CES2017: Dissolvable Support Material

Over the last year, it seems the next big thing in 3D printing is dual and multi-extrusion. This gets you multi-colored objects, but if you have the right filament, it also allows you to print objects that would otherwise be impossible to print. This week, Airwolf 3D announced their HydroFill water soluble support material. They had a few sample prints and a fish tank, and yes this stuff does dissolve in water quickly.

There were a few problems with dissolvable support material in the past. PVA is water soluble, but it doesn’t print well. HIPS can be dissolved in limonene, but the resulting goo is toxic. Airwolf’s HydroFill beats both of these filaments, and the prints compare well to what E3D showed off with their Scaffold filament recently.

Check out my video below where [Jack Licorish] goes over the characteristics of HydroFill.

20 thoughts on “CES2017: Dissolvable Support Material

    1. Their claim is that it dissolves. It dissolves. Their claim is valid.

      To answer your question instead of your obtuse skepticism, the blend is ‘proprietary’. To be fair, that’s also the recipe for e3d scaffold with the addition of, “the coating on Advil GelCaps”

      1. > […] your obtuse skepticism

        Why this hostility? After all we’re hackers. And hackers want to know how stuff works. There’s always a tension between that and trying to earn money by preventing people from knowing (aka “proprietary”).

        We got to live with this tension. I don’t think animosity helps here, but accepting that there might be different (respectable) motives at work.

        Myself, I sometimes choose to avoid stuff when I feel that the manufacturer actively prevents me from knowing. Do I hate the manufacturer for that? No, I just tend to take my business elsewhere (and I’m ready to pay more money for an open design).

        Live and let live. Love, hugs and a good 2017!

      2. If you used your brain instead of your asshole you’d also understand that it is claimed to be usable for printable support in a 3D printer. Making things that dissolve is easy, making things that do dissolve when wanted but not when printing, exposed to a humid atmosphere, misc. varieties of proprietary plastic blends (a.k.a filaments) is another. But that doesn’t cover it all – even if the material is stable in that it doesn’t dissolve before it should there are many more potential problems like the interfacing with plastics, swelling etc.

        How about not behaving like an asshole when someone wants basic information?

        1. > If you used your brain instead of your asshole […]

          You mean… for extruding? Well, for me that works definitely better. The couple f times I tried extruding with the brain I ended up with a bad headache.

          (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. And yes, I know the rant wasn’t directed at me, but rather at the guy I just ranted at, but: c’mon, folks. Don’t be so brutal. The year is young yet!)

  1. Yet another use for multi-extruders. I am waiting for the multi-extruder that extrudes conductive and non-conductive flexible material.

    Just one question –
    If soluble means able to be dissolved, then does dissoluble mean able to be soluble? Is it like an ATM machine? perhaps.

  2. Why i never seen a filament based on hot glue? Simply heat it up, melt it out, and grind it to make filament again (if you have filament extruder). No solution to anything, no toxic goo, and it’s recyclable.

    1. probably because it does not print very nice?
      what you suggest does already exist: you can recycle your filament to ake it into new filament. The downsides are that it is a pain to fine-tune to get good filament, and you only get to recycle it a few times before the polymers have degraded too much.
      As for the hotglue: the invention-myth associated with FDM printing is a guy making christmas cards with hotglue and stacking multiple layers on top of eachother to make simple shapes.

  3. I want to give it a try, I bought their koolaid after for some reason Eva bought my scammy-beggy beg for a ridiculous deal on a kit when I don’t think it was even offered by them. Maybe they just feet sorry for a poor dork in one of their earliest commercially produced Prusas with a rigid laser cut rigid frames. The thing is still running strong and was about the best you could ask for at the time. After some research it turns out they are a real nerd couple and apparently I got one of the first, in fact the first printer they had ever made in black ABS at that point. My mother in law vowed to never schlep stuff for me again after having to explain the contents of her luggage (AW3D v.4 kit)to the customs cops who made her swear to never try to import something so suspicious and hard to explain again and waved her through.
    Anyways the printer has been an experience of realizing that there are those in the world who can simply nuke me from orbit in both refining an engineering design and managing a business, so I am willing to take a chance on their secret sauce when in comes to soluble support, I even wonder if it was an email from me a few years ago re:soluble support and dual head printing which started this ball rolling.

    1. just print in abs and dump it in acetone, many plastics can be dissolved by something, the plastics labelled for dissolvable supports just does so easier and/or with less toxic chemicals.

    2. Oh nice, not ‘think about the children’ but ‘think about the weapons’…
      A CNC lathe or mill is much more dangerous in that manner than a 3D printer, and they have been around for years.

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