New Materials, Endless Possibilities

By August 21, 2015News

In our quest to make the Robox one of the most functional 3D printers on the market we’re pleased to announce we have extended our current range of filaments. We now have in stock three brand new materials – HIPS, PLA ThermoChrome and Woody. In addition we have added four new materials to the existing SmartReel range.
No other 3D printer currently on the market supports and uses such a wide variety of materials, and this is just the start of our offerings, as in the coming months we will have some fantastic and exciting announcements to share as the possibilities of what you can do with the Robox become endless.

The launch of these new materials is particularly important as one of the key USPs of the Robox is its SmartReel™ system, which enables automatic material recognition and allows users to print a multitude of different materials.

The first material we’re excited to talk about is High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS).
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This high quality material is as strong and stiff as ABS, but is much easier to print with as it is less likely to shrink or warp. HIPS is a dissolvable filament that is frequently used as support material because it is so easily removable, however the material is also unique as you can sand, glue, prime or paint your prints. This extends the possibility of what you can produce on the Robox – beautiful, functional, bespoke prints decorated any way you want.

HIPS is also ideal for printing in conjunction with ABS as the mechanical properties of the two materials are very similar, and they need to be printed at similar temperatures. The primary difference between the two materials is HIPS uses Limonene as a solvent, which leaves a nicer, cleaner finish.

The second filament now in the SmartReel™ range is ThermoChrome Purple/Pink Thermal Colour Change.
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ThermoChrome, like normal PLA (Poly-Lactic Acid in full), is a thermoplastic which is extruded from the starch of plants, and as such, under the right conditions is biodegradable and therefore has a much lesser environmental impact than other thermoplastics. So for those of you who are rightly concerned about the planet, this filament is the one for you.

In reality, the ThermoChrome PLA filament prints just like normal PLA and it is hard to tell the difference on first look. However, the one feature of this filament which sets it apart from all others is the additive which enables a colour-changing feature. When the material is cold it is deep purple, but as it warms it changes colour to light pink – perfect when printing wearable items such as necklaces and wrist straps, bird houses (so that you can see when a bird is inside), bath thermometers and children’s toys .

Perhaps one of the most exciting filaments we are adding to the range is Woody.
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Woody has been supplied to us by PolyMaker, also known as PolyWood™. This product contains no actual wood – but you wouldn’t know it. Instead a foamed structure is activated during the printing process which mimics wood aesthetics – it is the only 3D printable foam material currently on the market. You often cannot tell a part has been 3D printed due to the foaming agent which conceals the laminate layers.

Woody is light weight, so imitates natural wood perfectly – with a density of just 0.8 g/cm³ the material is 35-40% lighter than ordinary PLA and is therefore perfect for printing any number of ‘wooden’ structures from dolls houses and the contents, to garden ornaments, chess sets, pen pots etc.

The material is composed entirely of polymers – unlike other examples which are blends of chopped wood powder and polymer – so excellent print quality comes without the risk of nozzle jams, and the surface of the printed items feels textured, resembling real wood.

We’ve also added four new SmartReel colours – Sky Blue and Slime Green, both available in PLA and ABS.

Our priority for the Robox is to bring our customers the very best in 3D printing materials, so we will be continuing to expand our range in the coming months.

We are currently testing a further 15 different nylons in an attempt to bring you the best of the bunch, most have printed extremely well and look great, but we want to make sure they are also tough, strong and flexible – the mechanical properties are just as important as the aesthetics.

And in addition we are set to partner with two of the biggest names in the 3D printer filament industry, to widen our range even further, further announcements to come soon so watch this space…

For those of you who have been thinking about purchasing a Robox, now is definitely the time to do so! To celebrate the introduction of our new materials, for a limited period we are offering the Robox at its normal RRP of £999.90, but with 3 sample reels of the NEW filaments included for FREE. For further details or to purchase click here http://robox.cel-uk.com/rbx01.html

 

About Emma Elsworthy

CEL Business development director. All things business and media, it's all about the money. Personal motto: fat but fit. Lover of tea, cake, wine and exercise in equal measures.

9 Comments

  • Microcan says:

    Which filaments may be combined in the new dual print head?

    • Pete says:

      The Dual Material Head has 2 completely separate filament paths so the filaments will only combine once they leave the nozzles. The main use for this head will be for printing a support material which is compatible with the main build material. We are testing various combinations right now. The first support material we release is likely to be HIPS which can be dissolved in Limonene. When printing ABS models HIPS is a good option for support as the print temperatures are very similar. PVA is another good option as it can dissolve in water. PVA also absorbs moisture from the air at a worrying rate which may damage it in storage and long use.

  • Microcan says:

    @pete thanks for the reply.

    Where can I buy the Woody filament, 35- 40% lighter than regular PLA make this an interesting material?
    Can I order it at CEL or do I have to order at PolyWood.

  • Tomassetti says:

    looking forward to seeing the Nylon materials available.

  • paulsroom says:

    Is it possible to print a model that has HIPS as the support structure and the main model in a different filament – such as ColoFabb? In other words use the dual head to access both materials during printing. Or must a model printed in HIPS be in that material alone? In which case although the support can be dissolved away, the main model will always have to be painted.

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