Nov 22, 2016 | By Benedict

North Dakota materials company 3D-Fuel has introduced “Landfillament,” a new 3D printing material made from recycled waste. To create the material, municipal solid waste (MSW) is subjected to pyrolysis, which produces a char byproduct that can be used as filament.

Although operating a 3D printer can demand a lot of energy, many companies in the 3D printing industry are working hard to create green products that make additive manufacturing a more environmentally friendly process. Given the sheer volume of plastic waste produced around the world every day, perhaps the most important group of eco-friendly 3D printing products is recycled filament, with companies like InnoCircle and Better Future Factory making use of car parts, PET plastic bottles, and other waste to create functional 3D printing materials.

Another business looking to make 3D printing as green as possible is 3D-Fuel, (not to be confused with British 3D scanning company Fuel3D) a 3D printing materials company from Fargo, North Dakota, whose new Landfillament 3D printing material is made from recycled municipal solid waste. Just like Doc Brown in Back to the Future II, the company has found a way to turn trash into a valuable resource, giving makers a chance to print objects safe in the knowledge that their material choice is benefitting the planet.

To make MSW into a printable material, 3D-Fuel first removes all metals from the mix, before running the remaining waste through a process called pyrolysis. Through this process, which involves the thermochemical decomposition of organic material at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen, a char byproduct is created, which can eventually be used as 3D printing filament. The gas byproducts of the pyrolysis are also retained for new uses, meaning each spool of Landfillament sequesters .909lbs of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emitted by a car driven 1.1 miles.

Interestingly, 3D-Fuel’s Landfillament isn’t its only eco-friendly filament, with the company also having developed materials made from coffee, beer, and hemp. With the addition of Landfillament, which prints a solid black color, customers now have a range of safe, Earth-friendly materials at their disposal. “We love that all our c2composites have a great story behind them,” says Jake Clark, COO of 3DomFuel (a merger of 3Dom and 3D-Fuel) North America. “Lots of other creators value the story behind their materials. Like a carpenter using old barnwood or a sculptor using clay from their favorite beach. Why can’t 3D printing have that?”

As a unique project for Landfillament users, 3D-Fuel has posted a Thingiverse design for a miniature trash can. So when using the black Landfillament 3D printing material, makers can enjoy the "circle of life" moment of fabricating a trash can out of trash. The fun object can be printed without rafts or supports, with a resolution of 0.2 mm and infill of 10%. According to Fuel-3D, Landfillament prints well at 180-210°C, or around 10°C cooler than PLA.

Landfillament, like all of 3D-Fuel’s other c2composites, was developed in collaboration with c2renew, a biocomposites company also based in Fargo. The new filament will retail for $39.99 for a 500 g spool of either 1.75 or 2.85 mm filament.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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