As a 3D printing writer, I frequently remind people of the importance of filament development. Why? Because many of us are in agreement that while advances in flexibility or strength are great, for example, we want 3D printing to move in the direction of being ecologically sustainable too. Filament is the stuff that stuff is made of, so it is one very important area for 3D printing to show its commitment to putting more of this stuff back in the ground, ultimately, and less in the overflowing landfills. If you are with me on sustainable 3D printing development, you’ll probably be as excited as I am about this new Kickstarter project: BioInspiration’s flexible, compostable, resilient 3D printer filament.
We took a look at WillowFlex back in July, but now that the Kickstarter campaign is picking up steam, we’re happy to be taking a closer look at this product.
The name of this new organic filament is WillowFlex, and Berlin-based BioInspiration describes it as “a step into the Organic Material Evolution – access to materials and process that follow nature’s lead – compostable, upcyclable, harmless, innovative, resilient.” The base component is an odor-free, non-GMO corn starch that is made into a “compostable elastometric bioplastic.”
It reportedly has a biodegradation level of 90% over 6 months, but certain conditions must be met regarding moisture, microbes, heat and oxygen. What this means is that your 3D printed WillowFlex camping dishware won’t just disintegrate over time; but if you want to “throw” it back to earth — you have that option.
BioInspiration takes its commitment to WillowFlex’s compostability seriously, and it is certified in the EU and the US at Industrial Level Composting. This means that WillowFlex prints won’t decompose as quickly as your own garden compost, but it will eventually. The company has also made the compostability standards and testing of its product available on its website here.
Another feature of the filament is that it is heat resistant, and maintains integrity above 100 C. So you can print a tea cup made from WillowFlex to drink hot tea. It’s also cold resistant, so you can make ice cube trays with it. It’s also very flexible. Flexibility is one of the qualities that BioInspiration describes as the wave of filament future for so many 3D printed items: clothes, shoes, adult toys,dishware, eye glass frames, etc. Why not? Obviously this makes sense for so many 3D printed everyday items. I personally want shoes made from this material!
Imagine the possibilities with this kind of filament! Brian Crotty, CEO and Thorsten Perl, CVO of BioInspiration sure have. The company’s Kickstarter campaign has 15 more days and is just shy of its €8,450 (about $9,152 USD) goal.
$28 USD will get you a 300g spool and $44 a 500g spool of the filament, due to be delivered in October of this year. Also, if you back the project you will have voting rights to choose the last 5 of WillowFlex’s colors — making this filament available in 10 colors overall!
You can support this great idea by going to the Kickstarter page and watching the video to help spread the word. Let us know if you’ve backed this product and your thoughts on the company in the WillowFlex forum thread on 3DPB.com.