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Category: Knowledge, 03.12.2021

„Filaments’ fillers” a future of FDM? So something about the substances contained in filaments

FDM 3D printing technology will dominate the world! Crazy a bit? You need to know a few things that are happening around You, around 3D printing in order to come to the same conclusion. Filament extrusion technology already covers a significant part of the market, and each month the biggest players in the “plastics Industry” – like BASF or Mitsubishi Chemicals - are increasing their involvement in the FDM market. It is they who have unlimited financial resources and many years of experience in composing chemicals, but also enthusiasts of FDM technology, which are very much in the world, give new ideas and allow the market of extrusion 3D printers to exceed new boundaries. "Inserting into filaments" more and more unreliable substances changes their possibilities and expands the field of application, and in addition, these companies and those fantastic people build a wider picture of the use of FDM printers, which are also becoming part of more complex production processes. However, to master all of this, You need to know a few facts that can change your approach to filament composites, facts that You should include in Your 3D Printing World.

Author: Tomasz Garniec, Global Sales Manager Omni3D

Colour not equal to Colour!

Maybe some of you will think why the topic of color appears in the aspect of composites, but the fact is that the change of color was the „starting point” of modern blends added to filaments. You have to know that it’s not just a dye or paint – changes color. If it were so simple, probably every filament would appear in every color – but it is not. You need to know that adding a colorant affects the „behavior” of the filament in the 3D printer. Therefore, before implementing the color, manufacturers must check how the filament will behave after printing, how it will maintain the color, and change its properties. As of today, there are not many studies explaining this phenomenon. The most studied is PLA, which found that different colors of filaments have an impact on the level of crystallization and strength. Often, the method of extrusion does not change – but it is worth trying to „figure it out” in the cooling processes (in the case of PLA, time affects the level of crystallization) – which may differ slightly in the case of different colors. In the publication mention below, there is nothing about crystallization. However, it was investigated that the color significantly influences the mechanical parameters, especially flexibility and impact strength.

The Effects of PLA Color on Material Properties of 3-D Printed Components” – Ben Wittbrodt and Joshua M. Pearce


Effect of infill type and density on tensile properties of PLA. Material for fdm process” – Adi Pandžić, Aleksa Milovanović , Damir Hodzic

Adapt the material to your needs – PLA with ABS … Nylon … or? Does it make sense?

Searching for the simplest solution, more easy to use – has been always the goal of many scientists and companies, which made their product unique in this way and reached a wider group of is a business. The same situation we have in the FDM world. Striving for simplicity, ease of printing, but also striving for perfection understood in various ways, and unique properties that determinate  the research for new substances that can enable this. So does mixing different thermoplastic materials make a difference? Sure it does! Improving the appearance of the printout, minimizing adhesion to make the extrusion process more easy, improving shrinkage control, dimensional stability, changing physical or chemical properties and many other factors give that ABS-PC, ABS-CF, PP-CF, ABS + PLA, etc. are becoming more and more common and widely used. They also open another door and give FDM technology more possibilities. On the one hand, it is a fantastic idea for popularizing 3D printing technology and building awareness of the possibilities of its use, but on the other hand, the creation of this type of mixtures blurs the most important aspect of work in the industrial world, i.e. selecting the material for the needs of a given production. We often encounter the fact that manufacturers of semi-professional solutions determine the customer’s choice – the possibilities offered by their „desktop” machines, the main goal is, that is, satisfying the needs of the customer and production, move to the second place and. That is why it is so important to spread knowledge about professional industrial printers. But nevertheless it is good way to make the perfect product with aimed properties….

I refer to the publications, like:Printing polymer blends through in situ active mixing during fused filament fabrication” – Zachary C.Kennedy, Josef F.Chris


Thermal Properties of Composit Filaments for 3d Printers” – A. Naganishi

We add fibers to the filament … just for strength?

The original idea was to increase the strength of the printout, but other properties of the fibers (carbon, glass or wood, for example) were noticed very quickly. These can be „regulated” by choosing the right length, thickness or percentage of filament infilling with a given fiber. Therefore, the basic filaments – such as PLA, ABS or even TPU, can be the base for the production of a material with conductive or antistatic properties, and with increased durability in the same time. It was also noticed that the presence of fibers significantly affects the dimensional stability and in some cases eliminates e.g. warping – making it more stable and easier to print. We see this more and more that the knowledge of this is higher then some time ago… but it is always good to know more..

I refer to the publication: „Electricial conduction of anisotropick PMMA compisit filament with aligned carbon fibers – predicting the influence of measurement direction” – Muchao Qu, Fretjof Nilsson, Yijing Qin, Guanda Yang, Qun Gao, Wei Xu, Xianhu Liu, Dirk W. Schubert

One of the trends noticeable in the FMD world is an effective attempt to incorporate 3D printing into the wilder process or printing from more „natural” materials. One of the aspects of this is the use of powdered admixtures that give the printout special properties, but often only after undergoing additional processes. But that’s not all – „equipping” the filament with metal parts – for example with magnetic properties – also extends their direct use in various applications. We are thus dealing with another newly discovered path that opens the door to applications that have hitherto been unattainable. Moreover, the presence of substances that require additional processing contributed to establishing the place of 3D printing in the industry and full production processes. Obtaining products with the characteristics – stainless steel, ceramic, aluminum, beautiful-looking stone in the modern 3d world is no longer something unimaginable – but rather provides questions – what else? When? I How far will this 3D world go?

I refer to the publication:Fused Filament Fabrication With Highly Loaded Filaments– a new Approach for the Production of Metal Parts „- Sebastian Riecker , Thomas Studnitzky , Sebastian Hein , Olaf Andersen

Filament with bio insert … what is it?

HEMP, WEED, TOMATO, CAROB, and PRUNED are just a part of the filament news that are entering the FDM market. Filaments with an admixture of Bio components are the future and a show of the power of 3D printing. Thanks to this type of filaments, we obtain products that complement the functionality of „standard” materials – giving the possibility of reducing production costs and the possibility of recycling. In addition, FDM is entering a new world that can manage, for example, waste generated during agricultural production. There is still research on the possibility of their application – but the first syndromes give a dose of optimism…. Both in terms of mechanical strength and those related to weight reduction. Bio insert…. It can be the next milestone in FDM … and make this world complete … it can.

I refer to the publication:A New Generation of Bio-Composite Thermoplastic Filaments for a More Sustainable Design of Parts Manufactured by FDM “- Michele Calì  , Giulia Pascoletti  , Massimiliano Gaeta , Giovanni Milazzo and Rita Ambu  

Time will tell where the FDM will reach yet. I am convinced that filament composites will create development paths for 3D printing and the printers themselves. However, no matter which of them will be dominant, all of them will have an impact on our surroundings. Whether in industry or medicine, or in everyday life, 3D printers will constitute an increasing part of it. I am glad that I can be a part of this revolution and the new reality… the more 3D one.

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LinkedIn: Tomasz Garniec

m. +48 886 618 588




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