There’s really no shortage of filament options in the world of 3D printing. There’s conventional PLA and ABS, as well as more exotic options, such as wood and metal.
However, Kai Parthy wants to give you yet one more option, and this one is pretty different. It’s designed to reflect light in the dark (not glow in the dark).
The New REFLECT-o-LAY 3D Filament
The new filament will be called REFLECT-o-LAY, and the name really does say it all. It’s designed to be super reflective, even in near total darkness.
You’ve seen these capabilities before, just not in 3D printing filaments. Think of the way that stop signs and other road signs reflect light at night, or how bike reflectors work.
You might not know the name Kai Parthy, but chances are good that you know his products. He’s had his hand in a very wide range of different, innovative 3D filament types, including:
- LAYWOOD FLEX
REFLECT-o-LAY will be Kai’s newest filament, and it’s just now leaving the development stage. The filament looks like a standard gray color under normal lighting conditions.
However, cut the lights off and shine a light on them and they turn bright white/silver. This makes the new filament a perfect option for any number of different things, particularly wearable designs like patches and safety features.
With that being said, it can also be used to create wearable items, and it can be used to create laser reflective positioning gear, like the kind used to measure distances.
Kai explains his creation as, “The filament if flexible and filled with millions of reflective pigments. These pigments occur as little dots out of the outer face of the filament and of course, after printing.
They send income light back. In a darkened room, you will be totally surprised by this effect. This retro-reflective effect you know from traffic sign foils, reflective vests, screen printing colors and reflective spray paint.”
The only real drawback here is that Kai’s REFLECT-o-LAY filament isn’t available yet, nor will it be out anytime soon. He’s currently waiting on his patent to be granted, and then he’ll be inking deals with manufacturers.
There’s a lot of speculation that it will be used in large quantities in the automotive manufacturing segment, but Kai has plans to work with a wide range of industries, including fashion designers. Eventually, he will make it available as a 3.0 mm flexible filament, with the possibility of a 1.7 mm option coming at some point in the future.