Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am entering the 3D printing world is something no-one expected, really. It, however, is part of today’s reality and since this year’s January he officially may call himself 3D System’s Chief Creative Officer. You might possibly remember his somehow vague, but – who knows – brilliant speech about how the technique could change pop music forever. Now, a couple of months later, he’s back with his first big achievement in 3D printing: a conjunction with Coca-Cola to bring 3D printers to the market, which can create items from plastic bottles.
An eco-friendly 3D printer, in other words. This new printer is called the EKOCYCLE Cube printer and it uses cartridges with filament, partly – for 25 percent – obtained from Coke bottles. With those cartridges the machine is able to produce a wide variety of plastic objects, such as wrapping cases for smartphones, shoes and vases. The machine looks very modern and sleek, which is partly due to its open structure and partly because of the fact it solely uses a couple of colors, with red, black, white and natural as possible options for its main colors. The machine is based on one of 3D System’s previous printers: the Cube 3D printer.
Whether Will.i.am really is a visionary soul or just a marketing tool for big brands will probably be something for the world to find out in the upcoming years. We, however, must admit he has the charms and his first big project with Coca-Cola is something really cool. The main problem about contemporary 3D printers is that most of them produce a lot of plastic waste, because of the filament required to 3D print plastic objects. If a consumer 3D printer is be able to fight its own eco-unfriendly principles, then this surely is a big step forwards for the 3D printing scene.
3D Systems is not the first company to use old waste in order to create something new. Chinese company WinSun made the news in April by 3D printing ten houses in one day, therefore using construction as well as industrial waste. In addition, this 3D printer by 3D Systems also applies to results from a recent study by a team from Michigan Technology University (MTU). Their findings were that it’s actually cheaper to use plastic waste for 3D printer filament then to recycle it, as using it for filament costs less energy. They got these results from a life-cycle analysis on an ordinary milk jug, which you can read more about here.
3D Systems writes the following about this project:
“The EKOCYCLE is not just another tool for making, it is a revolutionary tool for RE-making, and encourages and helps us to change the way we think about recycling.”
The EKOCYCLE Cube printer will enter the market during the second half of 2014 and it will be priced 1,199 dollars. It is possible to already order the printer via this link. But as for 3D Systems, that’s not just it. Remember their collaboration with candy brand Hershey’s? Both parties are currently working on a candy food printer, which could be promising for the candy industry. Well, 3D Systems certainly is a 3D printing brand to keep an eye on for the upcoming months.
Image credit: 3D Systems/ Coca-Cola/ EKOCYCLE Cube.