Natural cork has also found its place in the industry of 3D printing which has been developing for several years. They are filaments, i.e. materials used in the process of 3D printing by the method of depositing the melted material. In 2015, the European 3D printer filament manufacturer ColorFabb developed an innovative filament called corkFill and, as the name suggests, it should offer cork-like properties as it is a mixture of cork and ColorFabb PLA / PHA filament.
The photos available on the company’s website show a high level of detail and very good-looking color results of prints made with the new cork filament. As it is based on PLA / PHA filament, printing is easier and does not require the presence of a heated build platform (HBP) on the 3D printer.
PLA is one of the most popular filaments used in 3D printers. The abbreviation PLA refers to polylactide or lactic acid. Interestingly, cornmeal or sugar cane are used for the production of this material. PLA is considered a biodegradable and biocompatible material – it is used in implants or stents and in many other products that we use every day.
In 2019, as reported by the portal https://3dprinterchat.com/, the Portuguese student Tatiana Antunes managed to create a 100% biodegradable cork filament for 3D printing. She developed this method at the University of Aveiro (UA) as part of her master’s thesis in materials science. The topic of her work was the problem of the formation of cork waste in the production of natural cork stoppers.