One of the biggest limitations of consumer level 3D printers is the range of materials available to print in. The main ones are ABS and PLA, but a new innovation by Aaron Cram and his brother Dustin Cram could change all that. The pair have a background in computer science and Mechanical Engineering and they are aiming to “change the landscape of what is available for consumer grade 3D printing materials and how those materials are evaluated.”
Strictly speaking the materials the two have developed are still the standard ABS and PLA filaments that we’ve come to know, but with an added twist. The first is a Carbon Fiber Reinforced PLA filament that is made from NatureWorks 4043D PLA Resin compounded with 15% by weight Tenax short chopped Carbon Fibers. The carbon fiber PLA is stiffer than standard PLA and doesn’t warp. They have also developed High Temperature PLA that is made from a custom compound consisting of mineral filled impact modified PLA with a nucleating agent. As the name suggests, High Temperature PLA is resistant to high temperatures. The last material they have developed is Proto-Pasta Polycarbonate-ABS that is designed for strong, resilient parts.
Cram said “PLA and ABS are the two most available materials, but they have some serious drawbacks like low softening temperature for PLA and low stiffness for ABS. With this project we want to make available new materials that address some of these issues without sacrificing printability or affordability.”
The pair have documented their development process and have put printed parts from their materials through a number of tests. All Proto-Pasta materials have their own datasheets so users can compare and contrast with other materials.
The Cram brothers are looking for $25,000 in funding and pledges range from $16 all the way up to $120. Check out the Proto-Pasta Kickstarter page for more information.