3D printing with recycled materials

3D printing has been a hype for a while, from printing prototypes to prosthetic arms, its been making a huge breakthrough on how we build things. It allows us to see the process in a different angle, cutting down labour and even saving time. More related to design, we have people printing fashion patterns and designs.

This is Fabricate, a 3D printer that is designed to print patterns for high street fashion, making it more accessible to the public.

Some artists also use this technology to create sculptures, and even instruments to make artwork. This is a completely 3D printed working pinhole camera. Imagine having the file on hand, and being able to print it at home with your portable 3D printer. No longer will you need to buy it from a store, you can personalize it.

Though the product is usually what fascinates people, the process of printing it is even more interesting to me. A 3D printer is not cheap to buy, and even if you can get one for 200USD, you will still have to buy your filaments, which is usually made of plastic. There are also other forms of materials like glass, wood, metal etc. But they will cost even more. One thing these material all have in common, is that none of them were recycled.

You may ask, is this important enough for us to talk about it? Yes. Yes it is.

Making Plastic creates pollutants, in many cases they are not recyclable. When you do your recycling how many kinds of plastic can you actually put in those bins? What if we can recycle as much as we can, while creating filaments for our prototypes? That is how we can truly be green!

So is it possible? After researching online, I have found companies that already produce filaments made out of recycled materials, and they range from old car parts to plastic bottles. Here is one of the companies called Refil, and the price tag is not cheap, as it comes with a 29euro price tag per roll.

Eventually, DIY solutions definitely is more considerable. First, you have to make your own filament machine. The name might scare you but you can easily find instructions online to build one.

After building this machine, you can collect easy materials to start with, such as water bottles, milk jugs etc.

Let’s see an example!

Think of all the possibilities! As an artist, it is also important for me to acknowledge sustainability, and how the materials I use affect the environment around me. Therefore, researching and creating my own renewable materials is something I want to look into.





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