3D printed washing machine

3D Printing of Washing Machines and the R&D Tax Credit - 3DPrint.com

On January 23, 2018 the United States announced washing machine tariffs. A 20% tariff will apply on the first 1.2 million imported washers in the first year and a 50% tariff on machines above that number. In our view, these new economic penalties should serve as a signal for the U.S. washing machine manufacturers to increase product and process innovation including the utilization of 3D printers. It is understood that these new economic sanctions are really aimed at the South Korean washing machine manufacturers. The major Korean washing machine manufacturers are units of two well-known industry groups: LG Electronics Inc. and Samsung. It is important to note that South Korea has made a national commitment to developing 3D printing expertise starting in elementary schools. LG has substantial plastic resin 3D printer expertise and Samsung has 3D printer expertise across multiple industries. Both LG and Samsung are focused on smart kitchen and smart appliance technologies including the potential for 3D printed meals. The major US washing machine manufacturer is Whirlpool. In the 3D printing industry, manufacturers can benefit from both the government sponsored 3D centers of excellence as well as research and development tax credits. US businesses that are involved in 3D printing washing machines and their parts may be eligible for the tax credits.

The Research & Development Tax Credit

Enacted in 1981, the now permanent Federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit that typically ranges from 4%-7% of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:

  • Must be technological in nature
  • Must be a component of the taxpayer’s business
  • Must represent R&D in the experimental sense and generally includes all such costs related to the development or improvement of a product or process
  • Must eliminate uncertainty through a process of experimentation that considers one or more alternatives

Eligible costs include US employee wages, cost of supplies consumed in the R&D process, cost of pre-production testing, US contract research expenses, and certain costs associated with developing a patent.

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the PATH Act, making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit can be used to offset Alternative Minimum tax for companies with revenue below $50MM and for the first time, pre-profitable and pre-revenue startup businesses can obtain up to $250,000 per year in payroll taxes and cash rebates.

South Korean Emphasis on 3D Printing

The use of 3D printing in South Korea in different industries has proven to be advantageous to its research and development of new products from telecommunications to healthcare.

The Information and Communication Technology Industry Division of the South Korean Ministry of Science is looking to build infrastructure that is open for 3D printing. Korean public schools have installed 3D printers for students to use. Instead of students taking woodworking classes, students are now enrolled in science, engineering, and math courses that entail developing objects on a computer screen and printing them out. Today’s jobs demonstrate that 14% of jobs require enhanced skills so schools are trying to meet demands of the workforce. The South Korean government has made an initial investment of $2.3 million for 3D printing equipment so companies can train employees on the new technologies. Since 2015, the government has donated funds for the development of 3D printing technology in hopes of transforming the nation into an additive manufacturing leader. In South Korea, the 3D printing industry has invested $37 million in 2017 to increase the development of 3D printing.

In 2016, South Korean doctors created the first 3D printed heel bone for a patient who was suffering from a tumor. The patient risked having his foot amputated, but 3D printing technologies provided a much better alternative. The implant was composed of a titanium alloy, a strong material for implants. The printed heel bone is an example of the breadth of innovation with 3D printing. The government sees innovative technologies as a way to elevate the country’s stature as a manufacturing hub. The South Korean government unveiled plans on offering tax exemptions for companies that utilize 3D printing in their businesses.

Whirlpool and 3D Printing

Whirlpool has been using cutting edge technology to advance their products. Refrigerators are usually boxy kitchen items that lack a trendy style. Whirlpool’s Chief Home Appliance Designer, Patrick Schiavone, suggested that the company use 3D printing to create aesthetically pleasing parts for their home appliances. In addition, additive manufacturing provides opportunities for the tooling and appliance sector of Whirlpool, which is planning on lowering production costs and creating new products. Additionally, Whirlpool has announced 200 new jobs at their Ohio facility as well as more investments into their US business. Ohio is becoming the go-to place for 3D printing with manufacturing centers in Cleveland and Youngstown.

[Image: Gene J. Puskar, Associated Press]

Last year, Whirlpool installed washing machines in schools in low-income areas of Missouri and California. In the United States, more than 4,000 students drop out of school every day. This population has a 40% higher rate of unemployment. Children’s education is at risk without access to clean clothes. Studies demonstrate how laundered clothes can positively influence attendance rates in schools.

Washing Machine Imports

LG has recently announced that it will be raising its prices for most of its washing machines in the United States. LG and Samsung have argued that they gain American market share through their innovation, designs, and features that consumers have grown to prefer.

In October 2017, the US Trade Commission determined that LG and Samsung had moved their manufacturing plants to Mexico, China, and Vietnam for inexpensive labor. This was deemed unfair to Whirlpool business. As President Trump signed the tariff and trade agreement, LG and Samsung announced plans to move their manufacturing to the United States. LG is opening a $250 million plant in Tennessee and Samsung is opening a $380 million plan in South Carolina.

To the right is a chart demonstrating the amount of washing machines that were imported into the United States.

3D Printed Washing Machine Components and Replacement Parts

Washing machines have numerous component parts. The diagram to the left provides an inside look at the standard components including spin pulley, motor, transmission, and water hose. Many of these components may be 3D printed.

