Nefilatek, a Montreal-based startup that specializes in making recycled filaments, has developed 3D printing filaments made from 100% recycled plastic.
The company operates a Kickstarter page where early adopters can choose between two types of filaments: Nefila HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) Black and Nefila PC (Polycarbonate), which come with reusable spool bobbins and environmentally friendly packaging. With its new filaments, Nefilatek wants to offer a “safe alternative solution for manufacturers, designers and manufacturers” that reduces the amount of plastic that is used and wasted in 3D printing.
The filaments from Nefilatek. Photo via Nefilatek.
Reducing the environmental impact of 3D printing
Nefilatek was founded in 2018 by two engineering students who both admired the capabilities of 3D printing that allowed inventors, product designers, and manufacturers to get their products to market faster, but were disillusioned with the environmental impact of the technology. They founded the company to combat the huge consumption of plastic in the 3D printing industry, a material that is a major environmental pollutant.
Nefilatek claims that the annual plastic consumption from the 3D printing industry is an estimated 30 million pounds, with a projected 250 million pounds by 2020. Currently, according to the company, it is also estimated that the production of 3D printing plastics will result in consumption of 1.4 Million barrels of oil that will generate over 800 million pounds of carbon emissions annually by 2020.
The Nefila HIPS and Nefila PC filaments
Nefilatek’s recycled filaments aim to have “less impact on the planet” for 3D printing. The company’s first filament, Nefila HIPS Black, is made from high-impact polystyrene recycled from Montreal’s electronic waste. The filament’s benefits include impact and heat-resistant 3D prints, while Nefilatek claims it maintains the same properties as standard ABS. The HIPS filament can also be dissolved and smoothed with the sustainable oils D-limonene and turpentine.
The company is currently conducting final testing of its Nefila PC filament extrusion process prior to commercialization. The filament consists of 100% thermoplastic polycarbonate polymers and is geared towards technical applications due to its firm and flexible mechanical properties. It is also resistant to large temperature fluctuations (-50 ° C to + 130 ° C).
Nefilatek is also working on developing a white variant of its Nefila HIPS filament and is also ready to conduct research and development tests on various other materials, including nylon and polypropylene. Since beginning development of its filaments in 2018, Nefilatek launched a Kickstarter in January 2019 to fund further research and development of its filaments with the aim of bringing them to market. The company plans to ship its Kickstarter filament orders in June 2019.
Standard filaments compared to Nefilatek’s recycled filament. Image via Nefilatek.
Filaments made from recycled materials
Several other initiatives have also been launched to help reduce the environmental impact of 3D printing by using recycled materials to make 3D printing filaments. Examples of this are the British brand’s ONE PET filament for 3D printer filaments Filamentous. The company offers a 100% recycled plastic filaments Made from PET plastic bottle waste for end users. ONE PET was produced in collaboration with Tridea, a company that specializes in converting plastic waste into 3D filaments.
In addition, researchers from the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) have also used Recycled (PET) plastic found in water bottles, yogurt containers, and other recyclable waste materials 3D printing filaments. By using reclaimed materials, service members can quickly use 3D printing to create replacement parts for military vehicles, weapons and equipment.
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The picture shown shows filaments from Nefilatek. Photo via Nefilatek.