Most Innovative Filament Brands
Over the next few years, as dual extruders and multi-material printing go mainstream, we are likely to see the world of filaments expand to include many materials we can’t yet imagine.
If you try nothing else on this list, try the Scorpion flexible nylon filament from Black Magic 3D:
- Very strong and flexible
- Can withstand over 20kg (44lbs) of force
- Very low elasticity
- Fantastic layer bonding
This isn’t an exhaustive list. Many other brands are pouring tons of money into research and development. But these are the best innovative filament brands that we have come across recently. Leave us a comment below about other awesome brands that are pushing the envelope.
Most Innovative Filament Brands
Black Magic 3D
Black Magic 3D is a filament manufacturer from Long Island, New York. Founded by two Russian material scientists from Graphene Labs, LLC, the stated goal of the company is foster the next generation of 3D printer materials by creating a line of high quality, functional filaments.
Many of their filaments were developed out the founders’ own research into graphene, an exciting carbon based material that has been hyped as the material of the future. But some of their other filaments are also one of a kind, such as the HIPS/Carbon Fiber/Graphene filament and flexible nylon filament.
One thing to keep in mind is that, while they are designed for use with FFF printers, many of the filaments that Black Magic 3D produce are not meant for everyday 3D printing applications. Instead, Black Magic 3D likes to call their filaments “research filaments”. This means that they are intended for use in highly demanding engineering applications where other filaments would not be effective.
G6- Impact HIPS/Carbon Fiber/Graphene
While Black Magic 3D also sells graphene conductive filaments, this filament capitalizes on graphene’s superior strength in combination with carbon fiber to produce a filament with incredible vibration damping properties. Possible applications include electrical gadgets such as smartphones, cameras and laptop computers as well as sensitive medical and scientific equipment where fragile interconnections a can be destroyed by heavy vibrations.
At the same time, G6-Impact can be used in automotive, military and aviation industries to reduce vehicle and heavy machinery vibrations. Other applications are sportswear (golf clubs and footwear) and equipment mounts and platforms. This filament is one of the most interesting, high performance 3D printing materials to come to market in the last few years.
One of the more innovative nylon filaments on the market today, Black Magic 3D Flexible Nylon is built for applications where high strength and flexibility are both needed. This filament can withstand over 20kg (44lbs) of force without deforming. Being a nylon, it also has very low elasticity and fantastic layer bonding properties.
Flexible Conductive TPU
A flexible rubber-like filament, this conductive TPU is build for applications where low-current conductivity is needed. EMI/RF shielding is also needed to prevent outside EM fields from disrupting the flow of current. It can be used to power digital keyboards and track pads, electrodes, wearable electronics, LEDs and Arduino boards.
Algix 3D is an ethically motivated company determined to bring truly sustainable plastic filaments to the 3D printing industry and beyond. The company was formed after its founder realized that most filaments such as ABS and Nylon definitely aren’t produced with the environment in mind. Based in Mississippi, Aligix 3D has capitalized on an abundance of a natural resource they have in their state to create their plastics: Algae.
Why Algae? Several reasons:
First of all, algae is a usually seen as a nuisance. It uses pollution to grow, especially fertilizers (AKA cow dung), a lot of which happens to flow down the Mississippi river every year. But algae also produces oil that can be used to make plastic. In controlled settings, the algae naturally purifies the water so that it can be returned to nature and promote ecological balance.
Second, algae is a non-food based source of material. Other bioplastics are made from corn and similar agricultural plants that could be used for other purposes. Lastly, the use of algae reduces our dependence on oil while other plastics only increase our dependence.
Algix has developed an innovative way of processing algae into filament at its Soloplast manufacturing plant in Meridian, Mississippi. Take a look at some of their revolutionary filaments below.
Designed to replace ABS as a tough, strong filament, OMNI is super easy to print with and has similar printer settings as PLA. It produces zero toxic fumes and is so strong that it can be used in many functional applications where ABS and Nylon filaments would usually be the materials of choice.
This filament is flexible like TPU but stronger than ABS, similar to Nylons. It also has higher print resolution than ABS depending on the settings you use, and improved toughness, elasticity, and brittleness when compared to both PLA and ABS.
Lay Filaments is the brain-child of the genius material inventor Kai Parthy. Always innovating, always pushing the envelope to develop the next incredible filament for 3D printers, Kai is probably most famous for inventing wood filament.
Produced in Germany, Lay Filaments continue to be the weirdest, most creative materials in the filament industry. Even if the possible applications of the dozens of strange filaments he makes are not immediately clear, they are still beautiful materials that expand our imaginations. Through his creations, Kai gives us a glimpse of what the future might hold for the filament industry.
Not much is known about exactly how Kai creates his filaments or what his motivations are. There is also not much information about the filaments themselves, what’s in them or how to print with them. Instead, we are left with tantalizing images, enigmatic descriptions and strange names.
Instead of speculating on these things, let’s just take a look at some of his creations:
LayBrick: Feels like brick or stone
Lay-Cloud: Dissolvable support filament
LayFomm: Foam filament that is porous
SOLAY: Leather filament that can be used to make shoes, etc.
LayFlexWood: Flexible wood filament
PORO-Lay Mold-Lay: Wax-like filament perfect for making molds (e.g. for concrete)
LayCeramic: Acts like regular ceramic and can be fired in an oven
Taulman 3D is owned and operated by materials science engineer and inventor extraordinaire Thomas Martzall. Having used Nylon extensively as a professional, he went looking for nylon filaments one day for his 3D printer and came up empty.
He realized that most nylons were simply not the right quality for extruding into filament, and since no one at the time had the knowledge or patience to create a new type of nylon that could be used with 3D printers, nylon filament simply hadn’t been invented yet.
So he decided to do it himself.
Since then, Taulman 3D has become synonymous with high performance, industrial strength nylon filaments. Taulman has also created several new kinds of nylon based filaments with various performance profiles. The range of filaments that Taulman offers is continually expanding Thomas and his team invent new filaments to meet the growing consumer demands for these materials. Visit Taulman3d.com or check out Taulman filaments on Amazon.
The filament industry will continue to expand as the 3D printer industry grows over the next decade. These are very exciting times, and companies like the those mentioned above are leading the charge by inventing new materials that few could have imagined before.
Their creativity and insight will continue to benefit the 3D printing world as it grows since, as we all know, without the good and useful filaments, 3D printers themselves are useless. And if 3D printing wants to become a dominant manufacturing force across the economy, filaments and materials for every imaginable application will need to be invented.