World’s First 3D Printer That Uses Paper Pulp Instead Of Plastic

Dutch designer Beer Holthuis developed a 3D printer that uses paper waste instead of plastic.
An all-in-one lamp and shade produced by the Paper Pulp Printer

The market for 3-D printing or additive manufacturing is booming because of its exceptional and interesting advantages over traditional manufacturing. Apart from lesser production costs, the printed object in 3-D printer comes in a perfectly smooth finish. Moreover, for short production runs, the lead time of 3-D printing is less, and it allows the creation of very complex shapes without additional costs. But, one setback with 3-D printing is that it relies too much on plastic- one of the harmful materials for the environment. Though the market of materials is rapidly growing and there are several other available materials like metal, ceramics or glass. But most materials are hybrid and use PLA as a base.

 Sustainable 3D Printing with Paper Pulp-Paper Pulp Printer

Beer Holthuis- The Developer of World’s First Paper Pulp 3D Printer

Dutch designer Beer Holthuis noticed this problem and started searching for a more sustainable material for 3D printing. This has led him to design a 3D printer that uses paper waste instead of plastic. It was the world’s first paper pulp printer to replace plastic. The idea for paper pulp printer comes to Holthuis because of his interest in sustainability.

As around 80 kilograms of paper per person is wasted every year, so the product designer decided to recycle this waste and hugely used material.

How Does the Paper Pulp Printer Work?

The printer is just like any other 3D printers, it works similarly to them. To create the desired design, it requires regular wet paper pulp with a little natural binder so that the layers stick to each other. The use of natural materials in the manufacturing process ensures that these can be recycled. So, there is a loop system, which will make it more eco-friendly and sustainable in the long run.

 Sustainable 3D Printing with Paper Pulp-Paper Pulp Printer

There is an electric motor that turns a wheel to press down a plunger into a cylinder having the wet raw pulp material. The pressure vessel then extrudes the pulp through a green tube at the bottom and over to the print head. The main problem with the printer is when it stops how to avoid it from gunking up.

How Does this Paper Pulp Printer Look?

Holthuis developed the basic open printer from ply. This printer has a moving print bed and an extruder that goes in the y-axis (vertically) and goes through belts in the x-axis (horizontally). The pulped paper for this can be sourced from household wastes.

 Sustainable 3D Printing with Paper Pulp-Paper Pulp Printer

The Printed Product

Though the print resolution of the final product isn't great, they have an ancient and rough charm to them.

 Paper Pulp Printer

According to Holthuis, “The design of the printed objects uses the possibilities and beauty of this technique,” He added “The tactile experience, bold lines and print speed results in distinctive shapes. The objects are also durable: Printed paper is surprisingly strong.”

Check out the video below to see the printer in action:


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