3D printed ceramic cooling tower takes inspiration from termite mounds

They say everything in nature has a purpose for existing, even if their existence is a nuisance to us humans. Scavengers, for example, are nature’s janitors and recyclers, putting dead things to good use. Even termites, whose presence is often a death sentence for homes and structures, are important to the ecosystem, and they can apparently serve as artful inspiration as well. Maybe not the termites themselves but the complex tunnels they create inside their mounds. These patterns are actually meant to facilitate airflow, which makes it the perfect reference for a man-made cooling solution that brings natural design and technology together to create a more sustainable solution to hot temperatures.

Designer: Rameshwari Jonnalagedda

There has been some interest in alternative cooling solutions, especially those that don’t consume too much electricity or none at all. Traditional techniques, particularly evaporative cooling that makes use of clay pots or pipes, have gained a lot of traction, especially because they can become decorative pieces inside modern homes. That said, the old methods don’t exactly scale well to today’s climate, room sizes, and needs, so designers have to think a bit outside the box to come up with a better solution to fit modern needs.

TerraMound looks to termites for one part of the solution, particularly how their shapes exemplify high surface-area-to-volume ratios, meaning how much surface area there is in a compact space. Surface area is one of two critical elements in an evaporative cooler, and that is made possible by utilizing complex geometric patterns that look like artistic versions of termite mounds. Such a design would be impossible to do en masse by hand, which is where 3D printing comes in and where the project’s uniqueness really shines.

The other critical element to this type of cooling solution is porosity, which is why clay is the preferred material for this kind of cooler. Clay is also not a typical 3D printing material, which is what makes this ceramic cooler design even more special. This method can eventually be extended to large-scale 3D printing technologies, allowing the quick and easy production of facade panels, walls, and other structures that not only look beautiful but can also help improve airflow in buildings.

As a cooler, TerraMound isn’t completely passive, as it has a fan at the bottom to draw air upwards. A planter sits on top as a source of water that trickles down the desktop cooling tower, utilizing the absorbent properties of the terracotta clay to help the evaporation process. It also acts as a distinctive and beautiful piece of table decoration, one that you wouldn’t have guessed was inspired by something we humans consider to be pests.

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This Pocket-Friendly Home In Kazakhstan Is 3D-Printed In Just Five Days

Designed by BM partners and 3D-printed using one of COBOD’s BOD2 models, this unnamed home in Almaty, Kazakhstan is deemed as Central Asia’s first 3D-printed house. The home is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and seismic areas. It is irrefutable proof that 3D-printed homes can handle such challenging situations. And what’s even more interesting is that the home can be printed in five days, while also being cheaper than a conventional home.

Designer: BM Partners x COBOD

To print the walls of the home, the COBOD 3D printer ejected a cement-like mixture in multiple layers from a nozzle, much like typical 3D-printed architecture. But, a very strong cement-like mix was utilized, since Almaty has very strict seismic regulations. This mix can withstand extreme weather conditions and even an earthquake up to 7.0 on the Richter scale.

“To enhance the building’s structural integrity, BM Partners used a special strong concrete mix with a compression strength of almost 60 MPa (8,500 PSI), substantially exceeding the 7-10 MPa (1,015-1,450 PSI) typical of conventional brick and stone used in Kazakhstan,” said COBOD. “This mix, comprising locally sourced cement, sand, and gravel enhanced with the D.fab admixture, a joint development of COBOD International and Cemex, allows for customized concrete formulations tailored to regional needs. Considering Kazakhstan’s extreme climate conditions, varying from minus 57 to plus 49 degrees Celsius (minus 70.6 to plus 120 degrees Fahrenheit), the building incorporates expanded polystyrene concrete as insulation for the walls, enhancing both the thermal and acoustic performance of the wall.”

Once the cement-like mixture has been extruded, and the walls have been constructed, human builds add doors, windows, and furniture to the home. The whole process from the printer setup to the installation of the future takes around two months. The end result is an interior space with a floor area of 100 sq m, all located within on floor. The home has a simple and uncomplicated layout, amped with generous glazing, and a spacious living room. The home perfectly showcases the expansive capabilities of 3D-printed construction. The home is currently priced at roughly US$21,800 making it much cheaper than the cost of average local homes.

