Designer Beer Holthuis was interested in 3D Printing but worried about all of the plastic created with 3D printers. He started to look around for a sustainable material that we could use. Once he hit upon paper pulp which is a waste product which we produce eighty kilos of per person per year he decided to make a 3D printer that prints with this waste material. Whereas Mcor already 3D prints in paper and this is already the cheapest and safest 3D printing technology and one of the most sustainable Beer wanted to print directly in the waste material.
This was the basis of Beer’s PaperPulpPrinter, the world’s first 3D printer to print pulp. The device itself is rather rudimentary at the moment and you can see it working above. He takes regular paper pulp and combines it with a natural binder. This means that the 3D printed products themselves can be recyled once again if we are done with them. This means that Beer’s paper pulp printing process can be closed loop and very sustainable in the long run. He then simply extrudes the through a syringe type extruder from a pressure vessel. The difficulty in this process would be how to stop everything from gunking up when the printer would stop.
I think that this is a lovely application for the technology. What’s more this technology would be super inexpensive and I can see a lot of objects as making sense using this method. I believe that there is real scope to commercialize this technology. I love the look of the products they have a super fun organic Flintstone kind of quality to them that makes them look like ancient and contemporary objects simultaneously.
What’s more I love how this new technology makes objects that feel so warm and fun as well as familiar to me already. Most polymer 3D printed objects have a certain cold technocratic feel about them and look fake or cheap. What Beer has done here is to make objects that have a kind of nice unmade casual beauty to them which I think is wonderful. It’s his parts that really make this shine and I would love for him to make inexpensive mass design objects for retail customers with this technology.
The pricing and sustainability should make this a totally doable proposition. Many designers nowadays are making making systems, whole new futures or museum pieces. Few are actually focused on making pieces that change the status quo and I think that these paper pulp objects could do this if marketed well.
Beer states that, “The design of the printed objects are using the possibilities and beauty of this technique. The tactile experience, bold lines and print speed results in distinctive shapes. The objects are also durable: Printed paper is surprisingly strong.” I love this technology and the objects that he’s made. I’m a tad skeptical about the lamp but I love the speaker and could see an entire line of decorative objects populate living rooms looking like artifacts from the future. New things that look like they’ve always been there.