3D-Fuel led the 3D printing community with some unique products that have experienced quite a following over the years. We receive numerous questions about these products - this aims to answer most of those questions.
Our composite materials made with coffee, beer, hemp and fiberglass are made of over 90% sustainable PLA plastic and a smaller percentage of the recycled product from the material they contain.
They have two primary purposes:
- To utilize byproducts that would otherwise be placed in landfills, and
- To create unique and interesting filaments with which to print beautiful items.
Note: they are not intended to be more biodegradable or better for the environment.
As they are mostly PLA, they are compostable in an industrial compost environment, will eventually biodegrade (won't last forever like petroleum-based plastics), and are made from plants.
These composite filaments contain less than 10% of the material combined with the PLA. So, they are not highly concentrated. For example, some ask if the Hemp material (Entwined™) is stronger due to having hemp from industrial hemp in it. The answer is “no.” The materials involved have to be smaller than about 100 microns (0.1mm) in order to fit easily through the nozzle of the 3D printer and not cause a clog. (The average nozzle diameter is 0.4mm.) So, the content rarely helps with strength or other features.
The exception to this is the fiberglass or glass-filled material. It does show additional strength and impact resistance.
During 2022 we began to have an issue with the availability of the raw material to make these products. It’s not the materials themselves, but rather the availability of the pre-mixed material that we use to make filament. As a result, as of this time, we have discontinued these products. If there are any spools available on our website, they will be the last available for some time.