Italian filament start-up company Kanesis recently approached 3D-PT to test their new hemp based PLA filament.
I have worked with hemp based HIPS from another start-up company before, so I was a bit dubious about mixing hemp with another plastic product.
When I received the filament, my mind started to change. Out of the box I was surprised that this hemp bio plastic (HBP) looked like a composite filament similar to colorfabb WoodFill. It looked more like the brown craft paper that you find in grocery store bags than any other composite filament.
The texture of the filament also felt closer to brown craft paper than PLA, which is unique compared to other composite filaments that I have worked with.
Kanesis has produced HBP as a biodegradable filament, sourced from industrial hemp waste and PLA. The formulation of HBP is also supposed to be low enough that it uses less energy to 3D print than commercial PLA. The industrial hemp gives it more strength than standard PLA as well. With hemp being a soft material, a hardened or plated nozzle is not required.
Printing with composite filaments takes some adjusting, and this filament was no exception. The instructions claim that a printing temperature of 165 – 185 C would work. I started a test print at that temp, but quickly developed a jam. The jam worked itself out when I moved the temp to 225 C. Like other composites, some fibers did collect around the nozzle, but even then the amount was smaller than other composites like carbon fiber.
The prototype did not print well with this filament. The fine details and thin edges were too thin for this composite filament, which requires a thicker printing diameter. The factory recommends a 0.5 mm nozzle, and I can’t recommend any print with a thickness less than 1 mm. When I removed the first prints from the build plate, 3 of 6 pieces broke. The material was just too stiff and brittle to come clean off the build plate. Looking underneath, there were some gaps. The stringing was slight for a composite filament as well.