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Embracing Sustainability 3D Printing’s Eco-Friendly Future

Embracing Sustainability 3D Printing’s Eco-Friendly Future

Embracing Sustainability: 3D Printing’s Eco-Friendly Future

Sustainability in the World of 3D Printing

Sustainable 3D printing


A new chapter is being written in the rapidly growing field of 3D printing: one that balances environmental responsibility with technological innovation. The question of how to make 3D printing more sustainable arises as this technology continues to transform manufacturing and design. In this article, we examine how 3D printing affects the environment and the advancements being made in this rapidly evolving field toward sustainability.

The 3D Printing Industry’s Environmental Impact

Known for its accuracy and productivity, 3D printing is frequently praised for producing less waste than conventional manufacturing techniques. But this technology has an impact on the environment that goes beyond waste minimization. A number of variables come into play, including the amount of energy used by 3D printers, the creation and disposal of printing materials, and the emissions produced during these operations.

Innovations in Sustainable Materials

The development of environmentally friendly materials is a significant advancement in sustainable 3D printing. PLA and other biodegradable plastics, which are produced from renewable resources like cornstarch, have gained popularity. In order to address the issue of plastic waste and lessen the demand for new plastic production, businesses are also looking into recycled materials.

Casting Pattern ready for dipping

Using Less Energy in 3D Printing

One important part of the environmental impact of 3D printing is energy consumption. The goal of printer design innovations is to use less energy. Every advancement is a step closer to a more environmentally friendly future, from software that optimizes printing paths for energy conservation to more effective heating mechanisms.

The Practice of Recycling and Reusing in 3D Printing

Reusing leftover materials from 3D printing has exciting potential. There is a growing movement to recycle plastics used in 3D printing, and some businesses are starting programs to collect used materials for recycling. Moreover, waste materials are being recycled into useful products using 3D printing, making it a perfect instance of the circular economy in action.

3D Printing’s Place in Sustainable Manufacturing

Beyond specific technological developments, 3D printing contributes to more sustainable manufacturing practices. 3D printing can drastically cut carbon emissions by facilitating local production and minimizing the need for transportation. Energy conservation is also aided by its capacity to produce lightweight, optimized parts in industries like aerospace and automotive.

In summary

It is essential that we incorporate sustainability at the heart of 3D printing as we embrace its promise. Through a focus on environmentally friendly materials, energy efficiency, recycling, and sustainable manufacturing techniques, 3D printing is not only revolutionizing the manufacturing industry, but also paving the way for a more sustainable future.

Raw casting after initial cleanup
3D Printing Service Advantages

3D Printing Service Advantages

A 3D printing service is an affordable alternative to traditional manufacturing processes.


SLA Part Production

A 3D printing service is an affordable alternative to traditional manufacturing processes that offers numerous benefits, including faster turnaround times, reduced waste, and increased design flexibility.

3D printing technology, also known as additive manufacturing, creates objects by building up successive layers of material, such as plastic, metal, or ceramics, until the desired shape is achieved. This process is faster and more efficient than traditional manufacturing methods. CNC machining, Casting and molding, often require multiple steps and significant amounts of waste.

Advantages and Benefits

One of the key advantages of using a 3D printing service is the cost, speed and quality with which prototypes can be produced. With 3D printing, it’s often possible to produce a functional prototype in a day. Compare this to the weeks or even months it can take with traditional manufacturing methods. This can be especially beneficial for companies looking to bring new products to market quickly. Companies can test and refine prototypes with faster turn around. This in turn allows for more iterations of a design leading to a better end result.

Another key benefit of 3D printing is the overall reduction in waste material created. Traditional manufacturing processes, like CNC machining, often produce large amounts of scrap material that must be disposed of. This can be both environmentally harmful and expensive. In contrast, 3D printing generates minimal waste and can even be used to create products made from recycled or biodegradable materials.

3D printing offers increased design flexibility. With traditional manufacturing methods, there are often limitations on the shapes and sizes that can be produced. In contrast, 3D printing allows for the creation of complex, highly detailed objects with intricate geometries and internal structures. This increased design flexibility allows companies to produce products that would otherwise be impossible with traditional manufacturing methods.

Finally, 3D printing is a game-changer for companies looking to produce customized products at scale. The technology allows for the creation of unique and personalized items, without sacrificing the efficiency of mass production. This not only streamlines production processes, but also provides customers with products that are tailored to their specific needs and preferences. As a result, 3D printing offers a unique opportunity for companies to create high-quality, one-of-a-kind products that meet the demands of a rapidly evolving market.


In conclusion, a 3D printing service is an affordable alternative to traditional manufacturing processes that offers numerous benefits, including faster turnaround times, reduced waste, and increased design flexibility. Whether you are looking to produce a functional prototype or manufacture end-use products, 3D printing can provide a cost-effective, efficient, and environmentally friendly solution.

