Frankly, we all want 3D printers to make anything out of any material. The folks at ProtoPlant are helping us get there with their line of fortified filaments for desktop 3D printers. They make PLA and ABS filaments that are stronger and more heat resistant than normal. We spoke to the inventors of this filament as they were fundraising on Kickstarter. Here’s what they had to say!
Practical 3DP: What does ProtoPlant Inc do?
ProtoPlant: We design and build prototypes and one-off custom fixtures and equipment for manufacturers and aerospace companies.
PP: Proto-Pasta is a new line of FFF filaments for consumer grade 3D printers. We tried very hard to offer some materials that are just not available to consumers.
- Carbon Fiber PLA is, in a word, stiff. It resists bending more than standard PLA, It is not lighter or stronger but this added stiffness makes parts that feel really solid and that are hard to deform or bend. It prints very well with good adhesion and without clogging nozzles.
- High Temp PLA becomes less soft than normal PLA at elevated temperatures. It is similar to ABS in temperature resistance after it has been annealed for a few minutes at 80C. It also prints very easily and seems to bridge better than normal PLA. It is a solid color, not translucent like normal PLA.
- Polycarbonate ABS makes tough parts with much higher impact resistance than either ABS or PLA. This material is tougher to print with, requiring up to 280C at the hot end and a 120C heated bed.
PP: We have focused on testing and evaluating our materials, not so much on printing. Some of our beta testers have printed interesting things like bridges and bottle openers. We have a tester who manufactures split board snowboard bindings who prototyped some parts.
PP: Nope, but good idea.
PP: We are working on rolling out several distributors in the US and UK, more details to come. We will be also selling it from proto-pasta.com
PP: Working on that, but somewhere close to the Kickstarter pricing.
PP: I have a Mechanical Engineering Technology degree from Montana State University and am a licensed Professional Engineer in Washington State. My background is in aerospace, designing and manufacturing satellite missions for NASA that study the sun. Aaron has a Computer Science degree from MSU as well. His background is in virtual reality and 3D graphics.
PP: Portland is an awesome community for creative minds. My family and I live in Alberta Arts and really enjoy the community. I have worked with ADX in Portland for inspiration and networking.
PP: Our work opens doors into areas where affordable 3D printing may have been cut off before. We think our users will answer this question.
PP: Nothing specific in mind, but we have had some awesome ideas from backers. One I thought was super interesting was high performance engine valvetrains. This backer was looking for a stiffer material to verify valve designs and was very excited about our CF-PLA.
PP: There are some things in the works to address this point, but I think that moving toward a less “maker” user experience (like the buccaneer) is a good start. Hopefully at the same time we can all keep things relatively open source and not too corporate feeling.
PP: I have some ideas that hopefully you will see on Kickstarter or proto-pasta.com soon! But I think anything different is awesome, and really respect the work of folks like Taulman.
PP: I love the work being done on delta-robot style printers, along with some rotary stage printers currently funding on KS (no affiliation or cross promotion, just think it is cool)
PP: We are really hoping to build a reputation as a premium supplier for 3D printing materials and hardware over the next few years. We love the creativity and newness of this space and are excited to explore what opportunities are there..
PP: Maybe just a shout out to Kickstarter and our backers, it is pretty amazing to have this opportunity to bring something we are really interested in to the greater community.