When I went to the New Orleans Mini Maker Faire, we saw a lot of things. One of the booths we stopped by was for Algix3D (http://algix3d.com/). They are a company out of Meridian MS that produces filament for FDM printers. One of the interesting things about their filament is the fact they use algae as a component of the material. They have a focus on making materials that are sustainable.
They were nice enough to give me a sample of their DURA material. This is a material that is designed to rival ABS with better stress tolerance and less brittleness. It also doesn’t have the same chemical smell when printing which is better for those of you with sensitive noses. It is a little more flexible than ABS which can be great if you’re looking for something like a phone case that needs the impact resistance but it’s still easy to put on.
The sample wasn’t huge, so I needed a small project to test it out. I recently bought an adapter pack for my shop vac to connect to my table saw, but of course, not one of the connectors would actually work. So I took the trusty digital calipers down to the garage and made some measurements…
I designed the model in Fusion 360. I had never tried making anything with a parametric modeling platform. I’ve always used a vertex modeler like Blender for my 3D work. After just a simple tutorial from Autodesk, I was off and running and only spent 15 minutes making the model. One real benefit of parametric modeling is being able to go in and change parameters that affect the model. I didn’t give myself enough tolerance on the side that connects to the table saw. I needed to add half a millimeter. In Fusion 360, it was a matter of just changing a single parameter and suddenly my model was updated with the new sizes with no effort on my part. The export to STL was fast and simple and it was ready to print!
Overall the material did great. The temperature settings they recommended were spot on. With not a lot of contact area, the material does want some hair spray or similar stickiness on the bed. We have a PrintrBot Simple Metal. I was printing at 180 degrees extruder temp and 60 degrees bed temperature. Super smooth, no strings or anything.