Fargo 3D Printing officially launched their filament manufacturing spin-off, 3Dom USA, on May 19 with the introduction of a 100% bio-based 3D printing spool that is the first of its kind, and 3D printer filament made from sustainably produced NatureWorks Ingeo™ PLA.
3Dom’s push for sustainability comes as a response to the increasing amount of 3D printing usage, all of which results in the piling up of plastic spools used to carry the filament.
“As more businesses, schools, and individuals are 3D printing, an increasing amount of empty filament spools will be filling up the planet,” Fargo 3D Printing stated in a press release. “The Eco-Spool™ is made from 100% bio-based materials, ensuring that it will be able to break down in an industrial compost environment (high heat, high humidity).”
The first bio-based 3D printing spool + filament
According to Fargo 3D Printing co-founder Jake Clark, this Eco-spool is the first of its kind. The spool comes from a partnership between 3Dom USA and local bio-composite experts c2renew. The guys at c2renew specialize in turning seemingly useless materials into new product (like making coffee cups from coffee grounds!) – and this time they’ve done so by using agricultural waste from North Dakota fields and using it to make a compound for filament spools.
“We’re using agricultural waste in our product that would have just sat out in the field,” Clark said.
In addition to releasing the bio-based spool, 3Dom has also launched a bio-based filament using Ingeo PLA, which is created from plant sugars converted into lactic acid.
“A safe material naturally present in our bodies and in many of our foods, this lactic acid building block is transformed into Ingeo™, a performance thermoplastic tailored for filament production and printing,” states the press release.
Now, 3Dom USA is the only independent NatureWorks-Preferred North American filament manufacturer and 3Dom’s first filament product is made from NatureWorks Ingeo™ PLA resin.
“We see a lot of the other filaments out there, but they’re all petroleum based,” Clark said. “They don’t really break down. This is a more sustainable option. If you look at the process of how you get the actual materials that we have, it’s a low carbon footprint.”
Bio-based 3D printing spool is made in the USA
It wouldn’t take long to track how they get their materials either. Fargo 3D Printing sources from local suppliers; fibers from agricultural waste in North Dakota, a moulder that is 100 yards from their headquarters, a manufacturer 4 hours north.
“You can literally throw a stone to most of our suppliers,” Clark said.
This is important, especially as more and more 3D printing filament is being imported from overseas, Clark said. Often the filament is then a mixture of plastics which have different melting points, and results in brittle prints and clogged printers.
In addition to being completely made in the USA, 3Dom uses an inline laser scanner to test and take diameters of the filaments – statistical data that is printed on each spool so customers are aware of the tolerance for their filament.
“They are unique to that spool – they’re never the same,” Clark said. “We’re not just saying we’re within our tolerances, we’re proving we’re within our tolerances.”
Already, 3Dom has seen sales coming in and have sent out dozens of sampler packages to their clients, Clark said. As of now they have ten colors available but hope to reach 21 different colors by next month.
The ultimate goal, as both Clark and co-founder John Schneider stated, is to move 3D printing towards sustainability, while staying true to the filament quality.
“I believe that’s exactly what we’ve done,” Schneider said.
Photos courtesy of Fargo 3D Printing.