Created like no other
Fishy Filaments’ recycled nylon (otherwise known as PA6) is unusual, possibly unique, in the world of 3D printing filaments in that we can track the polymers we reclaim all the way from their original sources, mostly in Japan, through the global fishing net supply chain, the commercial fishery and ultimately to our doorstep.
The reason this is possible is because the nylon used by commercial fisheries is made to very high standards in order to meet the demands of an extremely tough industry.
But just to make sure we know exactly what the net material is and where it is coming from we’ve carried out spectroscopy to confirm tracking documentation against data from global leaders in chemical analysis, and then gone on to commission independent 3rd party labs to make sure that the material we gather isn’t becoming contaminated or chemically altered through its life.
When it gets to us the nets have typically been used by Cornish fishers for 3-6 months, and very rarely any longer as their surfaces become cloudy and they stop catching fish. Net lofts around Cornwall re-string frame lines (the ropes on the top & bottom of each net panel) whenever a panel gets too worn or gets ripped, and we gather both full panels at the end of their useful life and fragments of repaired nets.
So the nylon might be a bit salty and have a few bits of seaweed attached but the underlying high quality polymer is still there and we do our very best to make sure that we don’t destroy its value by over processing, adding pigments or including other chemical modifiers.
All our polymer blends are 100% recycled. We add no pigments or other modifiers. Instead we work with the nets we receive, grade them according to colour and wear, and process them separately in order to maximise their potential. We then combine the grades to provide customers with a consistent blend that they can add their own uniqueness and value to through 3D printing.
Porthcurno is our premium blend, made from nets that were put to waste at the end of a fishing season or when a quota runs out. They will have had less than 3 months working life, perhaps not getting more than a couple of trips out before the season ends.
Nets start ageing from the moment their packaging gets opened and it can take a week or two between them being commissioned and them getting on board their boat. So a combination of weather, tides and that lag time sometimes means that the nets get very little use before the fish move away or have started spawning. The nets don’t stop ageing just because they aren’t being set to fish, so fishers usually prefer to start a new season with a new set of nets, even if they reuse the same frame ropes.
We named this blend ‘Porthcurno’ after one of the most spectacular beaches in the UK.
Home to the Minack Theatre, the Telegraph Museum and landing point for Great Britain’s global telegraph network from the 1850s, it remains an important communications hub even in the global internet age.
Its white sand beach is made from a high proportion of felspar, worn from the Cornish granite that makes up this part of the West Penwith peninsular, and in sunshine the clear blue waters look almost tropical. Porthcurno is a special place that combines arts with technology and innovation with heritage, and marks it Cornwall’s place in the world like no other.
The Porthcurno blend works well in applications where flexibility, translucency or dye-ability are useful attributes. Its light blue-green colour and highly translucent quality mean that it will take a wide range of off-the-shelf dyes extremely well.
‘Longships’ is our blend for applications where impact resistance and stiffness are needed. It is less flexible than ‘Porthcurno’ and more temperature resistant, but it will still take a dye well, so long as the colour is reasonably dark.
It is named after the lighthouse two miles off the tip of Land’s End, a remarkable structure that has been protecting seafarers of all kinds for over 220 years.
The Longships lighthouse marks the inshore limits of safe passage for larger vessels in an area of the sea that is subject to the full force of the Atlantic swell.
The blend’s darker green colour reflects the colour of the deepwater passage offshore, and is regularly seen by boats from the Newlyn fleet as they round Land’s End on their way to fishing grounds in the Atlantic.
Lamorna is still in development, but until we have enough of it we won’t be releasing it into the wild. What we do know is that, because it comes from a slightly different type of net, it combines multiple refractive indices giving the finished 3D printed body a dual-tone effect rather than presenting a simple single colour.
Packaging & Master Spool
We have tried to reduce the amount of non-recyclable material we ship along with your filament, but there is a balance between waste in packaging and waste of material due to damage in transit. We hope to have found that balance but we are open to suggestions as our product line evolves.
All our filaments are distributed using the MasterSpool concept to help reduce the amount of single use plastic in circulation and reduce emissions associated with shipping. It saves you cost in postage too.