Fishy Filaments

by Ian Falconer in Helston, England, United Kingdom

Fishy Filaments
We did it
On 29th March 2017 we successfully raised £5,078 with 53 supporters in 56 days

Fishy Filaments takes used fishing nets and recycles the plastics contained in them to produce high value filament for use in 3D printing.

by Ian Falconer in Helston, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

Any additional funds will advance the design of the filament packaging, put towards a professionally made set of promotional material and any left over will be used to establish and register the company formally.

The spools used to package 3D printer filament are normally made of non-recyclable thermoset plastics. We are committed to using recycled material for the vast majority of the packaging material, though it is unlikely that we will  reach 100% (unless we can find a way to print the lettering using squid ink). To do this we need to work with an external packaging specialist.

To this point marketing the idea has been less important than the technical work or network building, but to make the step-up from pre-commercial to fully commercial we will also need to make that step in spending on marketing. Viewers will have seen the video used to support fundraising. It has been made with what we term "an appropriate amount of slickness" for the stage of the project. 

Finally as we switch from R&D to commercialisation there are some legal formalities required to establish Fishy Filaments as a limited company and register it with the appropriate authorities for waste handling, VAT and the like. Really dull but important stuff.

The Pitch;

The plastics contained in used fishing nets are a valuable raw material. They shouldn't be thrown away after one use.

Fishy Filaments wants to help by getting its hands dirty and making long term change for the better a reality rather than an aspiration.

We want to recycle marine plastics locally, by doing so capture the whole value of those materials for the local economy rather than burning it, burying it or exporting it.

We have the idea. We've proven the technology can work. We've built 'The Network' on the ground.

As a start-up we don't have the ready cash needed to take the next step and prove that the business works.

But as a crowd you do !

If you believe that is worth trying to establish a local plastic recycling capacity in Cornwall, one with both a social and environmental conscience, then we ask that you help us get to the next stage.

Some details;

We're working with the support of Fishing for Litter (South West) and The Newlyn Pier and Harbour Commissioners, with the aim of taking both caught marine litter and end-of-life fishing nets, processing them locally and producing a valuable hi-tech material for the fast-growing 3D printing sector.

The project has already demonstrated a world first (harbourside nylon gill nets to a 3D printed form) and gained valuable understanding of the science and engineering of net recycling.

The ultimate aim is to go into self-sustaining production, securing supplies of used fishing gear from around the county, and maybe further, making local hires and selling the 3D printing filament to a national or possibly global market. For Fishy Filaments a sustainable business is one that is self-supporting as well as being socially and environmentally responsible.

However before we can get to that full scale roll-out, there remains a phase of up-sizing and product testing that needs to be done. It is this advanced feasibility study that we are asking for help with. To complete it the R&D kit that we've used so far needs to be replaced by bigger and better production machinery.

The £5000 target is sufficient to buy the professional-quality equipment necessary to produce a testable product and construct demo pieces from that product.

Technically we've proven the process. Now we need to prove that a business can be built on it.


Fishy Filaments is offering a range of pledge options, some of which include 3D printed plastic items as rewards. These rewards are made from PLA, a bioplastic whose raw materials are cornstarch or milk. We have conducted independent tests to confirm that the PLA used does indeed degrade over time.

Given the nature of the issues surrounding marine plastics we have also given pledgees the option to NOT recieve a plastic item, even one that we feel is appropriate, and we respect that choice.

Our rewards include;

3D printed mirror mascots (~10cm long)

3D printed key fobs (~7cm long)

These items were produced by Fishy Filaments in Cornwall using an open source design posted on Thingiverse by StevenDuval (


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£10 or more

£10 Reward

A heartfelt thankyou ! Thank you for believing that plastics should be used more than once and that the little guy can make a difference. Donors will be recognised on the Fishy Filaments website unless you decide to be anonymous.

£15 or more

21 of 500 claimed

£15 Reward

A Fishy Fob Thankyou for believing in the mission that Fishy Filaments is on. This 3D printed fishy keyfob will help remind you of us.

£30 or more

1 of 200 claimed

£30 Reward

A Boney Mirror Mascot Thank you for believing that plastics should work well in the right plaice ! Your 3D printed boney mirror mascot is made of a biodegradable thermoplastic called PLA that is made from plant material.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Timesaver pledge. This is deeper issue for you and want to help, but you have lots to do and £10 doesn't seem enough. We'll put you in the VIP seats on our website, thanking you for your obvious commitment.

£100 or more

0 of 10 claimed

£100 Reward

Be a member of the panel of product testers. Do you REALLY want to be part of this ? You'll need to have a 3D printer capable of reaching a nozzle temperature of almost 300°C and be willing to risk putting a new material through it to become one of up to ten product testers that helps us reach the next stage. We'll give you a spool of 3D printer filament from our new pilot plant and ask you to contribute to the final product development.

£500 or more

0 of 5 claimed

£500 Reward

Superbacker ! Not only will you get the other rewards (apart from product test panel membership), but you will also get a 2 for 1 deal on filament every month for a year when we get to production.

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