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Spidique Chair Harmonizes Computational Intelligence And Human Touch For A Sustainable Future

The introduction of plastic in manufacturing has been a double-edged sword, celebrated for its unmatched convenience and versatility, yet criticized for its environmental impact. The true ecological footprint of plastic largely depends on its post-production management. Efficient recycling significantly diminishes its environmental harm. Embracing sustainable design by minimizing plastic use while achieving robust and elegant structures is a path toward eco-friendly innovation. Inspired by this philosophy, the designer of Spidique created a plastic-based chair, using advanced simulations to ensure structural integrity and aesthetic appeal.

Designer: Siqi Yang

Spidique draws inspiration from renowned designers Ross Lovegrove and Luigi Colani. Lovegrove is known for using cutting-edge technology to craft futuristic and organic forms, evident in Spidique’s mesh-like structure reminiscent of Lovegrove’s Formula 1 metal perfume bottle. Colani’s mastery of round, organic shapes is seen in the chair’s fluid lines. These influences combine to create a design that marries modern technology’s mechanical precision with seasoned craftsmanship’s artistic touch.

Spidique’s manufacture relies on 3D printing technology, utilizing Ameba software and the Bidirectional Evolutionary Structural Optimization (BESO) algorithm. This algorithm is critical for topological optimization, designing a chair that is both structurally sound and material-efficient.

The design process unfolds in several stages, beginning with algorithm execution, where parameters are set to generate the chair’s initial shape. This is followed by evaluation and refinement, where designers assess the initial model for ergonomic and aesthetic qualities, making necessary adjustments to enhance comfort and visual appeal. Next, the refined model is prototyped using 3D printing technology and undergoes rigorous testing for comfort, durability, and user feedback. Based on this feedback, further refinements are made to ensure the design is optimal for production.

The iterative process continues until the design achieves the desired balance of comfort, aesthetics, and sustainability. This process highlights the interaction between computational precision and human-centric design. While the algorithm provides a precise and optimized structure, the human touch ensures the design meets ergonomic and aesthetic standards.

The designer’s research emphasizes 3D printing technology in furniture manufacturing, exploring its potential to drive innovation and enhance sustainability. A comparative analysis contrasting traditional furniture production with 3D-printed methods involved surveys of 20 furniture designers and 100 consumers, along with creating multiple prototypes using CAD software and 3D printers. Findings revealed that 3D printing could reduce material waste by approximately 25% and shorten production time by about 30%, highlighting its potential for significant environmental and commercial benefits.

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3D Printing is Shaping Modern Product Design: Here’s How

In the ever-evolving landscape of product design, from ideation to realization, 3D printing technology is revolutionizing contemporary design practices. 3D printing technology employs computer-aided design (CAD) and fabricates objects layer by layer. Commonly used in manufacturing, automotive industries, and industrial product design for creating tools, parts, and prototypes, this process, also known as additive manufacturing, layers materials like plastics, composites, or bio-materials to produce objects of varying shapes, sizes, rigidity, and color.

Designers: Nexa3D and Mocu Desig

The commonly selected 3D printing technologies include Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), PolyJet, and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). XiP is an advanced resin 3D printer by Nexa3D, offering professional-grade printing at speeds 6 times faster than SLA printers and over 10 times faster than filament 3D printers. With a 4.8L build volume and a 9.3″ 4K Monochrome LCD, it delivers crisp details. Its compact desktop design houses industrial LSPc technology, ensuring stability with a billet aluminum enclosure and precision ball screw Z-axis platform. The printer supports a wide range of resins, including proprietary formulations for diverse applications, all dispensed through smart recyclable cartridges.

What are the benefits of 3D Printing?

• Reduces Costs:

3D printing offers significant cost advantages over traditional manufacturing methods due to its automation, resulting in reduced labor expenses. Moreover, its minimal waste production leads to lower material costs.

• Produces Complex Designs

3D printing exceeds the design constraints of traditional manufacturing, enabling the creation of intricate designs, including square or circular punctures or abstract designs with fewer restrictions.

• Promotes Internal Manufacturing

3D printers enable rapid prototyping, eliminating the need for outsourcing. This accelerates the design and production of new products, enhancing overall efficiency.

• Rapid Prototyping

3D printing enables the production of designs that were previously impossible with conventional manufacturing methods. By transforming digital files into physical parts within hours, this technology allows companies to adopt an on-demand manufacturing model for parts. 3D printing offers a comprehensive solution, facilitating prototyping, and short-run production, thereby transforming every aspect of businesses.

