By utilising the qualities of different materials for their strength, we can create interesting innovations like solid/flexible or non-dissolvable/dissolvable objects. Several companies sell 3d printers that are capable of using two different filaments, or even more. The progress in recent years has been huge! If you want to envisage it, just compare an Ultimaker 2 with the E3D toolchanger printer.

It requires a dual head printer. But wait, what if new materials allow you to use different properties based on temperature? Sounds unreal – some sort of magic?

Well, that's just what colorFabb did with the Colorfabb LW. The PLA filaments behave differently based on temperature, flow and speed: the polymer expands differently.

PROs:

  • Lower weight and therefore less material used. Environmentally friendly.
  • Better resistance to impacts.
  • Same ease of printing.
  • Higher flexibility.

CONs:

  • It could be difficult to find the appropriate combination of temperature, flow and speed to get repeatability, or a specific printed size of the 3d printing model.

A few years ago, I saw a paper about Metamaterial Mechanisms from the Hasso Plattner Institute. I was amazed at the results and their potential applications. They shared the models on Thingiverse. Colorfabb forked the model and used it to demonstrate the possibilities of using nGEN with nGEN flex. It then occurred to me to print the same model with the same material at different temperatures! The first results have turned out to be very interesting!

Colorfabb LW metamaterial

I hope our competitors will also raise the bar by creating these kinds of innovations and extending the use of 3d printing technology. But for now, Congrats Colorfabb !

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