3D printing filament is to FFF-based 3D printers as blood is to a mammal’s body. Without the former, the latter can’t survive. Over the course of the past several years, we have seen 3D printer filament go from boring and mundane to exciting, and in some cases, even extravagant. There are now compound materials capable of providing wood-like, metal-like and even carbon fiber traits to objects which are fabricated on our 3D printers. However, there has not yet been a single partnership, occurrence or event that has really moved 3D printing from the past and present into the future. Today that may have just changed.
In what could just be the start of the “Filament 2.0” era, today we learn of a partnership formed between Eastman Chemical Company, taulman 3D and Aleph Objects, to create a new line of 3D printer filament with characteristics that look to advance the quality of products that come off of our printers.
“Collaborations like the one between taulman 3D and Aleph Objects are why Eastman is involved in the 3D printing market,” explained Alex Dudal, market development representative, Eastman Chemical Company. “These two companies are key leaders in this market from a hardware and filament perspective, and collaborating with them allows us to bring Eastman Amphora™ 3D polymer to a broader audience in the right way.”
The new filament, called n-vent, is a material that could be thought of as a middle option between ABS and PLA, or perhaps as Lulzbot reports, “a premium version of HIPS”.
One of the largest issues people have with the 3D printing of precision prototypes and end-use products is the fact that material tends to shrink and warp after it is laid down on the 3D printers bed. This means objects that were supposed to come out in one particular shape and size do not actually come out as so. n-vent looks to solve this issue and so much more.
“Eastman provides quality materials, and their technical and engineering expertise round out a set of features that is ideal for 3D printing material development,” explained Thomas Martzall, owner, taulman 3D. “Because of trends in smaller designs, we’re expecting an increase in multipart designs that need to fit together properly. The reduced shrinkage of this material, along with Eastman Amphora™ 3D polymer’s bonding abilities, will ensure multipart designs accomplish the desired goal.”
n-vent, which is manufactured with the Eastman Amphora 3D polymer, also provides a superior strength when compared to most other filaments on the market today, as well as very low odors when used properly. It will be manufactured by taulman 3D, one of the up-and-coming names within the 3D printer filament space, and sold by Aleph Objects’ LulzBot brand, the manufacturer of the LulzBot TAZ and LulzBot Mini 3D printers. It will be available for purchase in a variety of different colors later this summer.
“At Aleph Objects, our mission is to respect user freedom and offer versatile, cutting-edge technology that allows our community to bring their ideas to life,” said Jeff Moe, president, Aleph Objects. “Based on our in-house testing using LulzBot 3D printers, we are confident that n-vent by taulman 3D, made with Eastman Amphora™ 3D polymer, will rank among the best premium materials on the market.”
Whether or not this is the start of a new era for 3D printer filaments, or if this will be just one more filament in the long line of new and improved 3D printing materials, we are not sure. However, it sure is good to see new materials coming to market from companies who have been very reliable within the 3D printing space. What do you think about the potential that the n-vent filament has? Discuss in the n-vent filament forum thread on 3DPB.com.