GREENFILL3D on the transformation of production waste into 3D printing materials

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We previously told you about GREENFILL3D, a Polish startup that develops ecological and biodegradable materials for 3D printing. In particular, it has developed a filament made from wheat bran, the GF3D Branfill3D. This material was created in compliance with modern concepts of zero waste and circular economy: wheat bran is production waste from the manufacture of pasta. From this filament, the startup has 3D printed its own POS (Point of Sale), on which packages of pasta will be presented and sold. This project is developed in collaboration with the MASPEX group, one of the largest food producers in Europe. To learn more about the company’s work and its filaments, we caught up with its director, Pawel Slusarczyk.

3DN: Can you introduce yourself and your link with 3D printing?

Pawel Slusarczyk

My name is Pawel Slusarczyk and I have been working in the 3D printing industry for over 9 years. In January 2013, I founded Centrum Druku 3D, the largest 3D printing site in Poland, which contributed to the development of the Polish additive manufacturing industry. All major Polish companies, such as Zortrax, Sinterit, Zmorph, Omni3D, 3DGence, Technology Applied, Spectrum Filaments, Fiberlogy and many more have debuted on our site. I have many years of experience in implementing innovative projects – in 2019 we created our own 3D bioprinters – called SKAFFOSYS, and then launched a 3D bioprinting lab in Poland. In 2020, this project was detached from our company and continued by another independent team.

3DN: How did the idea of ​​creating GREENFILL3D come about? What is his mission ?

In 2021 we established cooperation with MASPEX Group, the largest food producer in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. MASPEX Group approached us with the idea of ​​creating advertising materials from their waste. The company had various post-production waste, both organic (vegetable waste, wheat bran, etc.) and cardboard and plastic. In the end, we opted for wheat bran, from which we decided to produce a filament for FDM/FFF technology. In July 2021, we signed a formal cooperation agreement and started the research and development process.

We decided to immediately separate this project from CD3D and, in July 2021, we created a new independent company: GREENFILL3D. We also participated in a European project – ScaleUp, which provided us with adequate funding for research and development. Moreover, we were invited to cooperate with PAN (Polish Academy of Sciences), the largest and most prestigious scientific institution in Poland, with whom we have already collaborated on the 3D bio-printer project. Together we have developed a unique chemical blend of wheat bran, PLA and other chemical compounds, all fully biodegradable!

In conclusion, our mission is to pursue environmentally friendly materials, with an emphasis on truly biodegradable and compostable bioplastics. At the same time, we are looking for applications where the use of these materials is functional and meaningful – we are aware that currently bioplastics cannot replace, for example, polyamides or polycarbonate. We are looking for objects that can be printed, for example from wheat bran, but which remain functional. We do not want to impose bioplastics where they are not appropriate.

This decoration and this kitchen utensil were both printed using wheat bran filament (photo credits: GREENFILL3D)

3DN: What are the main benefits of turning wheat waste into filament for 3D printing? What are his limits ?

Wheat bran has fantastic and amazing properties. At the beginning of the project, we were very worried that the filament would be brittle and break, but since the sound is fibrous, the finished 3D prints are flexible, not like polypropylene or TPU, but they do not break easily. When testing our racks, we loaded a shelf a few pounds on it – over the week the shelf and side walls bent a lot, but didn’t break. Also, when we rotated the shelf 180 degrees and applied the same weight to it, it straightened up in 2-3 days, then bent over on the other side. But there was no evidence of cracks.

In addition to the physical properties of wheat bran in the form of filaments, the idea of ​​using production waste and turning it into a 3D printing material, from which supports are created to enhance the pasta from which it is made. , is fascinating.

The filament is used to print pasta displays (photo credits: GREENFILL3D)

As for the limitations, they are very few and I think they are easy to solve. For the moment, it is necessary to use a 3D printer with a larger diameter nozzle: 0.5 – 0.6 – 0.8 mm; of course we are able to print the filament with a diameter of 0.4 mm, but with larger diameters we are sure that the material will come out correctly. At the moment, we only have 1.75mm diameter filament, which is not very suitable for Bowden extruder, so we only recommend direct extruder. However, we plan to use 2.85mm filament and will test it, for example, on an Ultimaker or BCN3D, and I’m sure the problem with the Bowden extruder will be solved.

3DN: At GREENFILL3D, do you plan to develop other filaments from food waste in the future?

Yes of course. At GREENFILL3D we have a detailed roadmap for future R&D actions. First, we want to increase the percentage of use of wheat bran to 40% at production scale, and then develop something new. We will probably continue to use wheat bran, but the other components will be different. There are many interesting bioplastics to try.

3DN: Where do you see the future of zero waste in 3D printing?

Everywhere. Over the past few months I have thoroughly explored the subject of producing plastics from environmentally friendly materials and I can assure you that there is not a single major chemical company in the world that does not do no research in this area. We are on the cusp of a major revolution in plastics, many of which are based on the concept of zero waste. The effects will be visible in a few years but it is certain and inevitable.

For now, industrial 3D printing is far from green. Everyone is working to replace metals with high-performance plastics, but it won’t last forever. Recycling these plastics seems better in theory than in practice: worldwide, only 10% of plastic waste is recycled, the rest going to landfill or floating in the seas and oceans.

Until this problem is solved on a large scale – and we are talking about giant waste factories here – GREENFILL3D believes that the best solution remains bioplastics, designed to decompose naturally from the start. Of course, all this applies not only to 3D printing, which remains a niche, but to all plastics in the world.

3DN: A last word for our readers?

Be responsible when 3D printing at home or at work. If not absolutely necessary, try to use environmentally friendly materials. Also consider the common use of plastics in everyday life. People fear dying from COVID-19, when the real threat is plastic flooding us everywhere. It’s one of many real threats that almost no one is aware of. Read, reflect and consider making some changes. Don’t wait for others to do it. You can read more about our projects on our website HERE.

What do you think of the developments carried out by GREENFILL3D? Do not hesitate to tell us what you think in the comments of the article. Find all our videos on our channel Youtube or follow us on Facebook we Twitter !

*Cover photo credits: GREENFILL3D

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