Lots substances can be used for 3D printing today. Most people use classic plastics like ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) or polycarbonate. Krill Design, however, opted for fruit. Oranges. Well, orange peel, to be exact.
The Milan-based design agency, which develops organic materials, took discarded Sicilian orange peels and transformed them into a completely natural and compostable biopolymer, and then used this material to 3D print its new Ohmie lamp.
Biopolymer has been evolving over the years as it is the progress of work the agency has done for Autogrill, an Italian multinational catering company best known for its outlets at airports and on highways. Krill created his original WasOrange material from a waste fruit product and then used it to 3D print rudimentary sugar bag holders, actually bowls, for Autogrill last year.
Now Krill has managed to improve its formula enough to create a fashion biodegradable and dimmable lamp made from the peel of two to three Sicilian oranges added to a biopolymer base derived from vegetable starches.
Domiziana Illengo, marketing director at Krill, says that in addition to the fact that oranges are plentiful in Italy (Sicily produces about 3 percent of fresh oranges), there is a reason why citrus peels are especially useful. “The connection between the basic biopolymer produced by the fermentation of plant starches and the added material from organic crops is that they need sugars to bond,” she says. “Oranges are especially rich, not exactly in sugar, but in carbohydrates, which is basically the same thing on a chemical level. And so this helps us develop solid material. “
The main issue for Krill in lamp construction compared to the simple containers he made for Autogrill was getting the material to carry the heavier top while allowing it to stand safely. The company has gone through seven prototypes to arrive at this final design where the back is as flat as possible, as well as allowing the head to tilt until it tilts or falls to the side.
It is obvious that what really distinguishes Ohmie from other lamps, apart from the fact that it is made of orange leather, is that thanks to its construction material, it has a slightly distorting smell. “It’s similar to orange cookies, not just oranges, because through that material the material is somehow toasted,” Illengo says. “So it’s actually more reminiscent of cookies.”
Krill states that its orange plastic cookie cookie can be used in any home 3D printer, but there could be quality control issues. A tricky aspect of the fact is that not all 3D printers are created with the idea that they can print bioplastic materials enhanced with organic matter. “People who want to experiment at home may find it hard to get the right heat,” Illengo says. “Inside the 3D printer, there is a chamber in which the material melts and then flows out of the nozzle on the other side. But as there are no 3D printers specifically created for biomaterial, it is very difficult to achieve the exact temperature. “