With Airwolf3D’s water soluble HydroFill filament, professionals – and makers – that use 3D printers have the opportunity to break away from traditional support material and create objects previously thought impossible to 3D print. The California-based company introduced the HydroFill Water-Soluble Support at CES earlier this year, making it the world’s first highly effective washable support material for large ABS and PLA parts, the first for any open material system. Designed for use with any brand of compatible FFF 3D printer, the new filament withstands high temperatures, strongly bonds with ABS and PLA plastics and rinses away with water.
In the past 3D printer users were restricted to 3D printing only certain types of designs because there were limited options available when it came to support material, or support structures. The most basic method of employing support is to use the same material that is used for the object being printed. With this technique, the support is erected similarly to scaffolding on a building and “props up” any steeply angled overhangs. Referred to as “breakable” support, this type of support is effective, but can be messy, time-consuming, and difficult to remove by mechanical breakage or trimming. It is not unusual to spend hours cleaning or cutting away support material from a 3D-printed object using razor blades, scalpels, sandpaper, and even power tools.
Some objects, such as the HydroFill Gearbox pictured above, are even impossible to print because while the internal geometry of the part requires internal support, the outer portion of the design makes it extremely difficult, even impossible, to get inside the object in order to remove its internal support material. For years, people have tried to solve this problem with support structures that are supposed to dissolve in water or various chemicals. These products are messy and even dangerous — plus, none of them have proven very successful.
“Since we started Airwolf 3D over four and a half years ago, our customers have been asking for a soluble support option that truly works,” said Airwolf 3D Co-Founder and Lead Designer Erick Wolf. “We finally formulated the first real, water-soluble filament in the world and one of the things that makes HydroFill really unique is that it works beautifully when making large ABS parts. Even when exposed to high temperatures, HydroFill maintains its structural integrity while still rinsing away easily with water.”
“HydroFill is a proprietary, polymer-blend formulation that is ideal for printing soluble toolings as well as rafts for large-surface-area parts,” explained Prof. Micic. “It is the first viable soluble support material in the world that dissolves in clean water without the use of any caustic chemicals, detergents, or solvents and without the use of special equipment like ultrasonic or heated baths. HydroFill is a universal, green chemistry solution.”
HydroFill Water-Soluble Filament joins Airwolf 3D’s suite of innovative products, such as Wolfbite Premium Bed Adhesion Solution, designed for use with virtually any dual head 3D printer. To better accommodate users with different brands of 3D printers, HydroFill Water-Soluble Filament will be available in both 1.75 mm and 3.0 mm diameters for an introductory price of $98.00.