Timberfill wood-based 3D printing filament is a popular item in the Clean Strands' store. This past fall, I had the opportunity to meet Timberfill's founder, Josef Dolecek, who is the CEO of Czech Republic-based Parzlich and Founder of Fillamentum:
Rachel: How did you get involved with 3D printing?
Josef: That's an interesting question. I've known about 3D printing technology for a long time. We had industrial 3D printing machines at my university. At that time, practically all of the filaments were coming from China. I was sure that I could easily manufacture filaments, as I had very good knowledge about the materials, but I wasn't so sure that I could match the prices from China. After working on special filaments for medical applications, I became interested in producing a standard, simple printing filament with emphasis on quality and quick delivery. Our first customer was happy with the tolerances and quality, so we started deliveries for one OEM customer and after 9 months we introduced our own brand, Fillamentum.
Rachel: Why is your company focused on eco-friendly 3D printing?
Josef: My entire professional career, I've worked with polymers. Six or seven years ago, all of the polymers were made from crude oil. When the first biopolymers appeared on the market, they had extremly high prices and limited mechanical properties, so commercialisation for consumer goods had a big barrier. But, I was personally shocked when I saw the huge amounts of plastic scrap floating on Titicaca Lake in Peru/Bolivia- this garbage won't disappear for thousands of years. So, I decided to promote biopolymers through 3D printing. We are working to introduce new biopolymers with improved properties at affordable prices and I am happy that we are helping the environment.
Rachel: Is there a specific story that you'd like to share about 3D printing and the environment?
Josef: There are a lot of mistakes and misunderstandings with biopolymers. One of them relates to the biodegradability of PLA. People think that if it's a biopolymer, then it will degradate fast- some people even think that PLA will dissolve in water. This is not true. PLA is a biopolymer, but rapid degradation/ decomposition only occurs at higher temperatures – about 60°C- and in industrial composting conditions.
Rachel: Thanks Josef! We look forward to seeing your new products!