There’s no shortage of 3D printing filament types out there today. Take a look at the better 3D printing resources and you’ll learn about ABS, PLA, and the slew of other choices for makers.
Graphene 3D is adding yet another one to that ever-growing list, but this one bears a little bit of scrutiny. It’s magnetic.
What does that mean for makers? Let’s take a closer look.
The New Magnetic 3D Printing Filament
First, Graphene 3D Labs is no stranger to innovative filament types. Back in 2015, the company debuted its conductive graphene filament that allowed makers to create 3D printed electronic components that functioned perfectly.
The new filament ties directly into that previous advance and builds on the company’s success.
The new material is actually a PLA filament based on iron (yes, you read that correctly). This allows the printing of items that are strongly attracted to particular types of magnets.
Graphene 3D actually recommends two types – samarium cobalt and neodymium iron boron. Not only will prints be attracted to magnets, but the filament has a cast iron look to it that’s very different.
“It has always been the objective of Graphene 3D to create new opportunities for 3D printing,” explained Elena Polyakova, the company’s co-CEO. “With every functional filament we introduce to the market, the types of 3D projects that can be successfully printed expands exponentially.
As this filament is ideally suited to switches, sensors and actuators, we also expect this new functionality will challenge more traditional manufacturers to examine incorporating more 3D printing technology into their manufacturing processes.”
The debut of this new filament is part of a larger trend. There’s an underlying, industry-wide shift away from making cheap, disposable plastic items and toward creating things that not only last and look good, but serve a purpose.
It’s becoming more and more about functional 3D printing, rather than the novelty of it all. Of course, plastic filament still has a tremendous role to play here.
You only need to look at the advances in human 3D printed prosthetics to see that. However, 3D printing is not limited to plastic. Iron, cement, wood and many other filament types increase the value of this technology not only to individual industries, but to the human race as a whole.
That’s exactly what Graphene 3D wants to tap into, and there’s more on the horizon from this forward-thinking company. “We expect 2016 to be a significant year for Graphene 3D in terms of introduction new functional filament.
We have several new functional filaments in the development pipeline and we expect to release several new filaments throughout the year.”