Get ready to 3D print carbon nanotube-reinforced objects

We can already 3D print using carbon fiber, fiberglass or chocolate. Now, add carbon nanotubes to the list. Year-old Silicon Valley-based startup Arevo announced today it will offer carbon nanotube-reinforced filament.

Carbon nanotubes are made of rolled-up, atom-thick sheets of carbon (also known as graphene) and can be used as an additive to boost an object’s strength. They are also conductive, which means they could be used to print items that can conduct electricity. Arevo is also offering carbon fiber-reinforced filament, ultra-tough plastic PEEK and other polymers.

Objects printed with Arevo's filaments. Photo courtesy of Arevo.
Objects printed with Arevo’s filaments. Photo courtesy of Arevo.

The startup is also offering software and a 3D printer head optimized to work with the special filaments.

The Arevo team isn’t just a group of RepRap fanatics (who, to be fair, have come up with their fair share of 3D printing innovations) working out of their living room. Its founder and CEO, Hemant Bheda, has been CEO of plastics company Quantum Polymers since 2008. And his team is working with an established polymer company to source some of the plastics.

This is further proof that PLA and ABS plastics will not dominate desktop 3D printing forever. And it’s also proof that materials that were once difficult to work with are receiving a boost from 3D printing.