Self-Made Biodegradable Plastic?

By on January 31st, 2011 in Ideas


We’re reading a post on LifeHacker talking about making your own biodegradable plastic. Evidently the recipe is straightforward:
Grab some milk or cream, and some lemon juice or vinegar. Put the cream in a saucepan and heat it, using the lowest setting on the stove and stirring constantly to keep it from burning. When it starts to simmer, spoon the vinegar and lemon juice into it until it curdles through, and then leave it to cool. This makes a very soft plastic – to make it harder, the milk has to soak in the vinegar for a long time.
They go on to describe alternative methods of making plastic using other commonly available substances, such as potatoes. 
We’re wondering what this might mean for 3D printing, where you kinda need print material. Would it be possible to create 3D printer feedstock from common household materials? We think this could be challenging, because:
  • Household materials are going to be quite inconsistent and thus any plastic produced could have wildly different characteristics. This would make proper calibration almost impossible.
  • Even if one could produce plastic with consistent and known characteristics, there’s the issue of how to delivery it to your 3D printer, which likely expects a rigid filament of specific diameter. It doesn’t expect a bowl of mush. A method of rigidizing and extruding the plastic is required.
In the end, we think it’s not gonna happen soon. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!


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