Graphene and 3D printing; the miracle material, and miracle technology, as some within the tech industry will tell you. It’s the convergence of these two technologies which may just prove to be the most exciting, however. While there are several groups researching how to 3D print graphene, there’s one company who seems to be moving forward quite rapidly with an approach which could transform several major industries in the long run.
Calverton, New York-based Graphene 3D Lab Inc. (TSX-V: GGG)(OTCQB: GPHBF) has been developing filaments for FDM/FFF 3D printers for some time now. Although their material is not pure graphene, and thus does not possess all the beneficial properties that such a material would, this filament that Grahene 3D Lab has been working on could certainly play a huge role in numerous markets.
Today, for the first time, the company has officially announced the commercial availability of their conductive graphene filament. This new filament will be distributed through a new e-commerce platform and brand called BlackMagic3D, which is wholly owned by Graphene 3D Lab.
“Graphene 3D is excited to begin offering Conductive Graphene Filament directly to customers and opening new avenues of creation for 3D printer users,” stated Graphene 3D CEO Daniel Stolyarov. “We anticipate a wide variety of applications, including the 3D printing of conductive traces and capacitive touch sensors. We are looking forward to receiving continued feedback from the 3D printing community as we proceed with the development of a wide range of filaments with functional capabilities. This is an important milestone for Graphene 3D Lab, achieving revenue through the commercialization of functional 3D printing materials and in achieving the Company’s goal of building an ecosystem for 3D printing operational devices.”
The new filament being offered is a composite consisting of PLA thermoplastic which has been infused with highly conductive proprietary nano-carbon materials. With potential applications such as 3D printed sensors and conductive traces/circuits, it appears that we may soon see an explosion of growth within the area of 3D printed electronics. In fact, a company called Voxel8 recently launched a 3D printer specifically for the printing of electronics and circuitry.
The new BlackMagic Conductive filament may even work within the Voxel8 machine as well as almost any other FFF/FDM 3D printer which can extrude filament at around 170-175°C and has a heated build platform. Below you will find the general properties of this new filament:
- Volume Resistivity: 1 ohm-cm
- Color: Black
- Diameter: 1.75 mm
- Size: 200 grams
Conductivity isn’t the only real benefit to Graphene 3D’s BlackMagic filament, however. In fact, it offers several key benefits over typical ABS or PLA materials, including the following:
- High Strength Mechanical/Functioning Parts – The filament itself is much stronger than typical ABS or PLA. This makes it perfect for printing objects such as hand-tools, hooks, or parts which require tooling.
- Electromagnetic and Radiofrequency Shielding – Capable of uses within EMI and RF shielding applications, making it perfect for many applications within the telecommunications, medical device, packaging, aerospace, and automotive industries.
- Sensors – High conductivity means that this material is perfect for capacitive sensors used to measure proximity, humidity, position, fluid levels, acceleration and more.
Certainly this is a very exciting time in the materials space within the 3D printing industry, as new composites continue to emerge almost weekly. For those interested in testing this new graphene composite PLA, you may purchase it on the BlackMagic3D website for $65 per 200 gram spool. If you have purchased this filament, feel free to leave feedback and post pictures of some of your prints in the BlackMagic3D Graphene Filament forum thread on 3DPB.com.