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3D Printing with Coffee Grounds


So, you’re a coffee lover? Well, it turns out that your morning ritual might just be saving the planet! According to a groundbreaking study from the University of Colorado Boulder, those used coffee grounds can do more than just kickstart your day. Assistant Professor Michael Rivera and his team have concocted a method to 3D print an array of objects using nothing but old coffee grounds, water, and a few eco-friendly extras.

From Espresso to Earrings

The team has dabbled in using coffee grounds to craft everything from jewellery to pots for your leafy pals. And here’s the kicker: it’s a breeze to adapt this technique for the most budget-friendly 3D printers you’ll find on the market.

Rivera beams, “You can make a lot of things with coffee grounds. And when you don’t want it anymore, you can throw it back into a coffee grinder and use the grounds to print again.” It’s like a never-ending cycle of creativity!

Brewing up a Sustainable Storm

This ingenious idea was born right in the heart of a coffee shop. When Rivera was a grad student at Carnegie Mellon University, he frequented a cosy café called Arriviste Coffee Roasters. They used to hand off their used coffee grounds for composting, but when the pandemic hit, that came to a screeching halt.

“The owner told me, ‘I don’t know what to do with it. So I just throw it away,'” said Rivera. That’s when the lightbulb moment happened. He looked at those discarded grounds and thought, ‘Maybe I can do something with them.’

Turning Trash into Treasure

Rivera explains the magic formula, “To make the material, you take dry spent coffee grounds and mix in the right proportion with cellulose gum and xanthan gum. Then you add that combination into some water until the mixture has the consistency of peanut butter.”

And the printing process? Simple as pie. Load it into a syringe, hook it up to your 3D printer, and voilà! They’ve even put their creations to the test – dropping them, and guess what? They didn’t break!

A Glimpse into the Future

Now, you might be wondering, could this become the new norm for 3D printing? Rivera thinks it’s more of a stepping stone. He envisions this as a gateway to discovering even more sustainable materials that could eventually bid farewell to plastics.

Conclusion: Brewing a Greener Tomorrow

So, next time you savour that cup of Joe, remember, it’s not just waking you up; it’s waking up a new era of sustainable creativity. The potential of coffee grounds as a 3D printing marvel is just the beginning. Who knows what other everyday items might find a second life? To delve deeper into this eco-revolution, head over to the Utility Research Lab’s website and be inspired!

Think you’ll be turning your coffee into a 3D print soon? let us know about it here in the comment section

Source: Voxel, Youtube

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