Clean Shoes

Chinese inventor Liu Feng developed a 3D printed machine similar to a container box to wash shoes. It resembles a miniature car wash station. Parts include a circuit board, a motor, a cable, a drag chain, sensor screws, and a rubber synchronizing.


The laundry machine industry is set to change over the coming years. Samsung and LG manufacturing plants will be moving to the United States. Whirlpool and other U.S. appliance manufacturers must seek innovative technologies for their products in order to compete. Companies that are involved with 3D printing washing machines and their parts may be eligible for R&D tax credits.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

Charles Goulding and Alize Margulis of R&D Tax Savers discuss 3D printing of washing machines. 


Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third party vendors.

Tagged with: 3D printed appliances • 3d printed heel • 3D printed washing machine components • 3D printed washing machines • LG • samsung • south korea • Whirlpool

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Best Wash and Cure Station for 3D Printing

Stereolithography, or SLA 3D printing, can be pretty messy. When working with resin, a wash and cure station drastically simplifies post-processing. Since you’ll need to first rinse off, then harden resin 3D prints, a wash and cure station is a must-own. It’s far easier to clean and fully cure your resin prints. But you’ll want the right hardware for the job. Check out the best wash and cure stations for 3D printing!

The Elegoo Mercury X wash and cure kit is a fantastic all-in-one solution for cleaning and curing resin 3D printable objects. It’s fully compatible with a wide range of SLA 3D printers including the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro, Mars 3, and Saturn. Elegoo’s Mercury X bundle includes a washing station along with an ultraviolet (UV) curing chamber.

Boasting a generous 8000ML capacity, the sealed water tank sports a snap-on lid with rubber sealing strips. In addition to the tank, there’s a washing basket and bracket. The water tank washing bracket supports up to two Elegoo Mars, Mars 2, Mars 2 Pro, or Mars 3 build plates. Alternatively, it can handle a single Elegoo Saturn build platform.

The UV curing machine touts a 360-degree automatically rotating curing platform with a 200 x 260mm curing size. Built-in UV 405 nanometer UV lights and a bottom reflector ensure complete curing. A transparent yellow shade blocks 99.9% of UV light letting you safely monitor curing.

There’s a maximum 30-minute timer and dual connector design that supports simultaneous washing and curing. In our review, we appreciated the user-friendly operation, excellent rinsing capabilities, fast curing times, and large capacity water tank as well as curing chamber. However, we found its large footprint somewhat cumbersome. 

Nevertheless, the Elegoo Mercury X Wash & Cure Station is the best wash and cure station for the Elegoo Saturn, Elegoo Mars 3, Anycubic Photon Mono X, and a slew of other printers. Whether you’ve got a massive SLA printer or regular resin printer, the Elegoo Mercury X bundle is a great option.


  • Includes 8000ML capacity washing bucket with snap-on lid and rubber sealing
  • UV curing chamber with 360-degree automatic rotating curing chamber with 200 x 260mm size
  • Transparent yellow acrylic shade for ultraviolet curing chamber blocks 99. 9% of UV light
  • Dual power sockets for simultaneous operation
  • Simple one-knob operation
  • Good value


  • Large footprint

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Anycubic is renowned for its excellent resin 3D printers such as the Photon Mono 4K, and its Wash & Cure Station 2.0 is a solid accessory for do-it-yourselfers (DIYers). It comes with a fully enclosed washing bucket that includes a wash rack and basket. There’s a 360-degree rotating curing platform alongside 405nm UV lamp beads which provide uniform illumination for superb curing and smooth surface finishes.

A transparent yellow acrylic shade blocks out 99.95% of UV light for safe print curing monitoring. The Anycubic Wash & Cure Station 2.0 is an all-in-one dual cleaning and curing station. Unlike Elegoo’s Mercury X Bundle, the Anycubic doesn’t arrive with separate wash and cure foundations. Instead, there’s the same platform for both. While that means a smaller footprint, you can’t cure and wash at the same time.

Although Anycubic’s Wash & Cure Station 2.0 is suitable for modestly-sized prints from smaller resin 3D printers like the Photon Mono 4K or Elegoo Mars 3, it’s not ideal for bigger prints. So if you’ve got a large SLA 3D printer like the Elegoo Saturn or Anycubic Photon Mono X, you may be disappointed.

Notably, Anycubic offers its Anycubic Wash & Cure Plus kit with a much larger volume that’s compatible with high-capacity resin 3D printers. But its affordable price tag, the Anycubic Wash & Cure Station 2.0 is the best value 3D printing wash and cure station on the market.


  • Excellent value
  • 405nm UV lights
  • Maxiumum model size for washing: 120mm x 74mm x 165mm
  • Max model size for washing: 140mm x 165mm
  • Machine dimensions: 225mm x 235mm x 365mm
  • Single-platform for washing and curing
  • Transparent yellow acrylic shade blocks 99. 95% of UV light
  • 360-degree uniform curing
  • Water tank with snap-on lid and rubber sealing, includes washing basket and bracket
  • Compact footprint


  • Can’t handle large 3D prints
  • Only one platform – no simultaneous washing and curing

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The Creality UW-01 is an affordable 2-in-1 wash and cure machine for resin 3D printers. With its 325 x 295 x 584mm size and 260 x 160 x 200mm washing capacity, the Creality UW-01 tackles print jobs from standard SLA printers with up to 10.1-inch build plates with ease. Its 360-degree complete curing functionality arrives via a rotating platform and 385nm along with 405nm LED beads.