• Minimizes Waste

Traditional manufacturing generates substantial material waste due to inefficiencies while additive manufacturing minimizes waste by precisely utilizing materials, only using what’s necessary for each product or part. This is a great way to reduce material costs and improve environmental sustainability for companies.

• Manufactures Diverse Products

Industries across the board are leveraging 3D printing for a diverse range of products. From consumer goods like eyewear and furniture to industrial tools and automotive parts, technology is reshaping manufacturing. It’s also vital in healthcare for prosthetics and orthotics alongside architectural models. Additionally, the film industry benefits from 3D printing for creating intricate props.

Top 10 Examples of 3D Printing in Product Design

Here are Top Ten examples of how 3D printing is used in product design across various product types:

1. Handbags

Designers: Julia Koerner, Kais Al-Rawi and Emma Sanson

Acclaimed Australian designer Julia Koerner merges nature and computer algorithms with 3D printing and innovative resin-based techniques to create her award-winning handbag collection, resulting in visually lightweight yet rigid designs with a distinctive skeletal aesthetic. Inspired by the organic shapes of dried kelp found along the Pacific coastline, Koerner’s KELP MINI handbag seamlessly blends artistry with functionality. Each meticulously crafted handbag is created with sustainable plant-based materials and solar-powered manufacturing, offering clever design elements like hinged bases and snap closures, making them ideal for storing essentials with style and efficiency.

2. Tiles

Designer: bioMATTERS

MYCO-ALGA presents a groundbreaking interior tiling solution that transforms bathroom aesthetics. These 3D-printed tiles are crafted from repurposed natural waste and living organisms, featuring captivating designs inspired by organic forms. Sustainable at every stage, MYCO-ALGA tiles undergo a precise process encompassing digital design, 3D printing, organism cultivation, and bio-pigment enrichment. As a result, the outcome is eye-catching tiles with unique, non-repeating patterns resembling crawling organisms, that offer both lightweight durability and visual allure that effortlessly merge style with sustainability.

3. Air Purifiers

Designer: External Reference

Barcelona-based company introduces Pure Plants, 3D-printed sculptures doubling as air purifiers. Utilizing Pure.Tech technology efficiently absorbs and neutralizes indoor pollutants like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Mimicking plant structures with geometric patterns, these sculptures enhance decor while promoting healthier indoor air quality. Crafted from sustainable Pure.Tech biomaterial and PLA bioplastic derived from corn dextrose integrate aesthetics with eco-consciousness.

4. Footwear

Designer: Matthew Blunt

EXPLR 02 is a futuristic 3D-printed shoe blending wireframe-inspired aesthetics with organic elements. Crafted with advanced techniques, it epitomizes modern manufacturing’s versatility. While challenging footwear norms, questions linger about real-world durability. Yet, EXPLR 02 signifies a leap in innovative, personalized shoe designs, shaping the evolution of 3D-printed footwear.

5. Table Lamp

Designer: Felix Pöttinger for Gantri

The 3D-printed Hula table lamp, envisioned by Felix Pöttinger, ingeniously merges direct and indirect lighting to efficiently illuminate spaces, tackling urban living challenges by minimizing glare. Its ring-shaped shade, reminiscent of a hula hoop, is available in Snow, Forest, and Blossom Pink, adding a distinct flair to any setting.

6. Living Soil Walls

Designer: Ji Ma, David Carr, Ehsan Baharlou, and Spencer Barnes

The University of Virginia research team has developed an innovative 3D printing method using soil infused with seeds to create plant-covered structures like walls and roofs. The team’s eco-friendly approach integrates greenery into architecture, providing natural insulation, flood prevention, and green spaces. By minimizing materials and utilizing locally sourced resources, their process reduces emissions and waste. With plans to expand their prototypes and improve their soil ink formula, the team aims to contribute to carbon-neutral construction.

7. 3D Printed Homes

Designer: Progreso x COBOD

Architecture is no exception in the age of ubiquitous 3D printing, with many firms favoring this method for building structures. Cement company Progreso recently collaborated with COBOD to construct Guatemala’s first 3D-printed building to withstand seismic activity. This compact home, completed in just over 24 hours, merges modern construction techniques with traditional craftsmanship, featuring organic-shaped walls and a traditional palm leaf roof. With a footprint of 527 square feet, the structure operates as a fully functional living space capable of withstanding extreme seismic events.