Animals Saved by 3D Printing

Animals Saved by 3D Printing

With robotic hands, custom-printed splints, and medicine that can be printed to specific doses, the news is full of ways that 3D printing can help humans live healthier, more productive lives. But, if you look close enough, there are also some really amazing examples of how 3D printing has also been helping some adorable members of the animal kingdom.  Here are a few of our favorite stories about animals saved by 3D printing.

3D printing saves a pelican

image from (

1. A pelican’s new beak. When a pelican began acting strangely at the Dalian Forest Zoo, staff members soon realized that the bird’s beak was damaged. Because a beak is vital to both food gathering and determining a pelican’s social status, a beak is crucial to a pelican’s survival. After two attempts at repairing the beak through other methods, zoo workers decided that they would try to use a 3D printer to make the necessary repairs. Because it appeared that there was already some new growth, doctors determined that it wasn’t necessary to print the entire beak. The final product is a 3D printed extension that screws into the pelican’s original beak, allowing the pelican to feed normally once more.

image from (

2. A turtle’s new home. A turtle’s shell protects them in a number of ways, including from bacteria and infection. In some cases, poor nutrition can lead to a bone disease which can cause the shell to wear away. When that happens, a turtle can be left painfully exposed. This is the fate that turtle Cleopatra was facing. Luckily, however, Cleopatra was taken in by Canyon Critters Rescue. Here, founder Nicola “Nico” Novelli determined that he could 3D print a shell protector to prevent Cleopatra’s existing shell from wearing down further. With the help of Colorado Technical University, a shell was modeled and fit over Cleopatra’s existing shell. As Cleopatra continues to grow, new shells will have to be fashioned to fit.


image from Buzzfeed (

3.  A sea turtle is saved. Who doesn’t love a good turtle story? In fact, we love them so much, we had to include two. This turtle tale takes us to Turkey, where a sea turtle was struck in the face with a boat propeller. The terrible accident left the turtle unable to eat. Rescuers brought the turtle to Pamukkale University. Here, researchers designed and printed the turtle a brand new jaw. The jaw worked so well that the sea turtle was released back into the wild.

Buttercup the duck with 3D printed foot.

image from Simplify 3D (

4. A duck takes a swim. When Buttercup the duck was born, one foot was pointed in the wrong direction. In 2013, Buttercup’s trainer Mike Garey decided that her best chance of living a normal life would be with a 3D printed prosthetic foot so Garey printed her a walking foot. Soon, however, Garey realized that, while the foot was great for land, it didn’t help much in the water. Garey went back to the drawing board (or the Simplify3D software) and modeled a brand new prosthesis designed just for swimming. Today, Buttercup is able to switch from one leg to another, allowing her to waddle and swim to her heart’s content.


picture of a rhino, an animal saved by 3D printing.

image from Ruth Hartnup via Flickr

5. Can the rhinos be saved? While this story is more about the future potential of 3D printing saving animals, it is too exciting not to include. For years, rhinos have been poached for their horns, reducing their numbers by 98% since 1960. This massive slaughter is the result of the incredible value of rhino horn. When sold on the black market, rhino horn is worth more than gold and illicit drugs like cocaine. Now Pembient, a Seattle-based bioengineer startup, believes that they have landed on a solution. By creating an ink of keratin, the basic material of a rhino horn, and splicing in rhino DNA, the group believes that it can 3D print horns that are indistinguishable from the real thing. The beauty of this solution is that the horns can be produced for a much lower price than the real thing on the open market. Therefore, Pembient could flood the market with the fake horns, drive down the cost of the real thing, and remove the incentive to poach. 3D printing could literally save the rhinos from extinction.

a dog with a 3d printed wheelchair.

image from (

6. A dog gets a new set of wheels. Meet one of the most adorable animals saved by 3D printing. When Bubbles the weiner dog was born, her proud human parents soon realized that she was missing her two front legs. Determined to make her as mobile as possible, the couple set out to design the pup some wheels to help him get around. Their first thought was to create the wheels out of model airplane parts. When this didn’t work, they bought a 3D printer and got to designing. The couple printed out wheels, complete with adorable little heart patterns, and a harness that was designed to perfectly fit Bubble’s long and thin frame. Today, the design is available to download on Thingiverse for free with the hopes that it can help other disabled dogs.

image from IFL Science (

7. A dog runs for the first time. Derby is another beautiful pup that is benefiting from 3D printing. Unlike Bubbles, Derby was born with front legs, they were just deformed. First, Derby’s owner tried the cart route, but that didn’t give Derby the full mobility that his owner wanted, so they turned to 3D printed prosthetics. To allow Derby to walk on a variety of terrains, the designers opted for a loop-shaped prosthetic. Soon, Derby was up and running. Because the prosthetics are 3D printed, they can easily be tweaked or replaced when necessary.

bald eagle before and after 3D printed beak.

image from Viral Thread (×282.png)

8. A bald eagle will soar again. Beauty the bald eagle is one of Northern Idaho’s natural treasures, which made it all the more shocking when somebody shot her in the face. Although Beauty survived the blast, her top beak was decimated, leaving her unable to feed herself or survive in the wild. After 18 months of design work, biologists were ready to 3D print a functioning prototype made from nylon-based polymer. As the team fitted the eagle with her new beak, they had to make subtle tweaks to the shape of the beak. Finally, the prosthesis fit perfectly and was glued into place. While the beak is working so far, it is only the first step in fitting Beauty with a permanent beak.

