Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Formfutura Introduces EasyFil HIPS: Could Specialty Thermoplastic Be Your New Go-To Choice?

ST Medical Devices

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There are a bewildering array of filaments on the market now, and most of them are plastic-based. Some are based on specialty plastics like high impact polystyrene (HIPS), but those tend to be more ‘special occasion’ plastics.

One company is looking to bring the use of a HIPS filament to a more prominent place in the 3D printer’s toolbox. Amsterdam-based Formfutura has just announced their new EasyFil HIPS filament,  and it was officially launched December 10th.

Formfutura-logoEasyFil HIPS is intended to “bring a specialty filament like HIPS to the ordinary.” The newest member of the high-end line of EasyFil filaments, the HIPS type joins the preexisting ABS and PLA varieties. Each filament in the EasyFil line is intended to improve upon traditional formulations to be “easy to print.”

While the EasyFil ABS type features improved strength and impact resistance, the PLA type utilizes an impact modifier to enhance toughness and softness. The new EasyFil HIPS filament follows suit, featuring improvements upon previous HIPS filaments. It’s softer, more flexible and exhibits limited warping characteristics, and it’s designed with thermal stability in mind to ramp up its ease of use. Formfutura’s EasyFil HIPS filament is likely to become a real competitor to ABS and PLA filaments, and it may well become a go-to material choice for 3D printing.

easyfil-hips-poster-small

HIPS is often regarded as a desirable thermoplastic to use in 3D printing, but so far it’s remained less viable than the most often chosen plastic materials, ABS and PLA. With improvements in the EasyFil formulation that allow their filament to be more flexible and softer than previously created HIPS-based materials, Formfutura is hoping to have finally hit the sweet spot. With better flowing behavior among its improved aspects, EasyFil HIPS may just become your new go-to plastic filament.

285mm-easyfil-hips-dark-blueEasyFil HIPS is initially available in five colors, with more to be released in the future. The first availability includes black, white, red, dark blue, and grey colors. The filament is available in both 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm formats, and each 0.75 kg spool costs €28.95.

Printing with these materials offers highly detailed prints that come out with a matte finish. Objects created using EasyFil HIPS can be sanded, primed, and even painted using acrylics after coming out of your 3D printer. Formfutura also points out that using an acetone vapor smoothing treatment will lead to a smooth, shiny finish for your object, and they go so far as to suggest that “Your FFF/FDM 3D printed object will almost look like an injection moulded model.”

EasyFil HIPS filament is intended to be used on FFF or FDM desktop 3D printers, and is compatible with just about any model on the market, 285mm-easyfil-hips-whitefrom MakerBot to RepRap 3D printers. Its recommended settings include best prints at about 235° C, with the heated print bed temperature set to between about  90° and 110° C. Do note that a model printed out in HIPS will remain fairly malleable while it’s still warm on the print bed, so be sure to let it cool before removing it.

Have you used any of Formfutura’s EasyFil filaments? Let us know if you’ve tried EasyFil HIPS and how it works for you. We’re interested to hear how this new thermoplastic measures up! Tell us what you think over at the EasyFil HIPS forum thread at 3DPB.com.

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