“Kanèsis is a reality that searches solutions for a sustainable world, by developing natural materials, with the minimum environmental impact, able to create benefits for all.”
Hemp isn’t just for hippies anymore. And while just the idea of using it might motivate you to break out the patchouli and bake up some homemade granola in your bare feet—if you head over to the 3D printer with some of the famed material today in a new form, you are likely in for a wonderful surprise.
Living in Colorado where hemp plays the stable and sober big brother to partying little sister Mary Jane, I see this as a widely, and quietly, accepted material and its uses are—just as around the rest of the world—lauded. While there’s no stoner buzz included with this particular five-fingered weed, the list of benefits derived from it industrially earn a ‘right on’ all around. Hemp has been in use for many thousands of years by other cultures, mere hundreds in the US, and it has had its controversy in recent years—often due to battles through its connection with marijuana and legalization issues therein.
Hemp is undeniably capable of being a major resource, and it’s definitely the maker’s cannabis. You can’t get high—but you can make a lot of groovy stuff. Rope, lotions, and organic milk aside, with hemp the new industrial revolution may be getting a major hand from a very old acquaintance—and if you can look beyond its controversial connection with marijuana—using it makes perfect sense.
That’s certainly what two young Italian men think. Giovanni Milazzo and Antonio Caruso, the founders of Kanèsis have been working on sowing the seeds of hemp in the fertile ground of the 3D printing industry for some time now. We’ve followed the young company since its inception, and the beginning of their journey to convince the world of the potential for their specialty filament.
Seeing Kanèsis not just as a product but more as an ambitious project, the two Sicilians now have a growing team—and a campaign on Indiegogo. Along with their new crowdfunding program, Kanèsis has also just filed their first patent application for the HempBioPlastic (HBP). The bio-composite material, composed of hemp that has been recycled industrially, is what they propose you start putting in your 3D printer for some great results.
The Kanèsis team hopes to raise a modest $30,000 over the next month.
“This choice allows us to maintain our independence and decision-making autonomy, factors that we do not intend to overlook at this stage of our growth” say Giovanni Milazzo and Antonio Caruso, company founders.
At Indiegogo, backers have the choice to order a 100-gram sample of HPB—or a grinder—for just $10. For those ready to dive in a bit deeper, as well as enjoying early bird discounts, you can look forward to receiving a 700-gram spool of the hemp-based material for $39-$44, depending on how early you order. Prices ascend with volume ordering, and they even have a wholesale package for businesses, priced at $320. Shipping is projected to begin in September.
“We strongly believe in a future where eco-friendly materials can replace those derived from petrochemicals, but every big change comes from the grassroots. This is why we decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign, the real democratic funding. But this is not just about fundraising; we also want to raise awareness on environmental issues” explain Milazzo and Caruso.
They state that HBP has been proven not only to be more aesthetically pleasing (resembling wood), but it performs better mechanically. It comes in natural dark brown and is completely plant-based—meaning you are not worrying about toxins while 3D printing—and there is no environmental impact. (This is important!) And besides the positive ecological factors, HBP has been found to have an advantage over both ABS and PLA. Users will find that it offers greater mechanical strength but is more lightweight too—by nearly 30 percent. It’s flexible, doesn’t break easily—and best of all—it’s affordable.
While their initial focus is in using HBP as a 3D printing filament, the Kanèsis team sees a future for HBP in numerous sectors relying on thermoplastics; in fact, they see infinite options for the material and their natural industrial products. Considering how strong an industrial history hemp has had globally, their ambitions and vision certainly seem well-founded. Currently they see their product being used for agritech, packaging, apparel, and even the automotive sector. Is this a filament you want to try? Discuss in the Kanèsis Hemp 3D Printing Filament forum over at 3DPB.com.