The world of 3D printing materials has expanded massively as the technology has matured, with applications now available using everything from titanium to chocolate.
But let’s be honest: a lot of 3D printing still uses durable plastics like ABS, a thermoplastic also popular in injection molding.
Unfortunately, plastic use comes with a catch, and increasing concern over its disposable bits littering the world was enough to inspire designer Beer Holthuis to develop a new 3D printer that uses paper waste, in pulp form, as a material.
The new contraption takes the pulp and, once combined with a natural binder, spits out beads of goo that harden to form what he calls a “surprisingly strong” end product. Currently, Holthius seems to view this as a good option for artists and makers to design more creative, sustainable objects quickly. But the real beauty part of the PaperPulpPrinter is that the objects themselves can actually be reused as material in the printer once again, making the entire process a closed loop.
As for industrial applications? Well, this stuff doesn’t look too different to me than some of the more novel modern packaging materials. NPR recently reported that growing demand for companies to cut plastic waste was causing some to pivot towards alternative materials for protective packaging such as cardboard or other hard papers that can offer the protection of plastic.