3D printed objects made of recycled rubber tyres

July 27, 2016

3D-printedEmerging Objects, a San Francisco Bay Area-based independent 3D printing “make-tank”, has found a way to effectively repurpose and recycle discarded tyresinto 3D printing materials.

“We envision using this material to make 3D printed outdoor furniture and as 3D printed panels for exterior building components such as wall panels that can be used as for acoustic and sound dampening purposes,” they explained.

The company is not new to pushing the boundaries of 3D printing projects. In 2013, the innovative design studio 3D printed a pavilion made entirely out of salt and just a year ago, they actually 3D printed a tea pot made from instant tea. Now, they continue to push innovative materials even further by developing a 3D printing material made from recycled rubber tyres.

According to the company, an estimated 259 million tyres are discarded every year in the US alone. Additionally, due to the tyres’ material composition which often contains embedded metals and other non-biodegradable materials, they are incredibly difficult to recycle and are often just burned for their fuel value.

By cryogenically reducing discarded rubber tyres into a micronised rubber powder, they were able to create The Rubber Pouff, a versatile 3D printed piece of furniture made from recycled rubber tyres.

The piece, which can be used as either a stool, foot stool, or as a sculptural object, was 3D printed in eight separate pieces which were then glued together to form the final structure.

The texture of the Rubber Pouff is notable as well, as the perforated surface gives the impression of a padded soft surface. In fact, one could picture the texture as an acoustic surface padding a wall. According to Emerging Objects, the texture was specifically designed to evoke the materiality and haptic qualities of the material itself as well as to resemble a button tufted surface.

The Rubber Pouff project was made possible with the help of green materials company Lehigh Technologies, which supplied the raw rubber powder.

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