Material Monday Tactility Speaks: 3D Paper

Material Monday Tactility Speaks: 3D Paper

Posted 9 April 2018 by Katie Kubrak

Last couple of years has seen a tremendous range of developments within the area of 3D printing. One of the most explored fields includes the materials used for production. In result, numerous research programmes and companies focus to enable this process to be more sustainable, produce minimum waste and offer a selection of environmentally friendly materials. As a result, this Material Monday we look into and explore one of the attention capturing solutions called 3D paper.

3DPaper is a new sustainable composite material compatible with Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing machines. It is made out of cellulose fibres obtained from recycled paper. With reference to properties, it is water-soluble, biodegradable, recyclable, offers design flexibility and can be baked to improve strength.

In terms of CMF, the material is printed in a sandy colour with a matte finish. It can be easily modified after the printing process through modelling with felt cutters or polishing with denatured ethylic alcohol. Furthermore, it can be painted using polyurethanic paints in a variety of colours, which at the same time offer an added benefit of waterproofing the product. This paper composite can be seen as a sustainable replacement to today’s commonly used materials such as ABS (non-biodegradable) and PLA (biodegradable but not recyclable).

When discussing design opportunities offered by 3D printing in terms of tactile perception there are few that need to be highlighted. These mainly refer to boundless freedom of creating a custom structure of surfaces, as well as, a bespoke construction in terms of form, cavities, ridges, joints etc. These can further reflect on the customer’s haptic perception of the product. In effect, when texturally analysing the surface through the sense of touch, using the receptors in the muscles and tendons, the spectator can ascertain the heaviness and hardness of the objects too.

The creative relevance here is that, while designing for 3D printing production, you can easily equip your product with weight or take it away by simply controlling density and manipulating quantity of layers. To exemplify, the more open the structure, the lighter and more fragile it will be conveying the values of charming fragility as porcelain. On the other hand, a heavy base of the construction could improve balance and portray the object as more esteemed.

If you are intrigued to learn more about creative opportunities of 3D printing or are interested in booking one of our CMF workshops titled ‘Tactility Speaks’, please feel free to get in touch.

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