We launched our first filament range, PLA/PHA, in February 2013. In this short, limited series of blogs we look back at some of the materials released in the past five years. Earlier we wrote about woodFill. This second installment looks back at nGen.
Our range of nGen colors… with more to come soon!
To talk about nGen is to talk about colorFabb_XT and the start of our co-operation with Eastman Chemical Company. Back in 2013 we got in touch with Eastman Chemical Company from Kingsport, TN. We were looking for new exciting (and most of all, functional) materials to turn into filaments and Eastman was looking for a dedicated partner already in the world of 3D printing. Eastman is a worldwide specialist in co-polyesters and has since launched a range of materials specifically for 3D printing, called Amphora. Check out their website for more information. We signed an agreement to co-operate together early 2014 and went to work. The first filament released, colorFabb_XT, was later that year during the 3D Print Show in London.
colorFabb_XT is a great engineering grade filament that can be used for a lot of applications that need to perform. We found however that there was still a gap between our (or any) PLA filament and filaments like colorFabb_XT. In the summer of 2015 we were vigorously testing with a new raw material that came from Eastman, code name AM3300. The more we tested the more we were convinced this was going to be a material that was going to be a hit with users, old and new. We only didn’t know how big a hit it would become.
We decided to call this new filament “nGen” – next Generation. We believed then (and still do) that this filament was a next step for 3D printing materials. It was our goal to bring a filament to the market that has functional properties, looks astonishingly good and prints like a dream.
After a small launch in November of that year we went big and launched with Aleph Objects, makes of the excellent Lulzbot printers, at their stand at the CES Show in January of that year.
Lulzbot stand at the CES 2016, Las Vegas
nGen has been a hit ever since. This is not without reason. It is true all-round material suitable for most day to day 3D printing activities. Its chemical make up ensures a very consistent quality. An advantage over PLA is its elevated temperature resistance: 80 degrees instead of 45 degrees, so even in hotter climates (or a hot summer day) the material holds up extremely well. Below is a comparison chart of several of the Amphora based filaments compared to commodity materials like ABS and PLA.
You can read more on our dedicated landing page or our blog about co-polyesters.
Lulzbot mascotte Rocktopus printed with 21kg of nGen on the CES 2017
nGen is an amazing material which enables users to create parts with gorgeous detail and the benefit of long term stability. Don’t just take our word for it. Below are some of the reviews that our users posted in our webshop:
“Its just the perfect Filament for me!”
“Printing as easy as PLA, but with better material properties.”
“nGen is very predictable and strong.”
“nGen is always my “go to” filament. It just prints beautifully. It’s strong, handles heat well, reliable, and just looks great.”
“… prints like butter 🙂 and the finish is absolutely perfect.”
“The material has good print bed adhesion, low warping and low shrinkage. Easy to print.”
Beyond our initial goals to create a filament that prints well and holds up to every day 3D printing tasks we have since found out more properties of the filament, giving it a great advantage. For instance, we recently came across a business case where a printed object made with nGen has been under water in the ocean for 16 months! And it did not loose its functional properties!
And you can get highly detailed prints as well:
Model balustrade. Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/detailed-balustrade/
Although nGen is a true star in our portfolio, it doesn’t feel too good to perform a supporting role from time to time. Literally. In combination with colorFabb_XT nGen filament can also be used as a breakaway support. Complex designs like the drill case below do need support material and we found that nGen did a great job in that department.
Drill case. Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/drill-case/
Another great material it works extremely well with is our nGen_FLEX:
Pliers (click image for the gif to play). Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/pliers
Coupler (click image for the gif to play). Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/coupler/
It is not only materials nGen plays well with. It also performs extremely well on a wide range of printers.
On the Lulzbot TAZ 6. Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/hyper-soccer-ball/
On the Ultimaker . Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/mixee-wallet/
On the Robo R2. Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/ngen-robo-r2/
On the Leapfrog HS. Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/turbine-prop/
Below is a small selection of varied prints we have posted about in the past two years:
RC 180 degree camera housing. Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/rc-180-degree-hd-camera-printed-ngen/
Saturn V Rocket. Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/ngen-saturn-v-rocket/
Robot arm. Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/robot-arm/
Educational Brake Caliper. Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/caliper/
Eccentrically Cycloidal Drive Mode. Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/eccentrically-cycloidal-drive-model/
Universal Bottle Opener. Original post: https://learn.colorfabb.com/ubo/
Flexbot quadcopter: https://learn.colorfabb.com/flexbot-quadcopter/
More than once we have heard from our users that after trying nGen they have never looked back at PLA. And why should they? nGen is PLA and more.
And we are not done yet with nGen yet. Next up: nGen_LUX. We have used the basis of nGen to develop a new material that will look like no other 3D printing filament. We will release that one this very month! Stay also tuned for more nGen colors coming soon… We have six more colors lined up for you.
Eager to try out nGen? Now is the right time to place your order. During this month, February 2018, we celebrate our fifth anniversary by giving every fifth spool you order in our webshop for free. Click on the banner below for more info:
We also run a contest: post your favorite colorFabb print online, tag us and use hashtag #5yearscolorfabb and maybe you will win a value pack with 16 spools of our filaments! Again, more info by clicking the banner below:
All blogs and articles about our fifth anniversary can be found by clicking here.