Demands for filament in the tone of skin were becoming more and more frequent. At the beginning we were subtly pushing this task aside. Honestly, we didn't know where to start. After all, there are 8 billion people in the world, what tone to choose for SKIN filament?
In our office alone, there are 10 of us, and each of us would have a different tone to match. But in the end we accepted the challenge. Also because it is not so easy to find SKIN filament in other manufacturers. And that is why we decided to produce the SKIN edition of filaments right here in Haná.
He also dealt with the issue of SKIN filament shade and provided us with data from The Johns Hopkins Hospital located in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Based on this data, we obtained the 7 most common tones used for the production of prostheses in this hospital. Some might argue that this is data from only one hospital, but even this was enough to get us started. Pantone's swatch book offers 110 different skin tones, so narrowing it down to 7 colours thanks to the data obtained was very beneficial.
We then had to decide what input material to use for the SKIN filament. PLA, PLA+ or PETG were in play. In the end we decided on PLA+ mainly because of its matte appearance, which is more skin acceptable than the glossier PLA. Our pigment supplier developed the shades for us and there was nothing stopping us from starting production of the SKIN edition. In the spring of 2022, the first test spools of SKIN filament were produced. Of course, we were the first ones to print them. Our test print was a prototype of a bionic hand. No problems arose during printing, as printing from PLA+ is user-friendly, the colours were consistent, matching the skin tones, so the next step was to decide what tones to present to our customers. We decided that we would make a final selection of 4 tones of SKIN filament to put on sale. But what was the key to select these 4 shades?
Volunteers from the world-famous e-NABLE organization helped us with this. People from all over the world responded to our call for SKIN filament testing and our SKIN filament test spools flew to the USA, South Africa, Algeria, France or Turkey. A big thank you goes out to the shipping company ByTorp s.r.o., who helped us with sending out these filament test kits and arranged everything free of charge. Volunteers then printed the filament, commented on the look and print and each of them selected 4 TOP shades.
And here are our winners - Pantone shades 480c, 479c, 478c and 477c. Also for the sake of better traceability and communication, we decided to keep the filament named after each Pantone shade.
You may be one of those who have already had the opportunity to try this filament out. Samples of selected shades were presented at the Maker Faire in Prague in September 2022 and then at the East Coast RepRap festival in Maryland in October 2022. We are still in touch with e-NABLE volunteers, SKIN filament has been available in the US since November and on our e-store since January 2023. Don't let the name fool you, SKIN edition doesn't have to be used for printing prosthetic devices only, but the individual shades can be used for design printing of models, buildings or nature-themed items.