Ash, Wood, Stone and Metal: 3R3DTM Filament Review
I recently wrote about a prototype filament from 3R3DTM called reincarnation in a previous review and I recently receive a generous batch of their filaments to test. 3r3dtm is a Spanish Bask County firm that specializes in developing unique blends of filaments. Many of their blends come from recycled materials, while others are a test of various new composite media. 3r3dtm is building its company as a custom filament production facility. Over to the 3R3DTM Review:
The first filament I had to test was reincarnation. This gray filament mixes ash from burnt paper with PLA. In talking with the company, this was a prototype for a method to mix ashes from dead pets into a printable 3D filament. In this way the pet owner could create a new image of their pet with such a memorial filament.
The light gray PLA filament lays down a smoky gray-brown, and when it finished I could not see any ash flecks in the print. Overall it was a solid and respectable print, with a nice smokey gray translucent finish.
Reincarnation filament actually would be a good way to re-purpose the ashes of a pet, because you would not even see the remains in the print at all. The gray smoky color is an appealing subtle color good for statues and lithopanes of your beloved pet.
From their sustainable series of filaments, I tested irokoWood filament first. It did have a rougher texture from standard pla, but not as rough as other wood composites from colorfabb.
I had some problems printing at the lower temperature range of 200 C, so I had to print this high at 225 C.
Despite the initial issues, the sampe chip did print well. I’ve had problems in the past with wood based composites jamming my nozzles, and I was worried that this would happen with my printer.
Mapplewood PLA is a yellow filament with fine brown flecks of maple throughout. 3R3DTM sources the maple from the waste from a skate board maker, which helps with a environmentalist appeal. The main filament is a natural yellowish natural PLA color. Which may lend itself to more industrial appeal than artistic uses.
Beach sand is another unique PLA blend. The filament does not feel abrasive, so I was not worried about it chewing up my nozzle. It prints yellowish- clear, which is surprising. The filament looks like natural PLA with fine black specks in it. This produces a fine speckled appearance up close to the filament that defuses the glossy finish of PLA.
PLA+Granite-Marmol is a stone and clay blended filament, which has a translucent and white speckled / frosted appearance. It is another artistic filament that I would enjoy printing art prints with.
Metal Series is 3R3DTM’s entry into composite metal filaments. The batch of filament I received was about 5% metal content, which was too little to make a good visual impression. In talking with the company, their next production run will have 10-15% metal content. The metal filaments did print well, but visually there was not enough metal at 5% to make a visual impact.
Copper is a brown PLA with a sprinkle of copper fibers for effect. This feels and prints like PLA, and you can barely see the copper in the filament. This is an artistic filament that has subtitle contrasting with the copper if you look closely. However if you are not looking closely, it looks like typical brown PLA.
Bronze is a honey colored blend with golden sparkles of bronze metal filings.
Special metal alloy is a mix of Nb, Co, and Cr, but it looks like fine aluminum dust sprinkled through the filament.
PET is the filament I wanted to try next. PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) is found in soda bottles around the world. If your company can crank out a cheap line of PET, you could source it locally and not have a supply issue. PET filament has wide environmental appeal, and in the future there may be a thriving cottage industry where local 3D printers can source filament in the country and reduce pollution.
PET prints hot, as I had to start at 250 C and 70 C bed to start the print. I got good results at 245 C, but bubbling in the filament was a problem.
After a couple tries, the green PET finally laid down enough for a workable print. Latter I reprinted it at 270, with slightly better results.
The second white PET was the deal breaker. After a few trys, I found that it had formed a solid plug inside the nozzle and hotend. I had to change out the nozzle and clean out the hot end with PLA. After talking with the company some more, they recommended 270 C for the hotend. I suspect PET is as hydroscopic ( link storage) as PLA, as it bubbled and popped as it printed. The company also recommended printing at 270 C, which is the hottest I’ve ever printed at.
Printing at 270 C caused too much bubbling and over extrusion, but it did start cooperating as I backed the temperature down to 260 C.
I’ll have to really play around with it to get PET to print smoothly. I was hoping that this would mean I could start sourcing local recycle bins for filament stock, but I found PET to be as temperamental as ABS filaments.
The white PET just did not cooperate with me. The discoloration in the prints tell me there may have been some other plastics or oil mixed into the filament.
Clear PET seemed better, as it laid down ok at 270.
Overall PET will need some practice to print well, so I can only recommended it for advanced printers.
Visually PET will not print as transparent as the injection molded bottles it comes from. It is flexible and springy, so it may have more industrial than artistic applications.
All of 3dmrts PLA filaments are semi translucent, and would make for good artistic print if printed thin. All of them printed great at 225 C, and all were solid printing filaments. The particular batches I tested only had 5% of the fill material, which was disappointing as you had to look closely to see any of the secondary material. This low concentration may help with wood based filaments that may jam nozzles, but they were too thin on secondary material to really stand out from the PLA base filament. If you’re use to composite filaments like Proto Pasta or Colorfabb, these may disappoint. 3R3DTM has stressed that these are test run batches of filament.
The company will release new batches of PLA with 10-15% secondary material, and I would enjoy testing those batches as well.
The PET was a harder material to print with. Not only did it have to print hot at 270 C, it tended to bubble and be as temperamental as ABS.
Overall I found the PLA blends to all be solid filaments to print with. I look forward in the future to testing a ash based filament with real pet remains in it.
DISCLAIMER: 3r3dmt sent me the samples of their various filaments with no expectations given. 3D printing with pet remains is not approved in any country, so check with a lawyer before printing with a filament that contains pet ashes.