Proto-Pasta Creates Designer 3D Printing Resins

Hoping to raise $25,000 on Kickstarter

Aron and Dustin Cram are looking to change your ideas on the characteristics of PLA (Polyactic Acid) and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and their suitable uses by creating three new blends of the 3D printing materials.

The two have created a high temperature PLA, a carbon fiber PLA and a polycarbonate ABS.

They are looking to raise $25,000 for their venture with a Kickstarter campaign by February 25th. So far, they've raised about $5,400 from 77 backers.

The brothers, who are headquartered in Vancouver, Wash., got the idea for the three new blends by poking around the Internet and getting a feeling for what people were saying.

"We really tried to do something different," Dustin said.

Like conventional PLA, the high temperature PLA doesn't require a heated bed during the printing process.

However, the finished products can withstand temperatures about the same as conventional ABS.

One application Dustin foresees for the new material would be in remote control cars.

There are a couple of caveats though. The new, high temperature PLA isn't as biodegradable as conventional PLA, and products just created with it need to be kept at elevated temperatures, in an oven or hot water, for a couple of minutes.

The carbon fiber PLA maintains the same properties as conventional PLA in the printing process as well, but the final product is about 33 percent stiffer.

To get those properties, Dustin and his brother blended conventional PLA resin with 15% Tenax short chopped carbon fibers.

"It's not really stronger but it resists bending more… Plus, it's got a really nice look to it too – like a shiny, sparkling look," Dustin said.

The polycarbonate ABS is just the opposite.

"It's a lot tougher than (conventional) ABS," Dustin said. "It's pliable. It bends before it brakes – it would be great for a part that gets a lot of abuse."

The Cram's version of the material is about five times more impact resistant than normal ABS.

A donor can get a quarter kilogram (about 100 feet) of the polycarbonate ABS for $16

The same amount of the carbon fiber PLA is $20, and the high temperature PLA is $24 for a similar amount.

"We realize it's quite a bit, but we don't control the cost for the raw materials," Dustin said.

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