Emerging Objects Now 3D Prints with Used Car Tires
If you ever wonder what materials it could be possible to 3D print with the number one studio to turn to is Emerging Objects. For the past fours years – at least – the studio founded by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello has truly pushed the boundaries of both filament extrusion and binder jetting powder bed technologies to explore material possibilities in digital, additive manufacturing: they have 3D printed with salt, wood, paper, cement, clay, food and even powdered blood. Now they are 3D printing with one of the most challenging yet potentially disruptive material: the rubber in used car tires. Used car tires are among the largest and most problematic sources of waste in the world. An enormous volume of tires manufactured each year, but they are not biodegradable, and they contain a number of components that are ecologically problematic, such as the embedded metal found in steel belt radial tires. However, the same characteristics that make waste tires problematic, their cheap availability, bulk, and resilience, also make them attractive targets for recycling. It is estimated that 259 million tires are discarded annually in the U.S. alone, and perhaps recycled tires can be a viable material for 3D printing. Emerging Objects has developed a formula for using recycled rubber content in 3D printing using tires that are cryogenically reduced to a micronized rubber powder with many possible applications in the building industry. We envision using this material to make 3D printed outdoor furniture and as 3D printed panels for exterior building components such as wall panels that can be used as for acoustic and sound dampening purposes. The Rubber Pouff is 3D printed out of our recycled rubber tires and can be used as a low seat, a foot stool or a playful object.The Rubber Pouff is printed in eight parts that are adhered together to make one strong piece. The detailed, beveled texture on the surface of the pouff gives the appearance of button tufting which makes the piece look padded and soft and contributes to the overall materiality and haptic quality of the object. Project Date: 2016 Project Team: Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Kent Wilson, Alex Schofield, Vuong Dao Additional Information: Raw material support made possible from Lehigh Technologies.