While plastic was originally thought to be a substance of wonder–a century ago–these days we realize the drawbacks environmentally as well as chemically in terms of very real issues like the hazards of BPAs. And now, it’s nearly impossible to get the potential toxins out of our lives for even a day.
That doesn’t have to be the case in 3D printing, however. While ABS filament arrived with the advent of 3D printing, nearly as soon as the technology kicked off we began worrying about using too much plastic and all the surrounding issues. While PLA has its more eco-friendly qualities, they are limited, and Saphium Biotechnologies wanted to go beyond that; in fact, they want to revive the love for plastics altogether–with the magical microbes that contain poly-hydroxy-alkanoates.
With PHAbulous Filaments, not only can users 3D print guilt-free, a failed print can land in your backyard and biodegrade there within a mere 60 days, thanks to the pure PHA makeup of the filament. It’s not just able to be put into the compost, either, as the microbes in the PHA will thrive in your garden soil. PHA also biodegrades easily in the ocean.
Created by a whiz team of chemists who met in school in Austria, the startup team has currently been working in research and development regarding natural plastics at IndieBio in Cork, Ireland, where an accelerator program is being offered in the study of synthetic biology.
Promising that this will be one of the very first generations of ‘pure PHA filament’ to arrive in the 3D printing marketplace, Saphium Biotechnologies has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for PHAbulous Filaments to keep working on production of their prototype, with actual production beginning in the next year. In hopes to raise €15,000 (about $16,246 USD) by August 21st, the team is offering a host of interesting and unique rewards.
For a pledge of about €69 (around$75 USD), you will receive one of their life-cycle posters, as well as a tee shirt, and their organic, biodegradable Saphium Biotechnology pen. Starting at the €79 level, those supporting receive one PHAbulous Philaments spool (750g) in a natural color of their choice, as well as the poster and the pen. One of the rewards (at €129) even offers a 3D printed catapult.
As support increases, rewards climb up in value and quantity of filament spools. The team even offers a tour of their premises for a cool €1,999-plus backing, which includes a visit to the CEO’s winery in Austria (travel costs not included). For the grand finale, starting with €4,999 support, they offer something very unique, putting your name into the DNA of their microbes–and then 3D printing the very protein structure of your name. This also includes a tour of the facility, a 3D printing workshop, and a trip to the winery.
At the Austrian facilities the team makes the raw material for the 3D printing filament in large steel enclosures, with hydrogen as the main requirement for their microbes, produced by their collection of photovoltaic plants and the influx of carbon dioxide, which nourishes them. The microbes store PHA when they are stressed, and Saphium Biotechnologies takes advantage of that biological system to optimize production of PHA in perfect form.
“In this process we are decreasing double the amount of carbon dioxide emissions for every kilogram of PHAbulous Philaments produced, which is independent of arable soil,” says the team in their recent press release.
Aside from 3D printing and fertilizing your garden, the natural plastics from Saphium Biotechnologies can also be used as a common packaging material. Made only in natural colors, the filament is:
- Completely ecologically friendly
- Free of poisonous additives – no BPAs
- Fully compostable
- Water resistant and UV stable
- Manufactured in a pollution-free manner
Is this a Kickstarter campaign you are interested in supporting? Discuss this new filament and its all-natural properties in the PHAbulous 3D Printing Filaments forum thread over at 3DPB.com.