Aaron: First off, thank you so much for joining us on the Mixer Direct blog. Can you start us off by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do at Algix?
Ashton: Glad to join y’all! My name is Ashton Zeller, and I am the Director of Research & Development for ALGIX companies. This means that I get to spend my days figuring out how to get algae into as many plastics and products as possible.
Aaron: Many people are not aware of the fascinating capabilities of algae. What are a few of the main things people need to know about algae and its capabilities?
Ashton: At ALGIX, we focus on utilizing algae for its high protein content, which is what makes it work great with plastics. Algae are one of the world’s fastest growing plants and can be used for a wide variety of applications. As worldwide populations grow and global temperatures increase, algal blooms are only going to keep increasing. Thus, we consider algae a truly renewable resource.
Aaron: When did algae and the 3D printing industry intersect and why?
Ashton: ALGIX has been in the business of developing and commercializing algae-based plastics since 2010, but in April of 2015 we decided to enter the 3D printing market by developing high performance and environmentally sustainable filaments for the FFF market….including the world’s only algae filament! We made the business decision to enter the 3D filament market because we already had the logistics, vertical integration and lab facilities to develop and produce bioplastics. We knew that we could quickly innovate and bring new materials to the 3D printing industry, which in our opinion, has been held back by the limited materials available to it.
Aaron: Why choose algae over other 3D printing materials in the market?
Ashton: Our ALGA filament (an algae filled PLA) has a really unique texture and aesthetic compared to most other filaments on the market. If someone doesn’t want their finished print to scream “I Am Plastic”, then ALGA is a good fit. Some users of ALGA include: designers, artists, archaeologists, jewelry makers, architects, owners of Etsy stores, furniture manufacturers, and people who want their prints to have a natural look.
Aaron: Can you tell us about ALGIX 3D and its manufacturing process?
Ashton: At ALGIX 3D, we do not only produce filaments with algae, but we also have other products in our portfolio that are all biobased and compostable, while still being high performance. We take pride in having very stringent quality control practices. You can see this video on our Youtube channel for all the info:
Aaron: What end user was ALGIX 3D designed for?
Ashton: ALGIX 3D products are designed for anyone who 3D prints, wants good quality filament, less headaches while printing, high performance end use parts, and wants all of this while also using materials that are better for them (low toxicity fumes) and better for the environment (biobased and compostable).
Aaron: What do think the future holds for ALGIX 3D in the 3D printing industry?
Ashton: At ALGIX 3D, we plan on continuing to develop and release high performance filaments. We believe that the 3D printing industry has great potential to transform so many industries and individual’s lives, and we are going to do our part to move it forward by providing wider material selections to the market, while also staying true to our core value of environmental sustainability…so stay tuned.