Diabase Engineering is best known for the Flexion Extruder, which has transformed many an average, low-cost 3D printer into a multi-material, industrial-grade machine. One of the key appeals of the Flexion, as its name suggests, is its ability to print with flexible filament, a task that not many lower-end 3D printers are up to. As Diabase Engineering was founded by the inventor of NinjaFlex filament, the company started off with a pretty solid reputation for flexible materials right off the bat, so when they announce that they’ve developed a brand new flexible filament, you can be pretty sure that it’s going to be of high quality.
The flexible, high-strength X60 filament is the result of a collaboration between Diabase Engineering and MakeShaper, also known for their expertise in flexible 3D printing materials. According to Flexion, X60 is the softest filament on the market, with a 60 Shore A hardness – but it’s also tough, with high tensile strength and abrasion resistance, and over 7x elongation at failure.
“We’ve been pushing our contacts in the filament industry for over a year to release some softer material options,” says Stephen Heston, co-founder of Diabase Engineering. “But they have been reluctant to do so because of the headaches of supporting customers who are unable to run these filaments in their off-the-shelf printers. We now have thousands of Flexion units in the field, and many of our customers have been demanding some better material options. So, we finally decided to create this product ourselves. We guarantee that it will work well with the Flexion Extruder…and that it won’t work with any other commercial extruder.”
It’s the first filament that Diabase has developed; until now, the company has been focused on designing an extruder to work with third-party filaments. The introduction of a Flexion-exclusive filament is an interesting choice, and one that shows that Diabase may be looking to further broaden their commercial scope.
“We see a new market developing in the printing of functional and customized athletic gear,” Heston continues. “Shoes are the obvious example, but especially for outdoor sports products, there are many other areas where we think consumers will see the benefit in designing their own custom modifications to their gear. As design software becomes more accessible and the performance of printed materials continues to improve, this could be a huge growth sector for the industry. Look for some big announcements from us in the coming months related to this direction.”
Diabase Engineering further describes X60 as ideal for “over-molded” parts like handles and robotic grippers, thanks to its ability to bond strongly to other printing materials like ABS and nylon. It’s capable of printing in high detail with print speeds of about 44 mm/s. It’s currently being sold from Diabase’s website in spools of 220 grams for $29 or 650 grams for $79. X60 is available in black and white, but you can feel free to contact Diabase Engineering directly for other color and quantity options. Contact Diabase Engineering here, or follow them on Facebook for further information. Discuss in the X60 forum at 3DPB.com.