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3D Printing News Briefs, May 26, 2022: Filaments & Ink, Cultural Artifacts, & More

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In 3D Printing News Briefs today, we’ll be sharing some material news, followed by a new 3D printing-focused product line, and finally onto cultural heritage. First, Braskem has released three new sustainable 3D printing filaments, and Mapei Corp. branded and released a cement-based 3D printing ink with partner Black Buffalo. Nippon Gases has a new AM-focused gas product line. Finally, 3D printing is being used to help return cultural artifacts to a southern Alaska tribe.

Braskem’s First Sustainable 3D Printing Filament Lineup

Recycled Polyolefin Filament with Carbon Fiber

Biopolymer producer Braskem released a line of new sustainable 3D printing filament products, all three of which were displayed at last week’s RAPID + TCT in Detroit. According to Jason Vagnozzi, the company’s Global Commercial Director of Additive Manufacturing, these new filaments confirm Braskem’s “commitment to a more circular, carbon neutral future.” All three come in diameters of 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm. The first of these three new materials is FL600EVA-BIO, a bio-based ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) filament that’s derived from raw sugarcane and can be used to print flexible, lightweight parts for consumer, packaging, and industrial applications. It features 94 Shore A hardness, low density and warpage, excellent surface finish and bed adhesion, and high dimensional stability.

FL600R is a recycled, environmentally-friendly polyolefin filament that’s mainly sourced from recycled bottle caps, but has the same low density and high resistance to chemicals, impact, and water that virgin polyethylene and polypropylene-based materials offer. The lightweight, recycled PE/PP blend features high ductility and dimensional stability, low warpage and great surface finish, and is compatible with Creality, Ultimaker, and other similar AM equipment. It also offers great bed adhesion, and can be used for rapid prototyping and mass customization, in addition to automotive, packaging, consumer, and industrial applications. Finally, the engineering-grade FL605R-CF polymer, also consisting mainly of recycled bottle caps, is an environmentally-friendly PE/PP blend that offers extra strength and durability thanks to recycled carbon fiber. With its high strength and stiffness, this filament features high dimensional stability and surface finish, low density and warpage, and high chemical resistance, and is good for designing rigid, lightweight parts.

Mapei & Black Buffalo Release Cement-Based 3D Printing Ink/Mortar

3D construction company Black Buffalo 3D and admixture supplier Mapei Corp. recently formed a strategic research, development, and manufacturing partnership, and as a result, have branded and released a packaged, cement-based ink/mortar for 3D construction printing together. Part of Mapei’s Planitop product line, the new Planitop 3D meets acceptance criteria of the ICC-ES AC509 – 3D Automated Construction Technology for 3D Concrete Walls standard, and its fresh and cured properties were tested by Black Buffalo’s Nexcon printers, which fabricated demonstration structures during 13-hour cycles. The material launch comes soon after the announcement of a major project, as additive construction company Alquist 3D will use a Nexcon printer and the new Planitop 3D ink to create a 200-unit housing community in Virginia.

“[Our] team recognized the need for standardization in materials to drive the next phase of growth in the 3D construction industry. Mapei was able to enhance the formula our team developed and take it to the next level, outclassing every product on the market. [Planitop 3D]  makes printing homes, buildings and infrastructure financially feasible on nearly every level,” said Michael Woods, CEO of Black Buffalo 3D parent company Big Sun Holdings.

Nippon Gases Offering AM-Focused Gas Product Line

Nippon Gases’ 3DPro product offering

Leading industrial and medical gas company Nippon Gases has introduced a new gas and equipment line for the AM industry through its 3DPro family of products. This new line is critically important for large batch part production, as companies can lose a lot of money if an entire build is ruined due to powder impurities. The new 3DPro Gas Line includes nitrogen, which is often used in PBF processes; argon; helium for EBM printing; and the Sanarc H3 mixture, which is required for binder jet and bound metal extrusion processes during post-print sintering. The 3DPro Dry Gas Tube offers three-layer protection—combining heat resistance, durability, and toughness—from air impurities, while 3DPro Link helps with the control management of gasses. The 3DPro Purifier consists of absorbent cartridges that retain pollutants and are installed in the machine gas inlet to prevent contamination in the distribution line. The 3DPro Cabinet helps protect and preserve metal powder from atmospheric contamination by getting rid of moisture and oxygen, and the 3DPro Recirc for PBF printing is a recirculation purification system that gets rid of laser-generated impurities.

“3D printing is a multilayer process and if, during this process, the surface oxidizes, then it remains strapped in the product,” Nippon Gases explained in its new 3DPro-dedicated website. “It is precisely for this reason, that these two pollutants must be reduced as much as possible since there is no chance to repair damages, which translates into product loss.”

3D Printed Replicas of Culturally Sensitive Tribal Artifacts

L-R: A 3D printed model of a Tlingit frog clan helmet created by the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center sits next to the real Tlingit helmet. (Courtesy of the University of Maine)

Finally, a team of artists and engineers from the University of Maine, along with the on-campus Hudson Museum, are creating and refining a 3D printed display replica of a cultural artifact—specifically the Tlingit Frog Clan Helmet—so the original can be returned to the Tlingit tribe in southern Alaska. The tribe’s central council filed a request for repatriation of the helmet, and seven other donated objects, and museum director Gretchen Faulkner worked with the Tlingit to gain approval for 3D printing the replica. Alex Cole and Jonathan Roy, research engineers at UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, have prior experience fabricating cultural objects, and scanned the original helmet to print a replica, complete with “all of its little flaws and details.” Later this summer, the Hudson Museum will hold a temporary exhibit that showcases how the 3D printed replica was created, and, after returning the original helmet, hopefully work to create replicas of the other Tlingit artifacts.

“We work very closely with Native American communities, and these objects are integral to their cultural practices. So it’s reconnecting these communities with their cultural traditions and cultural objects made by their ancestors,” Faulkner explained.

“The return of these objects has brought healing to their communities and reconnected them to their past.”

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