8. Chairs

Designer: Johannes Steinbauer Office For Design

Oeschler’s new manufacturing technique, demonstrated in Johannes Steinbauer’s Office for Design’s 3D-printed seats, eliminates traditional materials while maintaining comfort and functionality. 3D printing is reshaping furniture design and manufacturing, introducing innovation in sustainability and functionality. With a simple yet versatile design, these chairs offer easy assembly and recyclability, signaling a promising future for 3D-printed furniture in the industry.

9. Recycled Wood

Designer: Aectual

Wood is a preferred choice for its eco-friendliness, yet shaping and recycling pose challenges. Enter 3D-printed wooden partition screens and window coverings, offering a breakthrough solution. While 3D printing democratizes design, it also increases material waste, prompting a search for sustainable options. Crafted from wood waste and fortified with natural elements, this innovative material resembles wood in appearance, texture, and scent. Moreover, its circular lifecycle allows for recycling into new forms, minimizing waste. Despite potential production cost concerns, its promise for intricate designs and sustainability makes it attractive for environmentally conscious designers.

10. Homeware

Crafted by Vienna-based designer Nicolas Gold, renowned for his expertise in “Tiny Furniture,” this collection employs 3D printing. The range comprises vases, bowls, planters, and lighting, all crafted from lightweight, recyclable bioplastic sourced from corn. This blend of architectural precision and modern technology results in sophisticated homeware where design, architecture, and 3D printing harmonize seamlessly. The Tiny Architecture collection showcases intricate patterns such as the asymmetrical Bloz and fabric-like Fald, crafted from partially recycled materials to enhance their individuality.

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Build your own NAS Cloud Drive using a Raspberry Pi 4 and a 3D Printer

Why pay for iCloud when you’ve got your own personal iCloud at home?!

Subscriptions will be the death of our civilization. Imagine not being able to ‘own’ something because a company only allows you to rent it. You don’t own the movies you pay for on Netflix, you don’t own the music you pay for on Spotify, and you can’t own storage on the cloud because even though you’re buying 500GB worth of space, you’re merely renting the space on a cloud server somewhere. This strange arrangement has led to the rise of personal NAS (Network-Attached Storage) devices, with people choosing to simply BUILD their own cloud storage devices instead of paying Apple, Google, or Microsoft for them. The advantages of a NAS are many – you don’t need to pay monthly fees, your cloud-drive is private to you so you don’t have to worry about Google or Apple getting hacked and your data getting leaked, but most importantly, you can store and access files on your NAS from anywhere. Use it to take phone or laptop backups, to store/watch videos, or even build your own music/movie streaming library as the ultimate cord-cutting move!

Designer: Frank Bernhardt

If you’re looking to buy a NAS, there are quite a few out there, but if you want to try building your own, DIY-maker Frank Bernhardt managed to put together one using a Raspberry Pi 4 module, a few extra components, and a 3D-printed enclosure. His entire process is up on Instructables for anyone to see and make, although you’ll definitely require some technical knowledge to get the software up and running.

Bernhardt’s NAS runs on a Pi4 module, connected to an SSD. The entire enclosure’s printed out of plastic, with metal inserts to screw the NAS together. Instead of simple status LEDs, Bernhardt even put a functional screen on the front that displays messages and the time of day when sitting idle.

One of the primary considerations in this project is the design of the enclosure. The enclosure needed to meet several specifications: it should allow access to the power and network connectors from the rear while keeping the USB connectors inside for a clean aesthetic. The use of melt-in brass threaded inserts ensured durability, and the compact size made it printable on a standard 200 x 200 mm 3D printer bed. The design avoids the common 90-degree offset for connectors typical in Raspberry Pi cases, streamlining cable management. Moreover, the enclosure does not require active cooling, reducing noise and making it suitable for SSDs.

Here are the materials and components used in the entire build:
Devices for computing and storage

  • Raspberry Pi 4 or 5 with power supply, 2GB RAM is sufficient
  • 32 GB micro SD card, SanDisk Extreme PRO recommended
  • One or two 2.5″ SATA hard disk drives, SSD recommended
  • One or two USB 3.0 to SATA adapter(s), Sabrent adapter(s) recommended

Software

  • Raspberry Pi Operating System Image (Pi OS Lite, 64-bit no desktop)
  • NAS Software for Raspberry Pi OS, openmediavault recommended

Component parts

  • 10 x M3 brass threaded inserts
  • 10 x M3x5 screws (4 more for the second hard disk drive)
  • 4 x M2.5 brass threaded inserts
  • 4 x M2,5×6 screws
  • 4 x M3x6 countersunk head screws
  • 1 x Keystone module RJ45 Cat 6
  • 1 x RJ45 Cat 6 patch cable (length or color doesn’t matter)
  • 1 x USB type C male connector plug to solder
  • 1 x USB type C female connector jack 2 pin with wire
  • 1 x SH1106 1.3″ OLED module I2C 128X64 4 pin
  • 1 x 4-pin cable with Dupont female connectors, either self-made or ready-made
  • Some PLA filament for your printer with the colors you prefer.

