Quite imperceptibly, the topic of environmental protection and the conscious use of goods has entered virtually all spheres of our lives. Knowledge about the impact of growing consumption at an alarming rate on our environment has started to have a real influence on the market and cause nervous reactions even among the CEOs of the world’s largest corporations. The wind of pro-ecological changes has already blown into the 3D printing industry some time ago, which increasingly presents solutions that are to be environmentally friendly. One of the representatives of this trend is filaments manufacturer ROSA3D, who last autumn presented a new – supposedly completely biodegradable filament for 3D printers called BioCreate.

In mid-January this year we received several spools of this filament for testing. For now, we’ve done only a dozen or so relatively small and not very problematic prints, but we thought it was a good time to try at least partly to present the specifics and properties of the material. We conducted tests on BCN3D Sigma R19, where we have had the opportunity to work and describe the effects on the portal for several months. The 3D printer has been made available to us by Global 3D – an authorized distributor of BCN3D devices in Poland.

ROSA3D presented its material in November at the Formnext 2019 fair in Frankfurt am Main. The filament is made of a biopolymer consisting of 100% natural and renewable raw materials. It degrades in the natural environment under anaerobic conditions – i.e. in a composter. If we abandon it outside, it should also decompose, however, this process will take incomparably longer (still less than PLA prints which decompose in a few hundred years).

I decided to test it. To do so, I printed four busts of Kratos from “God of War”: two of them were put in a filament box and locked in a cabinet, one was put outside the window of our office building, and the last one was put in my first “composter”. It consists of a simple plastic box, which I filled with wet and used Yerba Matte. According to the information obtained from the manufacturer, I did not do it according to the art, but I will try to check whether and what effects it will bring?

The professional procedure for composting 3D prints with BioCreate is as follows:

  • first you need to create compost that must enter the putrefactive stage and produce natural bacteria
  • we only put 3D prints into the ready composter
  • decomposition time is about 12 weeks; in summer at high temperatures the time should be shorter.

The material occurs only in white – as we have unofficially found out, its dyeing can affect biodegradable properties and until the manufacturer is 100% sure of this process, will not offer other color options. Although “only white”, BioCreate has a fantastic, velvet surface, which I meet for the first time – looking at it you can get the impression that the material is soft and plastic to the touch, although this is only an illusion caused by its texture.

Certainly it is not “ordinary plastic” – BioCreate has quite interesting properties that we will try to test in subsequent articles. On one hand, the material is printed as normal PLA – the temperature range closes in the range from 210°C to 240°C (and a heated table in the range of 60°C – 80°C), so between PLA and ABS settings. On the other hand, after printing, it should have a temperature resistance of up to 120°C, i.e. not only will it withstand bathing in a dishwasher, prints theoretically made of it can be boiled. I’ll check it out further…

The manufacturer also claims that the filament has a very low shrinkage – in some cases I had a problem with this, but after consultation I learned that maybe I was printing details at too low temperature: 210-220°C, while better results are achieved at 230°C (+/- 5°C). I will also check this further.

Now it is the time, when I should write something about details of printing the material on Sigma R19, but… I don’t really have what? As I have mentioned many times, the 3D printer of the Spanish manufacturer is advertised as a great device for working with filaments of different suppliers, with different specifications and in the case of BioCreate it has been fully confirmed. As I mentioned, I made prints on the default profile for PLA and the only problem I encountered were single cracks in one of the details, what could be associated with too low a temperature?

Printouts were made in both single and duplication modes. In each case, everything came out as expected. We will be back soon with more information about tests carried out with BioCreate.

Paweł Ślusarczyk
CEO of 3D Printing Center. Has over 15 years' experience in buisiness, gained in IT, advertising and polygraphy. Part of 3D printing industry since 2013.

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