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Biodegradable GROWLAY 3D printer filament can be utilized to develop mushrooms or make cheese

Kai Parthys GROWLAY filament sown with grass.  Photo via lay filaments.

Readers of the 3D printing industry can remember Kai Parthy from our previous interviews and reporting on the 3D printer filaments from the German inventor.

Now Kai Parthy is back with another new filament. After Parthy previously launched the world’s wood and ceramic-based filaments, to name a few, Parthy has now launched a biodegradable 3D printing material that he calls GROWLAY.

GROWLAY is intended for use with an FDM / FFF 3D printer. Once a design is made, the unusual properties of the material can be used. The GROWLAY filament can be used as a base for growing plants and other organic matter.

By adding water to your 3D print, spores, seeds, or even cheese molds can be stimulated to grab the print and cover it up. With GROWLAY you can recreate old ruins that lie in a miniature jungle or add an additional texture to a table RPG.

Kai Parthys GROWLAY filament sown with grass. Photo via lay filaments.

GROWLAY 3D printer filament

GROWLAY’s ability to act as a growth medium is based on its porosity and the microcapillaries that run through the material. This means that a 3D print made with GROWLAY can absorb water, absorb additional nutrients such as liquid fertilizer and allow a certain degree of root ingrowth so that a plant can attach itself to the print.

A scanning electron microscope image of the cheese mold on GROWLAY.  Image via lay filaments.A scanning electron microscope image of the cheese mold on GROWLAY. Image via lay filaments.

Parthy’s interest in making filaments has grown well beyond his early kitchen experiments. However, he’s still curious about what drives him to create products like GROWLAY.

Previous experiments by Parthy have shown that GROWLAY can be used as a basis for a variety of organic substances. These range from lichen cultivation to cheese mold. According to Parthy, GROWLAY is also suitable for other biological crops such as grass, moss, fungus, powdery mildew, lichen, mycelium, pharmaceutical cultures and mother cells.

GROWLAY can be used for cheese mold.  Gorgonzola (blue) and a white cheese on pink GROWLAY.  Photo via lay filaments.GROWLAY can be used for cheese mold. Gorgonzola (blue) and a white cheese on pink GROWLAY. Photo via lay filaments.

GROWLAY is aimed at users who range from academic researchers to makers to creative chefs. It is recommended that either a liquid or gas method be used to sterilize the material. Thermal sterilization is not possible.

There are currently two versions of the filament available.

GROWLAY-white. This version is 100% biodegradable and can be added to compost for easy recycling. GROWLAY white is porous and has microcapillaries.

GROWLAY brown. This version is recommended when greater long-term stability is required. GROWLAY brown is not compostable. It is also porous and has the addition of wood particles, this gives it greater tensile strength and rigidity than the white version.

GROWLAY brown [L-R] Reprinted, with white mold and lichen.  Photo via lay filaments.GROWLAY brown [L-R] Reprinted, with white mold and lichen. Photo via lay filaments.More information about GROWLAY is available here.

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The picture shown shows Kai Parthy’s grass-seeded GROWLAY filament. Photo via lay filaments.

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