We at Zen Toolworks have been providing you with high quality 3D Printing Filament from the beginning. We have become the "Go-To" filament source for many 3D printing enthusiasts for about 2 years now. What this means, is we are already an established filament manufacturer, and have already proven our quality and consistency with our current product offerings.
We are hoping to continue expanding our filament product line with the introduction of our Zen Toolworks Flexible Filaments. This is a flexible 3D printing filament designed to be used in most FFM 3D printers that accept 1.75mm diameter filament.
Most filament used today in consumer level FFM 3D printers is either made from ABS or PLA. While these are great options for 3d printing, they limit the functionality of your prints to mostly rigid components. Zen Toolworks wants to help change that with our Flexible Filaments. Parts printed with this new filament will leave you with a flexible, stretchy, semi-soft structure. The amount of pliability your part requires can be easily adjusted by changing the infill ratio as well as the number of walls your print has in your slicing settings. This opens doors to a whole new world of 3D printing and allows users to make parts that better meet their design intentions. To compare our new Flexible Filament to ABS and PLA, we put together a simple crush test to help visualize the material's properties. The before and after shots can be found below.
The other significant benefit to our Flexible Filament is it's ease of printability. With only slight changes to your print settings, you will be off and printing beautiful, flexible parts in no time.
For some printers, especially those using "bowden" style extrusion systems, flexible filament can be quite challenging to use. While it is possible, it is not recommended for the beginner 3d printing user. For those using direct drive or geared extruders, your chances of success are much greater. The trick to flexible filament printing is ensuring the filament is supported by a "guide" system from the time the filament leaves the drive gear to the time it exists your nozzle. The reason being is flexible filament has the ability to "buckle" under only slight compression, so without a guide, the filament will only bend and fold and get you nowhere. The good news is most current 3D printers have the required features, and some of those that don't have some available fixes that allow your printer to work.
If you'd like more detailed information on which extruders work best with flexible filament and which don't, we have a more in depth wiki page about these differences and how best to use this filament. You can check it out here: ZTW Flexible Filament Wiki
Zen Toolworks has been creating and releasing filaments for over 2 years now, so why the need for Kickstarter? Well, the development, testing, raw material, manufacturing, and shipping costs are very expensive for a new filament line. If successful, this Kickstarter campaign will aide us in paying for those costs and enable us to produce a much larger batch than if we were to do it alone. This means we can pass those savings along to you. Also, Kickstarter is a great way to introduce a new product to a fantastic audience. We want to offer our initial supporters a chance to be the first to print with our new Flexible Filament at affordable prices.
What colors are available?
We will start out with 2 different colors, Black and Translucent. This is only a starting point for us, and if this campaign is successful, you can bet we will be releasing other colors as well in the future. Please let us know what colors you would be interested in seeing.
Black will be the bread and butter, as it will fit most applications well, tank treads, tires, phone cases, rubberized feet for rigid objects, etc. Translucent is a very interesting color option for this material and we are excited to see what our users will come up with. We can already foresee flexible light pipes, flexible light diffusers, and many other interesting objects where transparency plays an important role.
Where are we in the process?
We are already well into the development and testing phases of the product. We are fine tuning the material's properties, and printing up a storm to ensure consistent quality results. So far we are very impressed and extremely excited to get the product in the hands of our customers. Once the Kickstarter campaign is completed, we will be ready to begin purchasing the bulk materials and get production underway. Below is our timeline we have set in place from the moment the campaign ends to the time you can expect our Flexible Filament at your door.
STRETCH GOAL ANNOUNCED...
If our campaign reaches $10,000, we will provide each backer (with pledge of $25 or more) with a sample pack trio of selected specialty filaments. What we will have is a survey for our backers (sent out at the end of the campaign) to decide the top 3 filament choices from our list of 10 awesome choices. The overall top 3 filament choices will be provided to each of our backers along with your original reward. Below are the available 10 filaments:
If your are interested in more than 3 samples, please contact us. For only a small pledge increase to cover shipping ($3.00) ($10.00 for International), we can send out a separate package with more filaments of your choice. Please send us a message if you have any questions.
Thank you all again for your support, and we look forward to moving forward with this campaign and seeing where it takes us!
-The Zen Toolworks Team
Risks and challenges
As with any new product manufacturing process, there are always risks involved. After a successful campaign we will be tasked with ordering bulk quantities of raw materials which has the potential for delays. Manufacturing a flexible plastic is another challenge. While we have made several successful samples of this new filament, extruding a thermoplastic with different characteristics than both ABS and PLA may have it's complications which we are ready to confront head on.
At Zen Toolworks, we already have a well established filament manufacturing process in place, which has proven successful with our current line of filaments. We are confident this history and knowledge will aid us in a successful launch of our new Flexible Filaments.
We Thank you for your support and look forward to the exciting new objects you will create with this product!
-The Zen Toolworks TeamLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)