One enormously appealing — and refreshing — element of 3D printing is that there are few rules and no limits. While technically, yes, here and there some copyrighting and legal squabbles have emerged, conceptually it’s still a technology without any innovative or artistic constrictions.
Innovators are creating a multitude of different materials. You don’t have to 3D print solely in plastic. Do you want to print with chocolate or wood, or integrate electronics components into your prototypes? Go for it!
As soon as you think one engineer, designer, or scientist has blown your mind surely at the final edge of this new frontier, someone new comes along with something like Filimprimante3D’s modular 3D prints which make use of the new flexible 3D filament popular in the 3D printing marketplace.
Having one of those ‘hmmmm…what can we do with this?’ experimental moments, the team at Filimprimante3D decided to see exactly what they could do with flexible filament.
The team had been reading up on all the new reports regarding flexible filament, and were thoughtfully watching the ‘small revolution’ unfold as 3D printing enthusiasts began trying it out for numerous new applications within its limitations of allowing twisting and flexing of the material, but then eventually returning back to its original shape.
While the flexible filament has been used for some very useful products like tires and shoe soles, and it’s a lot of fun to play with, the Filimprimante3D team had another mission. They set out to tame flexible filament, bending it to their will, for making modular objects. Fighting the battle against flexible filament’s nature in retaining its shape, the Filimprimante3D team won by inserting a thin wire rod into the middle of the length of the filament, allowing it to bend into shape, but then staying just as they had manipulated it.
In quite a brilliant process, the team prepared the material during design by making a ‘central furrow,’, stopping before reaching the ends of the design. The team then paused the 3D print in the middle, inserted the rod, and then allowed the 3D print to complete, thus enclosing the thin thread of metal inside. This gives structure to the 3D model, constricting some of its flexible and rubbery nature, but not so much that you can’t do exactly what you want it you are looking to guide it into a particular shape.
Filimprimante3D sees their work as being done on their end. They’ve figured out a way for you to 3D print using flexible filament that can retain whatever shape you choose on a different scale and for more complex 3D printed objects as well. They’ve thrown down the gauntlet, makers!
What will you create with this new technique? While they have just created a very simple, linear object, they have shared the design files on Thingiverse, so you also can try your hand at taming and further manipulating flexible filament. Tell us about it in the Filimprimante3D Tames Flexible Filament forum thread over at 3DPB.com.
Filimprimante3D, an online marketplace, is headquartered in France and specializes in selling 3D printing filament for desktop and professional 3D printers.