Innovation in 3D printing often means creating new materials to turn into filaments, fuse, sold, extrude and so on… but what about an old "classic" (in many ways) like marble? Making marble suitable for 3D printing is exactly the goal of Marble-Eco Design, a new italian project led by a team of four: Michela Ruggiero, Emiliano Antonucci, Carlo Ruggiero and Daniele Iori. More than a goal, actually, because at the Maker faire Europe the team showed a working prototype of a marble-printing device.

Quite obviously, Marble-Exo Design has its roots in a marble district: Coreno Ausonio, near Frosinone, well known for its marble quality and therefore rich of caves. Turning marble into a 3D printing material could also mean giving a bit of new life to the caves themselves, since it’s a way to recycle waste materials while earning some money from them. A little help for economy and environment.

Marble-Eco Design ad-hoc printer, seen from above

The Marble-Eco Design project is based on a new printing material derived from marble dust created, as a byproduct, in the traditional marble production process. The dust is mixed with a UV-sensitive polymer, resulting in a material which can be printed with an ad-hoc 3D printer using a form of FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) technology.

Morevoer, this marble-polymer can leverage the high quality of the original marble dust, most of all its purity, and can be used in many applications ranging from architecture to art.

A small marble 3D-printed object

The Marble-Eco Design team and Design Lab Frosinone worked together to design and realize the right 3D printer for the new marble-polymer. The underlying FFF technology is well known among Makers, but in this case printing quality has been optimized using new mechanical joints and an extruder with a 0,15mm steel nozzle, for an high printing resolution.

You can find more details and news about the project on their website and their Facebook page.

Credit photos: Marble-Eco Design

 

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