MaterialDistrict

3D Printed Beeswax

A simple printing extruder has been developed that allows for printing with beeswax. The extruder fits onto desktop sized 3D printers to make printing easier. The two Dutch designers, Olivier van Herpt and Joris van Tubergen, created the machine so that temporary, disposable objects can be printed from beeswax.

The wax used is first melted to 60°C for extrusion. Once it has been printed into the required shape, it hardens. Some simple examples are shown of the result.

The idea behind the beeswax printer is what sets it apart. In a creative capacity, the designers feel uncomfortable adding more material and more objects to the world, as it is clear that we already have a great deal of ‘things’. It is also less and less necessary to build new objects, many of which end up in attics, dumps or the oceans.

But for designers it is that creative drive and will to build and to make things that stimulates. So the search is on for materials and processes that allow this. Beeswax is one option, although it is really only feasible on a small scale. Large objects will surely continue to be made with (hopefully biobased) plastics and other mass-production materials.

The big advantage of the process described here is that the wax can be melted down for reuse very simply, with minimal waste. This means that a relatively small amount can last a long time, allowing for sustainable prototyping. So perhaps the beeswax extrusion device can create more of a buzz in the field of 3D printing.

More information on the designers: the websites of Olivier van Herpt (also image credits) and Joris van Tubergen.

Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Sounds like the bees knees to me!

  2. Alison says:

    Brilliant idea as I have a bee in my bonnet(!) about recycling.