Nearly everything I make 3d printed these days is based on the question “what’s it for?”
And oh yeah, Dinovember:
Display. Industrial. Kitchen. Entertainment or Play. Everything you’re going to make on a 3d printer these days has an ideal material and it hasn’t taken long for the prosumer market to come up with a host of materials to suit the needs for stuff you want to make.
I think of most of these materials under some basic rules:
Fading – is it going to maintain it’s basic color
Wear and durability – can it take the forces you foresee
Waterproofing – is it bouyant and weatherproofed
Sterile – can it be sterilized
Inert – is the chemically reactive
And that’s just for starters. But the truth is that most of the 3d printers you can get commercially are going to melt a form of plastic or slowly cook come kind of resin.
Look at how much we complain about plastic but look how far it gets you on a daily basis.
Most manufacturers have already figured this out and made forms of plastic that degrade naturally in landfills- PLA, or Polylactic Acid. Hopefully, those claims are true as I’m not sure how well tested they are IN landfills.
I honestly have made things I don’t mind keeping, using and reusing. But I also know people have questioned the waster material that is generated when you throw away support material.
With some basic research you should be able to find out the method your community or city uses for waste management. If you have an industrial level composting capability in your area, and you REALLY want to separate your PLA waste products, you should be fine taking them there. The catch some point out is that PLA is made by so many different people. Some are even made to melt at higher temperatures and are being mixed with outer fillers to get different print properties.
I imagine that as the usage of 3d printing approaches Walmart kind of ubiquity, we’ll be in some trouble again and need ANOTHER alternative material. But by then, there might not be any Walmarts. Hmmm.