Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

On January 30th 2020, a group of researchers at the University Of Toronto Scarborough in Canada lead by chemistry professor Andre Simpson announced that they had made a biodegradable 3D printing resin from waste cooking oil. Simpson became interested in the idea when he first got a 3D printer circa early 2017 and discovered that the molecules used in commercial resins were similar to fats found in cooking oils. From a litre of cooking oil, Simpson’s team were able to make 420ml of resin, which was used to 3D print a plastic model of a butterfly. The University proclaimed that this showed features down to a tenth of a millimetre and wouldn’t crumble or melt above room temperature. Their results were published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

The University’s press release described used cooking oil as a “major global environmental problem,” arguing that commercial and household waste causes problems like blocked sewage pipes via the build-up of fats. While commercial uses for waste cooking oil do exist, Simpson claims that there are not enough ways to recycle it into high value commodities like 3D printing resin. He argues that this could remove some of the financial barriers inherent to recycling waste cooking oil, as many restaurants need to pay to dispose of it.

The University claims that conventional high-resolution resins can cost upwards of US$525 a litre, as they’re derived from fossil fuel oils and significantly less simple to make than the resin Simpson’s team made. Only one of the chemicals used in their resin is not recyclable, ergo it could be made for as low as US$300 per tonne, making it cheaper than most plastics. In addition, it was found that after burying a 3D printed object made with their resin in soil, it lost a fifth of its weight in about two weeks, making objects made with resin biodegradable. Self-proclaimed “isn’t your average tech site” Gizmodo UK argued that although recycling waste cooking oil could result in some side business for fast-food chains, it would give them more reason to push their fried foods on people who should be eating less of them.

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of “Diego Velázquez – Old Woman Frying Eggs – WGA24357” is in the public domain as it is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less.