We’ve already talked about some more environmentally friendly plastics in previous Filament Fridays. This week let’s take a look at a filament that needs less plastic because it’s created with not only a renewable resource, but one that is over abundant: algae. Alga from Algix is a unique filament created with a combination of algae and PLA.
One life form that thrives in our modern, often overpopulated environment is algae, a group of organisms that range from small single-celled entities to large seaweed like giant kelp. In some places, algae blooms can run rampant, blocking light from reaching other organisms below and choking life in those waterways. Using algae as a construction medium can be a useful way of harvesting these blooms and keeping algae under control.
Alga prints with similar characteristics as other PLA-based materials but at lower temperatures, ranging from 175ºC to 190ºC. I printed at 183º splitting the middle, and found my print to be a bit stringy. Algix suggests lowering the print temp in this case, but my print also came out with some pocking, an inconsistency often attributed to extruder jamming from under temp extrusion.
Alga comes in a small range of colors that are beautifully muted earth tones and gives your prints a matte, semi rough texture similar to the Matte Fiber HTPLA we previously reviewed. The composition also resulted in a much lighter print, coming in about 5 grams under standard PLA (about 1/4 less).
While I think the print settings can be tweaked to result in a good print, my only real dig on Alga is the smell. I had been warned that previous formulas gave off a “scummy pond” odor that hung around too long. I was spared this. Instead it gave off an organic, chemical smell like some kind of solvent or air freshener gone wrong. I would definitely recommend printing Alga in a well ventilated space.
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If you have a filament you would like us to try out or are a producer of filament, email me at email@example.com and we will try to make it an upcoming installment of Filament Friday!