These animals saved by 3D printing offer further proof as to the amazing potential of this technology. To keep up-to-date about the exciting developments in 3D printing, join our Spectra3D newsletter.




Autodesk Well Positioned in 3D Printing Market

Advancements in 3D Printing

In order to take your 3D part from concept to tangible piece, the part must first be modeled in 3D software. Autodesk, the company behind software like AutoCAD, Maya, 3ds Max, Inventor, and Fusion 360, has been rapidly incorporating 3D modeling capabilities into their existing software. Between Autodesk’s well-established software programs and new software in development, Autodesk is charging head first into the 3D printing market.

Over the last year, Autodesk has released a variety of app-based software that is specifically designed for 3D printing. These apps include 123D Catch, a program that allows users to take a series of photos of a model that are transformed into a 3D design, 123D Design, a basic 3D modeling program, and 123D Make, a program that allows users to create 3D models in slices from individual layers. With these apps combined with Autodesk’s Spark, an additional software platform, Autodesk has been described as the “Android of 3D printing.”

Autodesk Talks About the Future

Recently, IDG Connect was able to sit down with Aubrey Cattell, the Senior Director of Business Development and Operations. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits about the interview.

  • Cattell reiterates that, although the printing industry is 25 years old, it hasn’t yet blown up. In fact, there have only been 250,000 3D printers sold over the last 25 years. Despite this, Cattell believes that we are on the cusp of huge growth, citing studies that predict that the industry will grow to $16 billion in 2018.
  • Cattell compares the current state of 3D printing to a “Homebrew Computer Club.” Essentially, at this point, only the really technical people are taking advantage of the technology. Cattell also believes that people expect 3D printing to be as simple as 2D printing. For widespread adoption, it is possible that technology will have to advance to the point that there is such a thing as one-click printing capabilities.
  • Cattell believes that Autodesk’s role is to identify and solve points of failure in the 3D printing process. Eventually, they hope to bring millions more individuals into the 3D printing marketplace. Part of this accessibility will also come from innovations like the Spark Investment Fund, a $100 million investment portfolio that Autodesk has made into advancing 3D printing technologies.
  • When Cattell is asked about the comparisons between Autodesk and Android, Cattell agrees with the comparison, stating that both are ways to enable others to innovate without making significant investments in the infrastructure. With Spark, 3D printing developers will be able to work inside of the proprietary software in order to develop their unique products.

With Autodesk’s new software apps and the Spark platform, Autodesk is striving to advance the adoption of 3D technology. If you want to learn more about how you can bring 3D printing technologies into your home or office, contact us at Spectra3D Technologies for additional information.



Spurring Innovation: Autodesk Invests in the Future of 3D Printing

Spurring Innovation: Autodesk Invests in the Future of 3D Printing

Autodesk hopes to bolster the future of 3D printing

The Announcement

Autodesk's 3D printer

Autodesk Spark

In May of this year, Autodesk announced that they were ready to jump into the 3D printing game. In a blog post by Carl Bass, Autodesk President and CEO, Bass explained how his frustration with the state of the 3D printing industry had led him to seek out a better option. The result of this search was twofold: the development of an entirely new open source software platform, Autodesk Spark, and a 3D printer, the Ember, that would be designed to work with the Spark platform. Through these innovations, Autodesk hopes to help shape the future of 3D printing in a more user-friendly direction.

Development for Spark

In an update from Autodesk CTO Jeff Kowalski at the Inside 3D Printing Conference this week, Kowalski spilled a few more details about the software. One of the things that really separates Spark from the competition is its “autocomplete” feature, which allows the software to anticipate the design and complete the shape for the user. The Spark software program will also be able to work with multiple materials and can be used on any available hardware platform. Like the software, Ember, the 3D printer, will be designed through a heavily collaborative process. So far, it is known that the printer will have a resolution of 10 microns and will primarily use photo-cured resin for its material, although it will also print other materials. It is estimated that the printer will go on sale for somewhere around $5,000.

Raising the bar

This week, Autodesk took their role in the 3D marketplace a step further by announcing the creation of the Spark Investment Fund. Over the course of the next three years, Autodesk will be investing as much as $100 million into 3D printing companies. As the first of its kind, this investment fund is a great opportunity for spurring innovation in the industry by financing startups, researchers, and entrepreneurs. The primary goal of the Spark fund is to push the boundaries of 3D technology and move the industry into the next phase.


With increased innovation and investment in the 3D marketplace, it is a great time to embrace this amazing technology. If you would like to learn more about 3D printing and how it can be put to use in your industry, contact us at Spectra 3D Technologies.

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