Innovation That Matters

3D printing

3D printing method uses pulped paper instead of plastic


A new base product used for 3D printing could usher in a more sustainable future for the industry.

We have seen various innovations reusing waste for productive purposes, such as creating a biodegradable material out of potato starch or collecting rainwater to water plants. This Danish company is also using this sustainable approach to make the 3D printing method more environmentally friendly.

Beer Holthuis‘s Paper Pulp Printer uses pulped paper to create 3D objects instead of plastic. There is already enough plastic in the world for us to never need to create more. Micro-plastics are also having negative effects across the globe. Cutting down on plastic production is therefore vital for the health of the planet.

Holthuis’ new method replaces plastic entirely. Paper is pulped, making it a fibrous material that is easy to manipulate and mould. The pulp mixes with a natural binding agent to keep the material together as the printer builds upwards from the base. The pritner squeezes the pulp mix through a green nozzle in a similar fashion to plastic in a traditional printer.

This prototype can use paper sourced from household waste, thereby also reducing recycling and waste processing costs. The resulting objects are durable once they’ve dried, despite using an original material as delicate as paper. However, their print resolution is not yet as high as traditional 3D plastic printing. This rugged appearance makes them distinctive from traditional 3D printed products but could make them unsuitable for precise designs. They can be recycled when no longer needed, or even repulped for second use as a printing material.




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