Prosthetic prototypes

One application for 3D printing that we are seeing a lot of potential in is the the field of prosthetics. Of course we all know the good work that projects like Enable and 3D Life Prints are doing, but 3D printing is already being used in the field of prosthetics as we speak. We have been following the French company Mathis Orthopédie for some time now on social media and specifically on their Twitter page.


We got in touch with them to know a little bit more about this exciting application for 3D printing. They use 3D printing not for the final application, but instead for the phase before that to make sure the prosthetic is fitting well and make sure the measurements and comfort are perfect.

Customization is one of the key aspects for prosthetics since no body is the same. 3D printing offers this on an unprecedented scale, but of course it doesn’t end there. Skills in both fields of prosthetics and 3D printing are essential in combination with the right materials.

With over 40 years of experience in prosthetics, Mathis Orthopédie is one of the leading companies in their field. 3D printing enables Mathis to customize the prosthetics for each and individual customer. It also significantly reduces waste and increases speed to bring the right prosthetic faster to the person in need by 3D printing the prototypes.

We have already seen 3D printing providing dramatic changes in bringing prototypes to life, products to the market and even finding its way into centuries old technologies like investment casting, but there are few ways where 3D printing can make such a personal impact on people daily lives as with prosthetics. Below is Mathis’  company video where you can see partially printed prosthetics being tested:

The material of choice they have been using is our colorFabb_XT, made with Eastman Amphora™ 3D polymer AM1800. Launched in September 2014, it is a fantastic functional engineering material. With colorFabb_XT we achieved to produce a filament that provides good strength and toughness, as well as certain FDA food contact compliances. It has found a wide audience amongst users looking for extra functionality. with a temperature resistance of 75+ degrees, this filament offers high strength and very high toughness, odor neutral processing, a styrene free formulation, FDA food contact compliance and BPA (Bisphenol A ) free formulation. It allows the user, like Mathis Orthopédie, to produce 3D printed functional products in a safe way.

colorFabb_XT was our first co-polyester based filament. Our portfolio of co-polyester based filaments, made with Eastman Amphora polymers, has since extended with the all-round nGen, the high temperature resistant colorFabb_HT and semi-flexible nGen_FLEX. You can find more about what co-polyesters are by clicking here.

The functionality that colorFabb_XT offers makes it a great material for prosthetics, as Mathis Orthopédie is using it. For visual prototyping, one of the materials Mathis uses is our colorFabb PLA/PHA natural, which has become a standard in the past 4 years as an extremely reliable filament.

For their printers they use Ultimakers and a Delta Tower.

Mathis Orthopédie strives for excellence in all aspects of the prosthetics they offer and have chosen colorFabb_XT as their primary material for this application. Be sure you visit their website (in French) and follow them on Twitter and Facebook, where they regularly share their works in progress.



This is the third part of an ongoing series of blogs about companies that use colorFabb filaments in unique and exciting ways. Recently we published about AKLIH, the Slovenian design company who use our woodFill filaments for their products, and last week we wrote about Spectra3D‘s use of 3D printing for investment casting.  If you are interested in being part of this feature, or know a company who would be suitable, please contact us at 

Investment casting

An exciting new way of using 3D printing we encountered recently is its use in investment casting. Anyone who has been following 3D printing related posts on Twitter must have encountered Jerry LePore’s work on the Spectra3D account and his daily updates on the work he is doing with his printers. Never too shy to share his workplace (of which many reader of this article will be extremely jealous) he summed up the printers he has: “Makerbot Rep 2’s – MB 5th Gen- MB plus- Craftbots- Creatorbot 3D pro- Fuusion F306- Uprint Plus & and our pride and joy Stacker.”


More recently Jerry has been posting a lot about prints which are used for investment casting. Before we delve into that further, we want to give Jerry the chance to introduce himself: “I started in 3d printing 3 years ago Jan 2014 with a MB Rep 2 with the purpose of making things that  people needed. In the years since we now have 15 printers of various capabilities.”

He continues: “I started using colorfabb filament early 2015 and havent turned back since. We believe in using high quality filament for our clients needs. We have used all of colorFabb’s filaments across the board. I joined Spectra3D Technologies (website) located in Asheville, NC  in January of this year and took the role of CEO. We started and are a reseller of various 3D printer lines and this past June we decided to offer 3D printing services. We print various Cosplay props, pinball game themed parts among other things.” 

Last summer, Spectra3D was contacted by Marshall Miller from Flowserve to print patterns for investment casting. Flowserve is a worldwide supplier of pumps, valves and engineering solutions. It’s a global player and a publicly traded company which is active in 55 countries and with over 18,000 employees.

Spectra3D now prints Valve Bodies, Ball Valves, Pump Housing and Impellers, etc. for Flowserve. As per Jerry’s words: “We chose Colorafab natural PLA because it contains no color pigments, prints great and burns out really clean from the mold. Currently we are going through 25 +/- rolls a month of Colorfabb Natural.” Spectra3D is supplied with our filaments by our distributor Printed Solid, based in Newark, Delaware. Jerry, as well as many more customers of Printed Solid, call his customer service top notch. Matthew Gorton, Printed Solid’s owner, has been working with us for over 3 years now and has been using colorFabb’s filaments even longer. His knowledge, passion for 3D printing and high service level are well-known in the 3D printing community. And, of course, Printed Solid’s signature gummy bears that ship with all orders…


Flowserve then pours the castings in various metals, like titanium and CF8M stainless.

Taking a step back: What is investment casting? Investment casting, the basics of it, is already an ancient manufacturing technique sometimes described as lost-wax casting.


