Italian filament start-up company Kanesis recently approached 3D-PT to test their new hemp based PLA filament.
I have worked with hemp based HIPS from another start-up company before, so I was a bit dubious about mixing hemp with another plastic product.
When I received the filament, my mind started to change. Out of the box I was surprised that this hemp bio plastic (HBP) looked like a composite filament similar to colorfabb WoodFill. It looked more like the brown craft paper that you find in grocery store bags than any other composite filament.
The texture of the filament also felt closer to brown craft paper than PLA, which is unique compared to other composite filaments that I have worked with.
Kanesis has produced HBP as a biodegradable filament, sourced from industrial hemp waste and PLA. The formulation of HBP is also supposed to be low enough that it uses less energy to 3D print than commercial PLA. The industrial hemp gives it more strength than standard PLA as well. With hemp being a soft material, a hardened or plated nozzle is not required.
Printing with composite filaments takes some adjusting, and this filament was no exception. The instructions claim that a printing temperature of 165 – 185 C would work. I started a test print at that temp, but quickly developed a jam. The jam worked itself out when I moved the temp to 225 C. Like other composites, some fibers did collect around the nozzle, but even then the amount was smaller than other composites like carbon fiber.
The prototype did not print well with this filament. The fine details and thin edges were too thin for this composite filament, which requires a thicker printing diameter. The factory recommends a 0.5 mm nozzle, and I can’t recommend any print with a thickness less than 1 mm. When I removed the first prints from the build plate, 3 of 6 pieces broke. The material was just too stiff and brittle to come clean off the build plate. Looking underneath, there were some gaps. The stringing was slight for a composite filament as well.
A second print went better using the information I learned from before. With a thicker part, I was able to successfully print a marble chain fidget that held together off the build plate.
As I assembled the fidget, I found that it did sand and glue like any other wood based composite filament. I’ll field test the fidget in the future to see how well the material holds up to everyday use.
HBP is an interesting composite filament that has more industrial uses then artistic. The paper bag brown appearance and texture may not lend itself to artistic prints, but I can see this used in industrial setting and for items like custom packing and tooling.
With more time you may be able to put dark and light bands in it to give it a wood-grain appearance like other wood composites, but I did not have time to test that.
The printing qualities are good for a composite filament, with minimal glopping around the nozzle, and a stable print once the right temp was reached. This is a good filament for industrial use and in-house printing, but I can’t recommend it for artistic prints.
Disclaimer: Check all local laws before accepting or 3D printing in hemp products. Kanesis provided the sample with no expectations given for this review.