Fila-Cycle Develops 100% Recycled Filament

by Willy Matsiri on December 29, 2014

Fila-Cycle LogoRecycling plastic wastes and turning them into printing materials (filaments) is not a new concept in the world of 3D printing.

However, never before has there been a 100% recycled filament with such color variety and which is capable of impressive performance like the Fila-Cycle recycled filament line. Fila-Cycle is the first 100% recycled globally available filament brand in the world. This unique filament line was created by a UK based company known as ObjectForm, a company that mainly deals with issues related to desktop 3D printing.

ObjectForm was founded by Scott Knowles, Stephan Hollingshead and Chris Simpson with Knowles acting as the companys Director. The partners are all technology and distribution gurus.

When the trio were asked how they came to create Fila-Cycle; Knowles explains that ever since they began investigating 3D printing materials, it became quite clear to them that there was no material in the market that was both Environmentally Friendly and good value at the same time. Apparently, finding a material that could bear positive benefits to the environment and prove inexpensive as well was what made these three begin working on what we now know as Fila-Cycle.

They go on to add that they wanted to come up with a 3D printing material that could guarantee great performance and remain on par with the existing printing materials in the market. It was these three yardsticks that they were using to evaluate their success in creating the perfect 3D printing material for both business and home desktop 3D printing users.

From the looks of it, you may say the trio achieved their target. Although currently only a few tests have been done, the quality of the printed objects so far have been incredible and very similar to the results one would expect from non-recycled filaments.

ObjectForm uses automotive waste components and landfill stock to produce their Fila-Cycle filament line. The filaments are mainly intended for use by FDM 3D printers. The Fila-Cycle brand is now available in four different product types. These include Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), which is in both the form of filaments and pellets. And High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), which is also available in filament and pellet form.

ObjectForm has created a website specifically for the purpose of providing Fila-Cycle supplies, to make it easy for the vast population of 3D enthusiasts to easily get their hands on this 100% recycled filament.

Anyone looking to make an order can presently do so on the Fila-Cycle Website. Word has it that soon Fila-Cycle will additionally include High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) filaments in their 3D printing material offers.

Prosumer and Consumer Benefits

Fila-Cycles 100% recycled filaments bear several advantages to both prosumers (businesses) and consumers (individuals) compared to ordinary plastic filaments. First on the list is the environmental friendliness of the filaments.

Primarily, Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) has been more beneficial to the environment than the conventional subtractive manufacturing by reducing wastage of materials, such that only the materials that are needed to create an object get to be used. For a long time, that has been as far as the benefit to the environment goes.

The Fila-Cycle product line attempts to add to the list of environmental benefits by recycling non-decomposable waste materials and converting them into 3D printing filaments instead of using virgin plastic filaments.

What’s more, there are cost benefits related to Fila-Cycle filaments. Due to the fact that the filaments originate from plastic wastes, their purchase costs are quite low. You can for instance buy a 10m roll of either ABS or HIPS material at £2.99 and spend only £5.99 for a 50m roll of the same. Inexpensive filaments minimize your expenses for 3D printing keeping them as low as possible while on the other hand increasing your profit margin.

The fact that the Fila-Cycle filament line can cinch virtually the same quality as other typical filaments equally sets it apart. The ObjectForm team has printed a few models using the filament among which was an ABS printed Robotic head designed by InMoov, that showcased superb quality.

Experimental Phase

With the above benefits of using the recycled filament, many individuals and businesses involved in 3D printing may find it necessary to use Fila-Cycle products. Unfortunately, the filament cannot be used to produce final consumer products just yet because it is still in the experimental phase.

Many other tests and evaluations have to be undertaken before the filament can finally be approved for 3D printing final end products to be presented to consumers. At best what you can now use Fila-Cycle filaments for is designing prototypes. If you have a few designs that you would like to try out and check how they will appear after 3D printing, using these materials will also be a good idea.

Both ABS and HIPS Fila-Cycle 100% recycled filaments are supposed to be used by FDM and FFF 3D printers only. Before printing anything, you should make sure that you have made the recommended settings necessary for the use of these filaments. The settings to observe are:

  • Maintaining nozzle temperature between 210-230°C
  • Using a resolution of 200 microns
  • Keeping the printing speed at 2000 mm/min or less
  • Use a heated bed platform temperature between 90-110°C

Training Courses

Around September time, ObjectForm joined forces with QA and together started offering 3D printing training courses in UK. The two companies have expressed their intention of now integrating Fila-Cycle into their training courses as a way to popularize this product line and the boons in store for users of 3D printing technology.

Through training more and more people will be made aware of the requirements for use of these filaments, making it easier for them to become mainstream.

There is a lot of hope among the 3D printing community that the experimental phase reveals better ways of improving the quality and performance of Fila-Cycle. There is also much anticipation for the experimental phase to be successfully accomplished in order for individuals and businesses to begin using Fila-Cycle 100% Recycled Filaments in the designing and printing of various objects and products.

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