3D printing filament company ColorFabb has presented its newest material release: LW-PLA. The light weight filament—the first of its kind—uses a novel active foaming technology to achieve low density, light PLA 3D printed parts.
According to the company, the new filament will begin to “foam” at around 230°C, increasing its volume by nearly three times. This allows users to decrease material flow by roughly 65% resulting in more lightweight parts. The foaming technology also makes it possible for users to reduce print times by using bigger layer heights or single extra-thick perimeters.
Using the expanding PLA filament does require some instruction, however. As ColorFabb explains, a certain amount of energy is needed for the filament to expand and this energy can be absorbed by the filament as it passes through the hot-zone. The amount of energy it can absorb is dependent on the length of the hot-zone and how long it takes the filament to pass through the hot-zone; the longer the filament remains in the hot-end, the more energy it will absorb, increasing the potential expansion.
In developing the material, the filament company had to consider that certain printing parameters, such as nozzle size and layer height, were fixed, while others could be changed to process LW-PLA. Essentially, the filament’s expansion can be changed by adjusting the temperature, speed and flow of the print process.
The specialized material, which can be used for various applications where lightweighting is beneficial, was developed under the new ColorFabb Labs program, which is dedicated to creating new and innovative 3D printing materials for FDM/FFF technologies.
The new 3D printing filament is available in two colours: black and neutral and is sold by ColorFabb for €44.95 (including VAT) per 750 g spool. The filament manufacturer is also offering a 10% discount on the new product until April 15, 2019.