Biofila Silk is a distinctive-looking, lignin-based filament developed by a german company TwoBEars. A sample of Biofila, which we got courtesy of get3D, has spent substantial amount of time in our filament closet, waiting to be tested. We are now, however, ready to share some thoughts on it with you.

Ligning is, beside cellulose and hemicellulose, one of the three main components of wood, accounting for 20 to 40% by mass. It is a branched aromatic biopolymer which gives wood its rigidity. Lignin is also a waste material in pulp and paper industry, used as a source of energy, however, there is a growing interest in using it as a raw material for making plastics.

This path was chosen by TwoBEars, who used lignin, PLA, fillers and additives to make a 3D printing filament that is biodegradable – Biofila Silk. It is available in one colour only – glossy white. The filament should be printed at temperature of 175-195°C and bed temperature of 55°C. The material begins decomposing at 215°C. Biofila makers recommend printing on high layers (up to 0.45 mm) and at low speed (20 mm/s). Filament is available in diameters of 1.75, 2.85 i 3 mm. 725 grams costs 49,90 EUR.

Biofila Silk is primely recommended for making decorative objects. No wonder, since its shiny, silky look cannot be mistaken with any other material. Bifocal Silk is great when it comes to printing vases and lamp shades, especially when using the “seamless perimeter” option.

Biofila Silk adheres to the printing bed very well without any extra measures and the filament is generally quite easy to work with. It bridges very well and makes good, smooth surfaces. It is odour-free, though the subtle aroma suggests, that it contains mainly PLA. When printing solid objects, we must take into consideration that with two perimeters only, due to the material transparency, we will be able to see what is inside the model (i.e. infill structures). By using more perimeters, we can avoid that.

While the surface of a vase printed on 0.4 mm layer is somewhat better looking then the star-based vase printed on layer 0.3 mm (both at 190°C i speed of 20 mm/s), in the first case, unfortunately, the layers are not bonded together so well and it is easy to “undo” the print.

It would be very interesting to see this decorative material in different colour options. TwoBEars had already announced new material in the Biofila series some time ago, namely: Terra, Chlorophyll, Vulcano and Cho’c, but they have not been seen yet. At the moment, the only other material available is Biofila Linen, which mimics the appearance of coarse linen.

Adela Walczak
Rapid Prototyping specialist, graduate of Product Design Engineering and Paper Making and Polygraphy, vice champion of Poland in curling.

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