As the market for 3D printing materials is expanding continuously, a greater variety of filaments are available. There are filaments that glow in the dark, thermo-chromic ones that change their colour when exposed to different temperatures, light reflective materials, filaments filled with wood, stone or bronze particles or that are reinforced with nano-carbon fibres as well as filament to 3D print waterproof ceramics that can withstand 1,000°C.
After having experimented for about a year, German inventor Kai Parthy, known for his sophisticated materials, released a series of exceptional filament to 3D print soluble support structures for more complex parts.
Support structures are needed for overhangs, so if you print the balcony of a house for example, as Kai explains, you need to have a structure below to support its first layer. If you have a single extruder 3D printer, you can print supports with the same material as the final object, however, removing them afterwards is quite often a hassle. Owner of dual extruder 3D printers will most likely turn to PVA, a thermoplastic polyvinyl alcohol that dissolves in water and is physiologically harmless.
For temperature-stable parts that need to be printed in a heated build area, HIPS filament that can be dissolved in limonene, is often used. This method, unfortunately, is not without drawbacks, as limonene is quite expensive, the treated object will retain its smell for a long period of time afterwards and you would have to store the used limonene in various degrees of pollution for your next prints to be treated in.
Water, on the other hand, is a solvent that is readily available and can be disposed of easily after use. Kai made it his mission to refine standard PVA for various applications. He has developed four new filaments, that are all very dimensionally stable and feature good print bed adhesion. While the first three are water soluble filaments, the fourth one (ETHY-LAY) dissolves in alcohol. Latter can be used for objects that must not come into contact with water.
- dedicated for flexible prints
- best polyurethane adhesion
- cloudy residue, simply drops after plunging in water
- printT ~240+-5C
- for hot build area 100C, printT ~240C+
- quickly dissolvable in water
- dedicated for use instead if HIPS, forget Limonene stink
- remove flaky residue with brush
- best adhesion to ABS, POM, PC, PLA and more
- advanced print viscosity, printT ~230C
- stable at long tool-change periods
- improved thermal stability
- very quickly dissolvable
and another completely new alcohol-soluble support material:
- dissolves completely in alcohol
- for sensitive bio prints
- total clear, cold platform
- print-temperature 165°C+
Kai Parthy’s LAY-FILAMENTS are available at most international retailers. Here is a complete list of materials:
LAYWOOD, LAYBRICK, BENDLAY, LAYFOMM, GELLAY, LAYFELT, POROLAY, MOLDLAY, SOLAY, REFLECT-o-LAY, DI-ELECTRO-LAY, LAY-CERAMIC, smartABS, PLAY-SOFT