Printing the enclosure involved creating four main parts: the tray, device rack, side lid, and an optional stand. The tray required support structures for the connector openings and display window, which can be generated using slicing software. The rack holds the Raspberry Pi and hard drives, ensuring that the components are securely mounted. The assembly of the rack with the Raspberry Pi and hard drives necessitated precision, particularly when melting the brass threaded inserts using a soldering iron.

The next phase involved setting up the Raspberry Pi OS and configuring the network. Using the Raspberry Pi Imager, Bernhardt installed Raspberry Pi OS Lite (64-bit) onto a micro SD card. Essential settings such as hostname, username, password, and SSH enablement were configured during this process. Assigning a static IP address to the NAS ensured consistent network access, either through the Raspberry Pi OS, openmediavault, or a DHCP server, with a provision for regular patches and security updates

After the software setup, attention shifted back to hardware. The USB-C power connection and OLED display installation were critical steps. The USB-C socket was soldered inside the enclosure due to space constraints. The OLED display, used for status updates, was delicate and had to be installed without bending. Properly connecting the display to the GPIO pins of the Raspberry Pi was essential, ensuring to match the pin configurations correctly.

For the network connection, a keystone module simplified connectivity and future upgrades. By attaching a patch cable and keystone module inside the enclosure, the LAN port became easily accessible, accommodating both Raspberry Pi 4 and 5 models. This modular approach facilitates easy maintenance and upgrades, ensuring the longevity of the NAS setup.

Once the hardware assembly was complete, the OLED display software was installed. A Python script displays various system metrics on the OLED screen. The script runs at startup, continuously updating the display. Finally, the NAS software, openmediavault, was installed. This software provides a user-friendly web interface for managing the NAS, making it accessible and easy to configure. The installation was straightforward, and upon completion, the NAS was ready for use, with a commendable 500GB of storage.

Bernhardt’s Raspberry Pi NAS required a fair bit of technical expertise, but the process worked out MUCH cheaper than spending hundreds on a readymade NAS. If you’re looking for a nice summer project for yourself, you can build your own Raspberry Pi NAS too by following Bernhardt’s instructions here.

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3D Printed Chess Set pays respect to the Ukraine invasion with a poignant war-themed design

Unless you are Elon Musk and believe chess is “too simple to be useful in real life,” you know, chess is a strategic and competitive game. It requires meticulous planning and clear objectivity. If you don’t have an objective in mind, your moves will be directionless and you will end up wasting time thinking and moving without purpose. Through the gameplay, it instills cognitive thinking, benefits mental well-being, and can now be a source of thoughtful restoration in the war-torn Ukraine.

Cuibiono, a design-first not-for-profit, has been at the forefront of providing aid to the regions where geopolitical conflicts like war have damaged humanity. With the new chess set, it has conceived using recycled biomaterials (PLA) and 3D printing, the NGO is giving everyone a chance to jump onto their journey of creativity, sustainability, and giving back, helping make a difference and restore homes in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Designer: Cuibiono

The stackable chess set is inspired by the war-torn and displaced Kharkiv, which has been on the receiving end of the Russian invasion. Called the Kindachess – S, this set 3D-printed from naturally degradable bioplastics – features a board segmented to depict the nation under war. It is designed as fractures on the earth’s crust. But when it’s stacked to be stored, the dividing lines on the board form the Ukrainian flag to depict unity and the satisfaction of returning home.

The idea of a chess set whose profit from sales proceeds would go into restoring homes in Kharkiv is the brainchild of designer Liam Hwang of Cuibiono. The compact, stackable chess set is 3D printed sustainably in Hackney, London. It measures 200mm x 200mm when laid out for playing and fits into a case measuring 290mm x 164mm after use.

