SKILCRAFT, the 75-year-old brand name and manufacturer of products largely created by people with visual impairments or physical disabilities, has launched its newest range of products: a line of 3D printing filaments. The SKILCRAFT 3D line, as its called, is dedicated to the U.S. federal government and is aimed at supporting the government’s increasing use of additive manufacturing technologies.
The new SKILCRAFT 3D filaments are not actually manufactured by the company, rather it has chosen to select and qualify what it believes to be the best material for each filament it is offering. So far, it has qualified and will be supplying PLA Pro, ABS Pro and Nylon Pro. All its current and future materials are made in the U.S., says the company.
“Some filament manufacturers are really good at one type of material, but not others,” explaned SKILCRAFT 3D Principal David Beschen. “By employing this ‘publisher’ model with filament, our customers can be assured that they will always get the superior option—regardless of which type of material they use. Besides, using inferior filaments has been shown to be much costlier in the long run and far outweigh any savings on purchase price.”
In addition to the three aforementioned materials, SKILCRAFT 3D is also supplying a water-soluble support filament and is preparing to launch its first specialty product: an FDA-compliant Polyamide Polyolefin and Cellulose (PAPC) bioprinting material. All the company’s 3D printing material are available through GSA Advantage, the government’s online purchasing service.
Notably, and in line with SKILCRAFT’s production ethos and its AbilityOne certification, all its filaments and subsequent 3D printing accessories will be packaged, assembled and shipped out by a National Industries for the Blind (NIB) affiliate.
SKILCRAFT 3D’s first products were recently introduced at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Technology Expo in Ohio. In addition to its new filament offering, the company also showcased its Evaluator program for the first time. This program, as the company explains, was set up to invite government makers and technicians who utilize 3D printing to test and provide valuable feedback on its 3D printing products. Participants in the Evaluator program will get the chance to test out SKILCRAFT 3D products before their launch.
Though SKILCRAFT 3D did make its initial announcement about its new line of 3D printing materials, the company is reportedly also planning a full launch later this month, which will include even more AM products as well as a roadmap of SKILCRAFT 3D’s goals, future projects and outlooks.