After colorFabb, Proto-Pasta, and Kai Parthy have acted as pathfinders and demonstrated that thermopolymeric filaments can be combined with a wide range of other materials, two young Italian companies, Ira 3D and TreeD, are taking the lead in experimenting with new materials.
The results are impressive, ranging anywhere from aluminum to wool.
Italians are a strange lot: sometimes they are the first to discover something (see Christopher Columbus, Volta, or Meucci), but either they need to go abroad to find investors or someone comes along and capitalizes on the same intuitions. Other times, they arrive second on new trends but they improve them and make them their own, exporting them globally (pasta being a prime example). This is what has been happening with Making, 3D printing in general, and, now, the development of filaments. … (read more)