This is not Cuibiono’s first such sustainably driven product with the idea of giving back. The NGO states, “we are committed to sustainability.” All the products designed in their facilities are crafted with eco-friendly materials (like recycled PLA in the case of the chess set). The chess set, selling in two color contrasts: wheat and sky, ivory and walnut, is now available at £200 (approximately $250). Buy now, and support the cause becoming a part of the community that cares.

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These quirky 3D printed spectacles have a unique sinewy design with no metal hinges

Eyewear fashion, I believe, is a constantly evolving realm and a new contender has emerged, disrupting the status quo with its bold and distinctive design. Tangled Eyewear, as its name suggests, embraces the beauty found within the chaos, presenting a captivating blend of disorder and elegance that challenges conventional aesthetics. If you’re a fashion enthusiast, you’re going to love what’s coming!

Designer: Aleš Boem

When you first see Tangled Eyewear it definitely appears as a statement piece, commanding attention much like a messy situation draws our gaze. However, upon closer inspection, its intricate design reveals a harmonious fusion of chaos and sophistication. The chaos and elegance of its tangled frames serve as a poignant reminder that beauty can emerge from the most unexpected places.

The concept of an ‘organized mess’ is a familiar one to many, particularly in today’s fast-paced world. Just as we might navigate through the chaos of a cluttered room with ease, Tangled Eyewear invites us to embrace the beauty found within the tangle. Its intricate design echoes the complexity of modern life, yet within its chaos lies a hidden order waiting to be discovered.

Tangled Eyewear pushes boundaries with its embrace of disorder. Through high-end 3D printing techniques and unconventional shaping possibilities, each pair of Tangled glasses is a testament to the creative potential found within apparent disarray. The result is a dynamic design that captures the eye and sparks conversation.

What sets Tangled Eyewear apart is its commitment to both style and functionality. The ergonomically modeled frames cater to both prescription and sunglasses wearers, ensuring a comfortable fit without compromising on design. With frames and sides hand in hand, Tangled Eyewear offers a seamless blend of form and function.

One of the most impressive aspects of Tangled Eyewear is its versatility. Whether you’re attending a lavish party or a corporate event, these frames are sure to make a statement. The key lies in the choice of color, with options available to suit any occasion or outfit. From vibrant hues to understated shades, Tangled Eyewear offers a solution for every style dilemma.

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3D-Printed from food-grade silicone, Reusable is a collapsable, pocket-friendly cup you can carry anywhere

Recycle and Reuse have become the buzzwords today. Most materials – single-use plastic excluded – are being recycled, and some plastic items such as bottles are reused to restrict them from reaching the landfills. Plastic pollution is therefore a big menace globally that designers are trying to solve with potentially innovative ideas. In that league we came across the Reusable: a collapsable, reusable cup that is made from food-grade material and fits right in your pocket so you can carry it wherever your routine takes you.

Disposable paper cups have been around for a long time now. Not essentially made with the purpose of being reused, such cups have to reach the landfills after one time use. All right, some of these to-go cups are recyclable, but some paper cups contain a plastic or wax coating – to prevent leaks – rending their unrecyclable. This is where a solution like the Reusable makes a lot of sense, not essentially because it can be recycled at the end of life, but since it can be reused a multitude of times before it can be retired from the lifecycle.

Designer: Kalina Gotseva

The brainchild of British-designed Kalina Gotseva, the Reusable has been 3D printed from durable, food-grade silicone. Made in a unique twisted design, after thousands of iterations on paper and other materials, the Reusable is made collapsable, transforming the cup from a full-sized option to a compact form factor that allows it to fit in the pocket.

Making a silicone cup with all the intricacies to make it reusable, the cup is a direct benefit product for millions of tea and coffee drinkers around the world, whose day wouldn’t start with the pipping hot beverage picked from the driveway in a throwaway one time use cup. This scenario could change with the benefit of Reusable which you can flip out of your pocket and have your drink served to you in it.

With the foldable and reusable design, the question of safety and convenience does arise in the mind. Gotseva has taken care of every detail, starting with making the entire foldable design self-contained. For that, the designer ensured that the body of the cup folds down flat and it can then fit securely in its cap to remain intact and dust-free in your pocket/bag. The protective cap is not just the Reusable’s case, in fact it has a tested push-and-pull slider on the drinking hole, which offers leak-proof convenience, so you can carry and drink your beverage safely, at your convenience.

