Fishy Blog

Fast approaching a fund raising

Fishy Filaments has always been on a path towards commercialisation. We said it when we broke cover, when we annouced our partnerships, and when we crowdfunded our pilot plant.

Now we are in the run up to our full ‘go live’ fundraising. We’re going to be raising enough cash to buy all the hardware, rent the premises and start employing people.

Look out for the announcement. Its coming soon !

Surf fin test piece

As it is Boardmasters this coming weekend we thought we’d do a practical(ish) test to celebrate surfing. As usual the material is 100% recycled nylon from fishing nets previously used by the Cornish fleet working out of Newlyn Harbour.

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The fin is printed at 50% scale, but otherwise an unedited version of  model 604461 from Thingiverse

 

And before anyone asks, you’d have to do some extra engineering before it could be a useable demonstration rather than a test piece.

Personally I’d separate the fin body from the FCS mount, I’d remove the infill and leave a sleeve cavity for a second piece which included that mount, I’d glue the two pieces together then wrap the blade in some Carbon Fibre & epoxy to make the whole thing waterproof.

Plastics Industry Awards 2017 Shortlist

Fishy Filaments has just been shortlisted for the 2017 Recycled Plastic product of the year by judges at Recoup

Fishy Filaments Ltd 3D printer filament made from recycled nylon fishing nets has just been shortlisted in the category of Best Recycled Plastic Product in the 2017 Plastics Industry Awards by judges at Recoup, the plastics recycling industry body.

This category includes close to production prototypes as well as products on the market and our fellow shortlistees are all established companies, so its a real coup for an innovative start-up like Fishy Filaments Ltd to be listed alongside them.

The other shortlistees in the category are;

Axion Group with 1env Solutions

HAHN Plastics

Marmax Recycled Products

Recycling Technologies Ltd

 

A video for the Circular Ocean event in Iceland

Prof Martin Charter, one of the organisers of the EU Circular Ocean Innovation Conference in Reykjavik, next week has asked Fishy Filaments for permission to show a short vid of the company’s work. This is what we sent. Its a bit rough and ready but we have something better in the pipeline, so watch out for that in a week or two 😉

Process resilience, filament storage and business progress

Nothing visual to share this time, just an update on activity.

On the technical side I’ve been testing process resilience and filament storage, but mostly I’ve been dealing with the business side of things, including the incorporation of a new company Fishy Filaments Ltd.

What’s process resilience ?

Basically its working out where the net recycling and filament extrusion processes can be interrupted, how often, what the consequences are and how the process might be recovered with minimum fuss and waste.

Its deeply unsexy. It inevitably involves destroying things and cleaning up afterwards, but it should result in a more efficient production process in the end, and better focused spending on hardware and future maintenance of that kit.

Its also a necessary evil for a new company doing new things in new ways. Unfortunately a Piccard-like ‘Make it so’ doesn’t work outside the bridge of The Enterprise.

Filament storage is a bit easier to understand.

Nylon needs to be dry in order to print at optimum quality, but unlike other nylons our 100% recycled fishing net filament doesn’t have any additional chemicals to reduce that issue or mitigate any other connected issues.

It prints well enough without them so we haven’t added any, plus as an aesthetic decision it makes more sense to stick to a 100% recycled product rather than add stuff. We’re all about sustainability at Fishy Filaments and every additive has its cost, both in economic terms and environmental. If we can do without, why not ?

But we still need to understand the best to methods to dry, whether there is a limit to how often it can be done, how long drying needs to be done for, what happens to the filament when you don’t meet the optimum parameters, all that good stuff and more.

One of the most interesting areas is when we put ourselves in the customer’s position and try to see how the material varies with post-production handling, as you may have seen with the work with dyes.

This will sound like heresy to many outside the 3DP industry but we don’t see the ability of a user to influence their own outcomes as a downside, even if it is outside our own recommendations or what we understand to be the product’s parameters of use. Experimentation is the norm in 3DP, so understanding how the material evolves with time and treatment is a part of our craft as well as our customer’s.

If every material was static in every way it would be like the world was made of Lego. While that might be appealing at some level it’s really not making best use of the capabilities of 3D printing or the 3D printing community. Moreover that kind of approach tries to ignore the fourth dimension, time, and if there is one thing that we know about plastics its that they will be around for quite a while.

Ultimately though this is all about anticipating customer experience and being able to offer advice to a engaged community of users rather than focusing only on technical aspects of production and lobbing the product over the parapet.

On the business side of things Fishy Filaments is now a limited company, with a business address and all that entails. As we approach commercial production we’ll have further news there. It takes time and patience but it has to be done.

 

 

17 days continuous immersion, 10 boil washes and still going strong

Everyone knows that nylon is hygroscopic right ?

It absorbs water from the atmosphere until it reaches an equilibrium point and that property can cause issues when 3D printing using nylon filaments. But what happens when you print a 3D form then immerse it in, lets say, a washing machine simulation?

The following photo shows a bunch of control forms, then the same design of form made from the same batch of the same recycled nylon monofilament. The second bunch has been immersed for 17 days continuously, exposed to sunlight (through a jar) and boil washed 10 times with a generous helping of a non-biological washing detergent called Surcare. OK, its not the harshest detergent in the world, but I hope you agree that this test scenario represents a good first go for any clothing related applications.

17 days and 10 boil washes
Left; Control form made of recycled nylon fishing nets and 3D printed. Right; Same material after 17 days immersed in detergent/water mix and including 10 ‘boil washes’

Some things to notice;

There is a slight bleaching of the original so we know that the detergent has been doing its job, but otherwise the nylon is showing is legendary resilience. There is no delamination, no cracking, no warping or visible deformation due to water ingress or absorbtion.

There is one key change though; flexibility.

Check out the clip.

 

As you can see the second form is far more easily deformed under pressure. It springs back very well when pressure is released but there is a definite change in its deformability.

In fact, the ease of deformation rose rapidly to a peak after a couple of days immersion and stayed around the same after that suggesting that the material had reached some kind of equilibrium state.

As a control on our control, we’ve also printed the same form using the industry leading ‘open source’ nylon filament. There is little discernable difference in print quality or in a squeeze test carried out after 3 days atmospheric exposure.

Obviously 17 days and 10 boil washes isn’t enough to prove definitely that 3D printed nylon forms can be used in clothing applications, or indeed fisheries, marine or water management applications, but its a damn good start. And I’ll repeat my statement from a previous post that this is all done using a sub-£400 printer and pre-commercial filament.