When the topic of graphene materials comes up, most people’s minds immediately go to Graphene 3D Lab. They’ve been responsible for some of the most interesting and unique materials we’ve seen so far, after all – like conductive graphene filament, graphene foam, and more graphene foam. They’re not the only company working with the material, though, and we may be hearing a lot more in the near future from a British composite materials company that’s lately been zeroing in on graphene.
Haydale Composite Solutions, a subsidiary of multinational corporation Haydale, is about to release their first 3D printing material – a graphene-enhanced PLA filament. They’ll be officially launching it next month at the TCT Show taking place September 28-29 in Birmingham. It will be available in both 1.75 and 2.85 mm diameters, though a price hasn’t been announced yet.
“I am delighted with this sales initiative which represents another step forward for Haydale as we seek to commercially exploit the potential for graphene and other nanomaterials,” said Ray Gibbs, Haydale CEO. “The trials undertaken provided excellent results and that gives us confidence we have a ready-made product for this rapidly growing world-wide market. While we have chosen thermoplastic materials as the first product suite, we know from our relationship with WCPC (the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating) that they have 3D printed with a range of novel materials from chocolate and collagen to concrete! Building on this expertise we see additive manufacturing using our nano materials included as another potential area for future sales.”
Several 3D printing companies have tested the materials, and feedback has been positive: reviewers have commented on the material’s print speed, quality and finish, as well as great first layer adhesion, Z axis strength retention, and dimensional accuracy. It’s strong, stiff, and easy to use, plus it’s compatible with a wide range of printers.
“We are very excited about the development of graphene enhanced thermoplastic materials for 3D printing,” said Gerry Boyce, managing director of Haydale Composite Solutions. “These new materials offer so many benefits including the ability to make parts stiffer, stronger and faster! Speed of print has historically been a barrier to wide scale take up of 3D printing. In the future, the thought of making structural components direct from CAD excites us enormously.”
Haydale will be releasing the material in collaboration with their sales agent Fullerex, along with fellow UK company Filamentprint. All three companies will be onsite at the TCT show to discuss graphene’s benefits and applications, and print demonstrations of the graphene PLA will be given. Pricing information and data sheets will also be available.
This is the first commercially available graphene filament for both Haydale and Filamentprint, but the companies are continuing to collaborate on the development of additional materials, including graphene-enhanced ABS, nylon and polypropylene.
“We are unashamed nano-technology enthusiasts,” said Clive Wilcox, managing director of Filamentprint. “Our thinking incorporates that of both the major industrialists through to the hobbyists. Our collaboration with Haydale and Fullerex is the next logical step in the developmental process to enable us to provide bespoke solutions for our clients’ requirements.”
TCT Show attendees will be able to talk to representatives about customized graphene materials for particular product applications, while learning about the material’s thermal, electrical, mechanical and physical properties. Samples of the filament will also be available. Although graphene has been excitedly talked about as a new “wonder material” lately, its potential is still unfamiliar to many, and the three collaborators are hoping to change that at TCT and beyond.
“Significant improvements in conventional materials are needed to move FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling} 3D printers beyond making prototypes or display models and into a capable technology for rapidly manufacturing mechanically robust, functional parts,” said Joe Eldridge, Director of Fullerex. “Haydale’s ability to engineer graphene to properly exploit its desirable properties has been a vital prerequisite to bridge this gap. This filament is easy to use and has broad compatibility, so is an exciting option regardless of whether you are a hobbyist or an industrial manufacturer.”
Discuss further over in the Graphene Enhanced PLA 3D Printing Filament forum at 3DPB.com.