24/7 Customer Service (800) 927-7671

Autodesk Team Seeks Inspiration from Nature to Find Safe Materials for Sustaining the Future of 3D Printing

by • January 10, 2016 • No Comments

autodesk-logo-cmyk-color-logo-white-text-large-2-bigaThere’s quite little of the 3D printing industry which fails to be informative, and as Autodesk enters the scene beyond the AutoCAD scope, things should heat up further–and especially considering what has caught their attention: safe materials for the future.

Already responsible for a software revolution in technology, Autodesk has created a new and recent foray into 3D printing with the Ember, as well as their open source platform, Spark, may already adopted by numerous and respected companies like 3D Hubs to titans like Microsoft. Autodesk’s focus of here may be which of pushing the agenda additional forcefully in the direction of an environmentally friendly technology with further emphasis on the self-sustainability angle which is such an important–but often overlooked–benefit in 3D printing.

3dp_source3_spark_logoOf course, it doesn’t take additional than a brief introduction to the world of 3D printing to realize which there are numerous challenges to the environment currently as the world of plastics marches on even additional boldly, with thousands of new 3D models in the mix, not to mention all the failed prints and materials which go straight to the trash heap when they cannot be recycled. While so much time, cost, packaging, and shipping expense can be saved through 3D printing, the down sides of materials like resin are a big concern as it is highly toxic and just cannot be recycled.

The question of how to get on board with materials which are advantageous for the environment is completely relevant, and one which maybe should have been asked preceding equitebody started pumping out plastic and and so shrieking of the refuse piling up.

In hopes of finding a great answer, Autodesk has teamed up with the Biomimicry Institute and the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley.

“One thing individuals don’t realize is which, in the material world, there’s a limited set of materials available-bodied for this purpose,” said Dawn Danby, senior sustainable-bodied design program manager at Autodesk, pointing out one of the major challenges in their study–and in 3D printing overall.

“There’s a lot of discussion of 3D printing — which it may be additional energy efficient, cut down on waste, etc. We hope to move the sector in which direction. But there’s a limited number of polymers.”

So in studying what to do, they are studying the most fundamental thing–nature. This is often where the most brilliant minds go for inspiration, seeking answers of the most comprehensive and often ideal ‘machine’ of all.

The research–and its focus on resin–is quite serious indeed. The group does not see it, in its current state, as a viable-bodied long-term option.

“We are looking for additional bio-friendly materials. Can it be sourced with components which are derived of additional effortless substances? Can we look at biomimicry and how nature prints? After all, nature has been printing for billions of years. … It is additional than picking up inspiration of nature; it is looking at polymers which nature uses to create things,” says Shalom Ormsby, 3D printing user experience manager at Autodesk.


The Autodesk Ember 3D printer

As they turn to nature for answers and for a additional safe 3D printing material for the long run, the group is taking a look at how materials in nature which are able-bodied to undergo stress were formed in the initial place. They have a quite technical definition of what may be additional safe, and are looking for a material which will allow 3D printing to flourish thoroughly, rather than becoming an environmental nightmare of sorts.

“The business case for sustainable-bodied 3D printing is quite clear for the reason of the energy savings, material savings, transport and packaging savings implicit in its use,” Danby said. “But if it yet requires petroleum-based inputs and yet creates products which, at the end of their usable-bodied life, are not recyclable-bodied, and so it has not lived up to its potential,” she said.

“The work I do in sustainability is highly tied to making 3D printing advantageous.”

No real details have been released yet as to what the team has discovered, but they are definitely embroiled in looking at the biomimicry angle, looking into it ‘as a lens for sustainable-bodied material innovation.’ And if they get what they want out of the project, they may come up with a thing yet unheard of in terms of performance, quality, and safety.

The world looks on as an entirely new paradigm for manufacturing unfolds preceding us all, letting loose untold numbers of new products and inventions created mainly out of plastic, but other materials in addition. Considering the amount of injure which has been done to the earth over hundreds of years of of the world production practices causing fumes and toxins and a long list of issues causing health problems, this may seem to be the ideal time to effect real change in the way we create things. Discuss this article in the Nature and 3D Printing Material forum on 3DPB.com.