Dr. Kevin Hart is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, WI. His research interests lie in additive manufacturing and advanced, multi-functional materials. Dr Hart is co-inventor of the technology.
Prepared for Flight:
- 1st 3D printing filament with the strength and resilience to replace injection molded components
- Solvent resistant polymers
- Condensed prototype time frame while maintaining form, fit, and function
- Shorter time to market
- Price competitive with standard ABS filament
Designed to Disrupt
The Materials Platform for Advanced Manufacturing
3D Printing Agility, Injection Molded Strength
- Dual-polymer filament composed of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate (PC)
- Robust ABS-PC meso-structure created through patented thermal drawing process
- Stronger, more mechanically robust material than ABS or PC filaments
Engineered to Perform
More than the Sum of its Parts
- StellaFortis outperforms ABS:
- >300% increase in across-layer Tensile Strength vs. ABS
- 460% improvement in Izod Impact vs. ABS
- 1600% higher Fracture Toughness vs. ABS
Prepared for Flight presents a new category of filament products. Our MVP is StellaFortis. Latin for “Strong Star”, it helps additive manufacturing (AM) engineers and plastic component manufacturers who want to use Additive Manufactured parts in load-bearing applications by combining the agility of 3D printing with the strength of injection molding. Unlike other filament manufacturers, we utilize a patented dual material design that enables tough and strong 3D printed solids.
How it Works
“Conventional polymer filaments for 3D printing are made up of a single polymer,” Eric Wetzel (Co-inventor, ARL) said. “Our innovation is that we’ve combined two different polymers into a single filament, providing a unique combination of characteristics useful for printing and building strength.”
The dual-polymer filament combines acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS, with polycarbonate, or PC. A critical design feature of the filament is that the ABS and PC phases are not simply mixed together, a common approach for creating blended polymers. Instead, a special die-less thermal drawing process developed by ARL is used to create an ABS filament with a star-shaped PC core. Once coupled, the filament is used as feedstock in a desktop fused-filament fabrication (FFF) printer to create 3D prints with a heavy-duty ABS/PC meso‐structure.
Dr. Wetzel is the Team Leader for Multifunctional Materials, and Research Area Leader for Soldier Materials, at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Aberdeen, MD. His research interests span a range of topics, including ballistic textiles, multifunctional composite materials, additive manufacturing, and two-dimensional materials. Dr. Wetzel has co-authored over 80 peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters, and holds 23 patents. Dr Kevin Hart, P.E., is the other inventor of this technology.
- High product customization
- Low production volumes (<200) / replacement components
- Extreme environments/uses requiring superior thermal and mechanical resilience
- Tooling and jigs
- Custom equipment: sports, medical, construction
- Replacement UAS components (military, agriculture, law enforcement)
- Manufacturing at Point-of-Need (forward deployed/extreme locations)
- RAPTOR components (military)
1.Can Stella Fortis be used on any 3D Printer?
Stella Fortis requires an FFF extruder capable of printing above 240 ℃.
2.How does print temperature impact production?
We had success at printing at 240 ℃ and 280 ℃, with higher temperatures shortening annealing time. In FFF 3D printers with heated enclosures, there is a high probability that annealing is occurring during printing.
3.Are optimal print settings provided? If so, where?
Yes, the optimal print settings are included in every spool and downloadable for CURA. Simplify3D profiles will also be available on our website.
4.Where can I find additional information about your technology?
For more information about our technology, please see the page we put together during FedTech’s National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) Defense Innovation Accelerator (DIA) in 2021.
Prepared for Flight’s engineering leads who are developing this amazing technology
Ed Wyrwas is a serial entrepreneur and inventor working full time for NASA GSFC in EEEE parts assurance, leads the executive team of Prepared for Flight, a venture studio and think tank, and provides STEM mentoring to several academic programs. Ed is on two working groups for additive manufacturing of non-metallic polymers and is a sponsoring founding member of Nation of Makers. His background spans electrical and computer engineering, electronics reliability and failure analyses, cybersecurity, full stack development, and rapid prototyping. Simply put, Ed is a hacker and maker.