Using 3D printing in investment casting reduces cost and adds flexibility to the process. PLA is a natural choice for this process where the entire print is burned out. As said by Jerry, his preference goes out to the colorFabb signature PLA/PHA natural due to its ease of use and its functionality for this application.

What started thousands of years ago with beeswax has now evolved to patterns made with 3D printing. The printed pattern is coated with ceramic, then the printed pattern is burned or melted out and the metal poured into remaining shell leaving a complete casting.

Below are a few examples of the prints made by Spectra3D for investment casting.



Jerry uses the Stacker printer for the big prints, a very versatile printer for small series production and large prototyping. As he says, it’s his “pride and joy.” This US made printer the only truly industrial grade 3D printer that’s affordable. The printer, made with industrial components, the PLA/PHA filament and the age-old application make this a perfect case for 3D printing in the real world, where it adds value in the chain of production.




Below you can see the result, courtesy of Marshall Miller at Flowserve:

This is once more an example of FDM 3D printing evolving from a hobby market to practical, functional and real life applications where hardware, software and materials matter to bring a product to the customer or, in this case, use 3D printing as a valuable additional to the chain of production. In this case, the material is our very own PLA/PHA which has been a hit in its natural, colorless form ever since its launch 4 years ago, allowing for flawless prints and

Follow Jerry’s work and the Spectra3D account on Twitter.

For more information on Spectra3D, visit their website here or contact them directly.

You can find more about Flowserve on their highly informative website or contact Marshall Miller, supplier development manager for the Americas at Flowserve, directly for more information: or +1 214 808 4823


This is the second part in what we hope will be an ongoing series of blogs about companies using colorFabb filaments in unique and exciting ways. Last week we published about AKLIH, the Slovenian design company who use our woodFill filaments for their products.  If you are interested in being part of this feature, or know a company who would be suitable, please contact us at 



Last winter we held a time-lapse contest and it is an understatement to say it was a great success! You can still watch all contestants in this YouTube playlist. Of over 80 valid entries there could only be one winner and after a popular and a jury vote, the winner was Aklih Design Studio from Slovenia.


The Aklih team

As you may remember, the first prize was 12x 4 spools of filament. Every month the winner could choose 4 spools, which would also give the winner the opportunity to choose materials that were not released at the beginning of the year, like colorFabb_HT, steelFill or nGen_FLEX.

Aklih, however, kept ordering woodFill, our first special filament which was launched during the 3D Print Show in London 3 years ago. This piqued our interest and we decided to get in touch with Aklih to discuss this work further.


We’ll give the stage to them and have them introduce their company in their own words: “We are design studio AKLIH based in Slovenia. We provide design services and design products that can be 3D printed. We came in contact with 3D printing technology back in Faculty, when we used it to prototype ideas. Later on we went from prototyping to end products. An important step in this process was woodFill filament, which is easy to print and give our products that specific wood look. Now we have 3D printed products like Birdy, Megafon, Cup, Kikla  in our product line and new ones on the way.

We took most of the woodFill filament from the time-lapse contest for printing our products and some PLA/PHA for a different model prototyping proposals. We like colorFabb because of variety of high quality filaments, fast shipping and great customer support. So we look forward to continue work with colorFabb in the future.”

Below are some of the products they produce with 3D printing and woodFill. We find them stunning examples of what is possible with 3D printing and love to see our filaments being used this way.

Birdy – bird house


Feeding birds in the winter encourages the bond between human and nature. With Birdy, attractive bird-feeder, we do not only care for birds, but we also put a stamp of modernity and eco-friendly vibe in our home or neighbourhood. Birdy allows feeding of birds from window sills, balconies or trees and is 3D printed with mixture of wood particles and bio plastic. Give yourself the opportunity to relax by feeding birds and smile at the sight of them through the window.


Megafone – phone amplifier


When the past meets the future. We created Megafone, an amplifier which does not require electricity for its operation. It combines centuries-old acoustic megaphone design with modern materials and 3D printing. The shape is accomplished by laying down layer after layer of material to get this very attractive megaphone. It is printed with a mixture of biodegradable plastic and wood and is compatible with iPhones and new models of Samsung. The passive amplifier works exclusively by mechanic, employing geometry to optimize performance, creating a pleasant and immersive listening experience.

You can watch the YouTube video here.


Cup – lamp

Cup is a small, handy and modern lamp which you can take everywhere with you. The combination of 3D printing technology and LED lamps gives it a unique character. Cup is made with a mixture of biodegradable plastic and wood, made with a 3D printer. The built-in LED lamp is covered with frosted glass, which provides a “softened” and evenly distributed light beam. Cup provides us with 4 different positions for lighting and you can easily place it on a table, hang it on a wall or some other piece of furniture.

You can watch the YouTube video here.


Kikla – lamp

KIKLA is elegant lamp made from biodegradable plastic and wood, made with 3D printing. It can be placed on a table or hung from a wall. Due to the diffuse glass, light is distributed evenly throughout the room.

You can watch the YouTube video here.



We are proud that our woodFill is used in such a way. We have seen many cool prints from Aklih in the past and we are sure that we will see more. If you want to keep track of their work, check out their website, their YouTube channel or their Facebook page.

woodFill was launched exactly 3 years ago this month during the London 3D Print Show and was our first special filament. Other natural filled special filaments have followed, like bambooFill and more recently corkFill. our woodFill has been a hit from day one due to easy processing and its fantastic looks. Added bonus is that your print room smells like a wood shop when printing with woodFill.

woodFill is available now at

This is the first post in what we hope will be an ongoing series of blogs of companies using colorFabb filaments in unique and exciting ways. If you are interested in being part of this feature, or know a company who would be suitable, please contact us at