A new organic 3D printing material has landed on Kickstarter in the hope of being the next step towards the "Organic Material Evolution".
WillowFlex is a flexible bioplastic filament made from non-GMO corn starch and raw compostable materials that have passed both U.S. and E.U. standards which state the material can be recycled through the composting of organic solid waste.
According to the Kickstarter campaign, the filament has been created with safety for both humans and the environment in mind and is ideal for use in sensitive environments such as schools, homes and medical.
WillowFlex can perform at temperatures in excess of 100°C and can also maintain flexibility at -15°C. It also claims to produce very little smell but users might experience a slight natural aroma of baking bread. The filament is available in 10 colours which so far include natural, olive green, deep blue, lilac and rose red.
The material’s biocompatibility means that over time under certain conditions, products will return to the earth without any harmful effects. Despite the material’s super-green capabilities, backers need not worry about their 3D printed parts decomposing at will and whilst WillowFlex remains in beta mode, the team is currently running a series of tests to see how the material responds in various conditions.
WillowFlex composting status after 18 months.
The material is a result of a collaboration between Berlin-based organic materials company BioInspiration; Kansas USA-based bioscience social enterprise Green Dot; and 3D printing filament developer, 3d-k.berlin. WillowFlex is just the first in a series of products being developed by BioInspiration and its partners and tests are currently underway for a non-elastic compostable filament that’s set to be on the market later this year.
Green Dot CEO, Mark Remmert told TCT: "When materials for 3D printing offer better performance and a lighter environmental footprint, it’s a win for makers and the environment.”
There are still 13 days left to back the campaign and with the €8,450 target already achieved, supporters can still get their hands on a spool of WillowFlex from €26. The goal is to have the material out on the market in late Autumn.
BioInspiration is the latest company looking at the use of sustainable plastics in 3D printing. Back in May, Dan met with Algix, a Mississippi -based clean technology that has teamed up with 3D Fuel to create Algae Fuel PLA, a PLA with a 20% algae biomass. Similarly, 3Dom USA recently introduced a first of its kind Eco-Spool made from 100% bio-based materials designed specifically for environmental sustainability and to tackle the growing concern for the mass of disregarded filament spools.