Over the past few years, 3D printers have taken the world by storm, showcasing their unlimited potential in many areas, from science and medicine all the way to fashion and architecture.
And now, thanks to a group of Slovenian students and their mentor, a Green 3D printer has become the means to bring gardening into the 21st century by using organic matter to create objects that will continue to grow after printing.
Stemming from an assignment to connect art with technology and nature, the 3D printing device named PrintGREEN was conceived in 2013 by Maja Petek, Tina Zidanšek, Urška Skaza, Danica Rženičnik and Simon Tržan under the guidance of their mentor Dušan Zidar, at the University of Maribor (Slovenia).
The contraption was built from scratch and is essentially a modified CNC machine that dispenses a mixture of soil, seeds and water in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from lettering and artwork to decorative patterns and objects. After printing, the muddy composition keeps its form and, after a while, the seeds begin to grow. The green 3D printer is also capable of producing bowls and other complex shapes which, instead of containing seeds within the “fabric”, they incorporate a top-layer of grass.
Interviewed by Steam Stories, this is how Maja described PrintGREEN’s beginnings:
“At first we experimented with moss, but it didn’t really work, so we decided to make a mixture of soil and seed. We mainly use grass because the results are really beautiful. Now we’re also thinking of incorporating flowers for a colorful print.”
Inspired by her roots and by a traditional building method which utilizes straws and mud, Maja envisions a future where “3D printed homes with green roofs and green walls” are the norm.
“It would be great if we could incorporate plants into our homes” she says, and we couldn’t agree more!
Two years later, the team is looking for ways to develop the project into a business, but they are facing a lot of challenges, including customs regulations on shipping organic materials.
printGREEN from Simon Tržan on Vimeo.
Why We Like It:
We love PrintGREEN because it has potential and because is a brilliant example of what nature and technology can achieve when combined.
Do You Like It? Then pay them a visit or follow their facebook page.
Read the full story here.
Images courtesy of PrintGREEN.