The Reusable despite all the nifty features has sleek aesthetics paired with an ergonomic grip and three interesting color choices to pick a cup that matches your style. Created from BPA-free silicone, the cups are colored – with food-safe options – during the injection molding process. These are available in dark blue, light aquamarine, and vibrant orange colors to choose from. I don’t know about you, but I’m waiting for the Reusable to hit the market. My pick is orange, what’s yours?

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Sustainable 3D printed chair needs no glue or screws to connect its pieces

Flat-packed products like tables and chairs have definitely changed the furniture design landscape and altered consumers’ tastes. But while these designs do make it easy to store, transport, and sometimes assemble pieces of furniture, they often also end up being bland in the name of minimalism, not to mention tedious and cumbersome to repair or dispose of, despite the supposed ease of assembly. Thanks to new manufacturing techniques and technologies, especially 3D printing, there are now alternative methods and designs possible, including a beautiful chair that’s not only made from sustainable materials but is trivial to assemble and disassemble because it doesn’t even use screws or adhesives.

Designer: Eva Dugintseva

3D printing has definitely come a long way from the flimsy plastic materials that they started out with. We can now print objects using a variety of materials, including metal, chocolate, and soon, even wood. It’s even possible to use recycled PS (polystyrene) plastic, which helps reduce the negative impact of mass-produced plastic chairs. That alone already makes the Som Chair concept notable, but that isn’t the only trick it knows, not by a long shot.

Thanks to 3D printing, it was possible to experiment with and use shapes that would normally be costly to pull off on a mass production line. In this case, the chair is made from two separate bent shapes with ridged surfaces that make them look like dozens of plastic tubes stuck to one another. The main structure of the chair has a small gap for the smaller piece to slide into, forming the three legs of the chair. Instead of using glue or screws, this simple mechanism, along with physics, give the chair its stability.

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This means that the Som Chair isn’t just easy to assemble, it’s also easy to take apart if you need to move it or even dispose of it. It might be possible to break down and recycle the plastic to make other objects, making it a little bit more sustainable, despite being made of plastic. You can also mix and match designs or replace only parts that are broken, giving the design more longevity as well.

Granted, this design won’t be as flat as a flat-packed chair, but you can package two of these together in a single box. Being 3D printed, there’s also more leeway in possible designs, giving this asymmetrical Memphis Milano chair more personality than your common minimalist yet plain flat-packed variety.

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3D printed recycled wood could kickstart another design industry revolution

3D printing blasted the doors of creativity wide open by allowing almost anyone and everyone to create complex designs on demand. That market started with different kinds of plastic but soon supported other materials as well, including metal and even chocolate. The popularity of this style of design and production, however, also meant a surge in material waste, especially different kinds of non-recyclable plastics. There is a greater need for more sustainable alternatives, one that can perhaps even support a fully circular lifecycle. There is perhaps no better material that meets those requirements than wood, which is why this new 3D printed wooden partition screens and window coverings could very well represent the breakthrough that the design industry needs.

Designer: Aectual

Designers have a soft spot for natural, sustainable materials and wood is perhaps one of if not the most favored one. It is easily sourced, though not quickly replenished, has unique aesthetics and textures, and can decompose safely. That said, it’s not easy to form wood into complex shapes and structures, even if you carve out the design, and the material isn’t exactly easily reusable even after being recycled. This new 3D printed wood addresses all those shortcomings, offering an almost perfect material for bringing intricate, sustainable designs to life.

This sustainable new material is itself made from wood waste blended with some natural ingredients such as lignin and cellulose. It is then reinforced using vegetable fibers like flax or hemp to give it the same durability you’d expect from wood. The result is a composition that doesn’t just look like wood but also feels like the real thing. In fact, it even smells like real wood, a trait that’s hard to reproduce on other synthetic wood alternatives.

Aectual’s material, however, does something even better than wood. After a 3D printed wooden product reaches the end of its life, it can be shredded and then reprinted into some other or the same form. This creates a truly circular lifecycle where the material is reborn again and again as long as it retains its integrity and stability. And when it can no longer be reused, it still degrades and decomposes safely just like ordinary wood.

Of course, it’s a 3D printed material, so it’s almost trivial to create structures and shapes that would be extremely difficult if not impossible with regular wood. You can have intricate repeating patterns that join together with no visible seams, or alternating shapes that are made as a whole rather than composed piece by piece. It might be too early to claim a complete victory, as the process of creating this 3D printed wooden material might still be too involved and too costly, but it’s definitely a great start in producing a viable alternative to designers’ most-loved material.

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