We love new 3D printing materials. Every material means new applications and more customizable production. The rise in flexible materials has made printed end-use consumer goods more desirable because they’re more impact resistant and comfortable. Clay and concrete materials are making the printing of houses possible. This new material runs along a similar vein in that it’s created from a geologic source: marble. The Marble EcoDesign project has set a goal of making a 3D printing material out of marble dust that’s created as a byproduct at marble quarries.
A large amount of powdery calcium carbonate piles up at the marble quarries in Coreno Ausonio, located in the Italian region Lazio. In an attempt to protect the environment around the storage places that hold this waste, a team of makers, architects, and graphic artists led by Michela Ruggiero is working on mixing the dust with resins to make it printable. But this is a bit more complex than LayBrick; the system will be a “hybrid FFF-light curing 3D printer.” The mixed-in resins will be UV sensitive, and it will still be extruded like clay through a syringe. A UV light will harden each printed layer. The prints probably will be something like LayBrick, so ideal for sculptures and architectural purposes.
Marble EcoDesign isn’t the first to tackle incorporating sustainability into printable materials; LayWoo-d3 has recycled wood pulp in it and Emerging Objects prints with salt and paper. These kinds of materials just make the sustainability and efficiency of 3D printing more apparent.