.
It is more thermally conductive than standard plastic and it prints easily like PLA with less nozzle wear than steel or carbon fibre. Processing is comparable to standard PLA. Process may be less consistent on smaller nozzles and/or Bowden type machines. The manufacturer suggest to use 0.6 mm nozzle and to set a temperature of 190-210C (standard PLA or a bit cooler) for the best experience.
Stainless Steel PLA – it is the next plastic, which doesn’t behave like a material of this kind. A model printed from it is heavy and it is hard to differ it from a standard steel. It can can be brushed, sanded, or polished post-print to achieve amazing results. What’s the best to do it? – A recommended Polishing Statrer Kit, which you can find in the offer of Proto-Pasta.
The material is similar to Magnetic Iron PLA – it is denser from PLA and it is fragile. It is also better to use 0.6 mm nozzle, when you print from Stainless Steel PLA.
Conductive PLA – a filament for special tasks and a friend of electricians – irresistible in printing of electric circuits. It prints easily and unfailingly. How conductive is it? – A volume resistivity of 3D printed parts perpendicular to layers amounts 30 ohm-cm and a volume resistivity of 3D printed parts through layers (along Z axis) is 115 ohm-cm.
High Performance HTPLA it is high performance material which prints easily. It is not as “demanding” as ABS or PET. It doesn’t require a heated working bed, it is more resistant for high temperatures and is more durable. It has a theoretical heat deflection temperature of more than 140°C after heat treating though in our experience 120°C or more was practically attained. This means HTPLA parts maintain strength and form to much higher temperatures than PLA, ABS, or polyesters like PET which loose structure as soon as 55°C and by 100°C.
High Temp CARBON FIBER PLA is a filament which became popular thanks to its Kickstarter campaign. It is durable and light because of glass fibres used to manufacture it. It is easier to print in comparison to ABS or PET, it doesn’t require a heated bed and 3D prints made with it are more resistant. It prints easily and can be heat treated for higher temperature performance with a potential heat deflection temperature in excess of 140°C depending on processing. According to the manufacturer it had good results when heat treating in an oven at 110°C for an hour. Remember, that parts must be baked above 60°C for any crystallization to occur.
Carbon Fiber is somewhat abrasive, so consider upgrading to a wear resistant nozzle for less regular maintenance.
All of the above mentioned materials don’t require a heated bed and their temperature of printing it’s equal with a temperature of traditional PLA.