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How do I manufacture this paper/pulp detail? Answered

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I have a small detail (abt 50x35x20mm) that I want to take from 3D to reality. It would be easy to just send it to the local 3D print hub, but the issue is that I want it in some kind of paper pulp material, or some other material that can withstand heat and also be lightweight.

I know that there exists 3D printers that can print in paper, but I haven't been able to locate a print shop with such a machine.

For prototyping, I have cut kraft paper sections and glued together, but I'd like to find a faster way. There is also a production method for pulp moulding, but the shape of my detail is too complicated for this method.

Any ideas of production methods or materials that I could use instead? The detail can be split in 2 if neccessary, but I'd prefer not.
Thanks in advance!

6 Replies

Jack A Lopez (author)2017-03-28

Maybe you could make a mold, fill it with shredded paper, plus nutrients, plus fungus spores. Then let the growing network of mycelium bind it all together. Then bake it to kill it, to stop it from growing.

Actually, it's not my idea. I just stumbled across this the other day,


and thought it was an idea worth sharing.

Although, the kit they sell, as it is, looks like it would better for larger things. I mean the chunks of corn husks, or whatever that is, look to have dimensions around 5 mm in size, and your thing has details smaller than that.

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karolina81 (author)Jack A Lopez2017-03-30

That's a very creative idea, I love it! :) Maybe for another project!

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Downunder35m (author)2017-03-28

Use silicone...
A two part mold should be able to keep the details and being flexible you can get the part out again with little problems.
Silicone does not stick to cured silicone either, so once done with the mold you can make the part from it as well.
Otherwsie you can also try a low melting bismuth alloy for the mould making.

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karolina81 (author)Downunder35m2017-03-29

You mean, use silicone instead of pulp and silicone for the mould also?

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Downunder35m (author)karolina812017-03-29

That is what I mean, still leaves you with the chicken and egg problem though.
But once you have a working silicone mold the rest should be much easier.

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Downunder35m (author)2017-03-28

A green sand or similar mold would require at least four parts to make it complete in sections.
Plus you will end up with a lot of sanding and cleaning on the finnished cast.
The only "realistic" way of creating a proper mold would be for higher volumes or if you are good with tools and want to waste a lot of time.
The shape you have allows to use "stamps".
Meaning you create a mold for the basic outside form only first.
Into this mold you cut or machine the openings for the rest.
Last but not least you create the stamps to fit into said openings to finnish the outside shape of your design.
The round opening can be stamped too to have it easier to remove the finnished part.
The leftover grooves I see in your pic could be filed away from the finnished product or added to the mold as well.

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