There are many things that are still unclear in 3D printing. One of them is that it will happen when everyone starts printing kilos of harmful ABS plastic without any kind of control. Faced with this terrible future, many are the companies who have launched into the search of biodegradable filament perfect. The holy grail of 3D printing.
In this article we are going to review the market options if we want our 3D prints to be environmentally friendly.
Table of Contents
What does it mean for a material to be Biodegradable?
biodegradable means that a material can decompose in the different chemicals that make it up in natural environmental conditions.
This is not to say that anything that is Biodegradable is good for the planet. Glass is, and for nature to assimilate a bottle, 4000 years have to pass.
To define the times that are acceptable and those that are not, the ISO 14885 (also called EN 13432). This standard establishes the Biodegradability under controlled composting conditions. The decomposition level should be more than 90% and it must be achieved within a period of time not exceeding 6 months.
Now that we are clear about how a biodegradable filament should be, we are going to review the most common options in the sector to buy an Eco-Friendly filament.
The main material used in 3D printing is PLA is a polymer made up of lactic acid molecules which are generally obtained from the treatment of corn starch, cassava or sugar cane. The time of decomposition is in approximately 2 years..
This filament has an approximate cost of € 20 per 1 Kg coil.
About us ALGIX has several on the market filaments made with algae as raw material. They claim that they only use harmful algae so using their filament is doubly good for the planet. In order to give consistency to the filament, they must mix this seafood with PLA. Unfortunately they do not indicate how much they use of each material.
They ensure that all the material manufactured is 100% American product. They are also very focused on making their audience American and they sell them the proximity of raw materials.
They guarantee that the manufacture of your filament continues the strictest quality controls and that the precision tolerance in the thickness of the filament is maximum. All this to ensure that your filament will not clog the nozzles and other delicate parts of our printers.
This filament can be found with an approximate cost of € 19 for the 300 Grs coil
The manufacturer Bioinspiration He tells us about this material without telling us where it comes from, although many of its characteristics are compared with those of wood.
They explain to us that their material es flexible and resistant to cold and heat. To demonstrate the quality of their production process, they quote a third company, which is the one that actually manufactures the product following their specifications.
A very significant detail is that they explain to us that your material of impression complies with EN 13432 standard. That is, in less than 6 months it degrades 90%. They have also verified that the compost produced does not have heavy metals and is suitable for use in plant growth. In less perfect conditions than those that occur during the iso certification they have proven that it decomposes in a couple of years, like wood.
And as with wood, they assure us that we can use it on our objects without fear of thinking that we will arrive one morning and have decomposed.
El coste approximate of this filament is € 29 for 300 grams.
This is the first of several of the filaments created by the American 3D-Fuel.
This filament is done with waste products resulting from the brewing. The filament has a curious Golden colour and the printing temperature is slightly lower than that used with PLA. Environment at 190ºC. The company also talks about a local product. The filament is manufactured in North Dakota with the strictest quality control possible. We can find the 500gr coil for € 45
About us Biome it also has its Ecofriendly filament. In this case it is made from vegetable starches and oils. In this way, they assure us that the filament obtained is a high-performance material, with an exceptional finish and is can print faster than PLA. However we have not been able to find the filament available in any store.
This is the only one ABS filament that you will find in the comparison. Yes, we said that ABS is not biodegradable. However 3DPrintlife ha reformulated the chemical properties of the material for make possible that certain bacteria can consume it when discarded. Being an ABS plastic, it maintains the spectacular characteristics of this material. And as icing on the cake, they assure us that a part of the income from each coil It will be used to plant a tree in some of the most iconic forests in the US
This unique Italian project that received the necessary donations on Kickstarter to become a reality proposes a vegetable-based filament. The project raised ended this September and they are ready to send to patrons. They assure us that 100% of the material is made from waste from the industrial hemp. This characteristic endows printed objects a curious veined. Also Kanesis assures us that your product in a 20% lighter and 30% stronger than PLA. We can even print at a lower temperature than necessary for printing in PLA.
For now the filament is only manufactured to deliver to KickStarter participants. We will be attentive to notify you when it is finally released to the public.
The already named 3DFuels have also had a hemp-based filament since 2016.
Another EcoFriendly filament developed by 3DFuel. With a nice brown color and using coffee as raw material. Unfortunately in this case they have not been able to generate a 100% coffee filament and have had to resort to use of PLA as the base of the resulting polymer. Due to this they warn us that objects printed in this way cannot get in contact with very hot liquids or food. We can find the 500gr coil for € 45
We can appreciate that manufacturers they are doing a great effort to manufacture filaments with personality and at the same time Respectful towards the environment. Some have even better characteristics than PLA. However the PLA keep being him more affordable
We hope you liked this article on Biodegradable filaments and we have encouraged you to have a more environmentally friendly approach in your impressions. If at any time we have access to any of these curious filaments, take it for granted that we will analyze it on the blog.
And do you know any biodegradable filament that we have not named here?