You’ve got an array of timer settings all the way up to 30 minutes. There’s a wash bucket with a snap-on lid and rubber seals along with attachments including two build plate holders and a basket. A single platform doubles for washing and curing. As such, the UW-01 takes up very little desk space.

In their review, Not Enough Tech appreciated the Creality UW-01’s ability to speed up resin 3D printing post-processing, its good value, and outstanding performance. However, they noted that the build plate brackets feature a single knob, so you’ll need an extra when slotting in two build platforms. Additionally, the rotating curing platform is somewhat finicky to insert.

Despite a few minor drawbacks, the Creality UW-01 is the best budget wash and cure station for 3D printing. It supports most popular 3D printers including the Elegoo Mars 3, Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K, and Anycubic Photon Mono without breaking the bank.


  • Affordable
  • Works with most resin SLA 3D printers 10. 1 inches and smaller
  • 2-in-1 washing and curing station
  • Wash bucket with snap-on lid and rubber seal, wash basket, build plate bracket
  • Small footprint
  • Excellent 360-degree curing with 385nm and 405nm LEDs
  • Machine capacity: 25 x 295 x 584mm
  • Washing capacity: 260 x 160 x 200mm


  • Doesn’t support large 3D prints
  • Can’t wash and cure simultaneously
  • Finicky rotating platform, single-knob on wash bucket build plate bracket

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For big 3D printers such as the Elegoo Saturn and Anycubic Photon Mono X, you can produce larger prints. And the Anycubic Wash & Cure Plus machine is the best wash and cure station for big 3D printers. With a 192mm x 120mm x 290mm washing capacity, the Anycubic Wash & Cure Plus is ideal for unwieldy print jobs.

It features a huge wash tank complete with a mesh basket and build plate holder bracket. There’s reliable 360-degree curing thanks to a rotating curing platform and reflectors on the bottom of the curing chamber. Its yellow acrylic see-through lid blocks 99.95% of UV light for extreme safety. You can select 1-60 minute curing times.

The Anycubic utilizes a single platform for both washing and curing. While this means that it has a modest footprint considering the machine’s heft, you can’t wash and cure at the same time. It’s also fairly bulky and heavy, as well as expensive.

In their testing, Electromaker praised the Anycubic Wash & Cure Plus for its resin 3D printing post-processing efficiency, blisteringly fast wash and cure times, plus the ability to handle large print jobs. However, they pointed out its singular wash tank and higher cost than the average wash and cure kit. Granted, most competing options are significantly smaller. Ultimately, if you have a large resin 3D printer, the Anycubic Wash & Cure Station Plus will drastically reduce your post-processing times.


  • Machine dimensins: 290mm x 270mm x 279mm
  • Washing capacity: 192mm x 120mm x 290mm
  • Curing size: 190mm x 245mm
  • 405nm UV lights
  • 1-60 minute curing times
  • Dual washing and curing

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Top Resin 3D Printing Wash and Cure Station FAQs

What is a wash and cure station?

A wash and cure station is a device meant to fully clean, dry, and harden your resin-based 3D prints thereby reducing post-processing times. It consists of a wash bucket with propellor for agitating some sort of cleaning solution along with a UV (ultraviolet) curing chamber.

Why do you need to wash and cure resin?

You need to wash and cure resin so that your prints are sufficiently hard as well as safe to handle. Since 3D printing resin is toxic, you’ll need to wash off excess resin, then fully cure or harden a print making it tough enough that its surface isn’t malleable while also safe to touch without getting resin on your hands.

Is a curing station necessary for 3D printing?

No, a curing station isn’t absolutely necessary for 3D printing, but it does make the messy post-processing significantly easier and less time-consuming.

Is a wash and cure station worth it?

Yes, a wash and cure station for 3D printing is absolutely worth it! Cleaning prints is far less messy and you’ll cut down on the lengthy print curing process.

Best Wash and Cure Stations for SLA 3D Printing – Final Thoughts

Overall, there are loads of wash and cure stations on the market for 3D printing. The best option for most people is the Elegoo Mercury X Bundle. Anycubic’s Wash & Cure Station 2.0 is a great value, while the Creality UW-01 is a solid budget pick. For large 3D printers, the Anycubic Wash & Cure Plus is a must-have.

Your turn: What wash and cure stations do you recommend for reducing post-processing hassle?

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Eco-friendly use of 3D printers in the home and industry

Vegetarianism, electric cars, green energy. Increasingly, people are beginning to think about the destructive impact of humanity and production on nature.

Global warming (this is especially noticeable in the last decade), pollution of the world's oceans, garbage dumps, the extinction of some animal species or even entire ecosystems. If you do not start to fight this today, then in a hundred years, hardly anything will remain of the former natural greatness.

3D printing, due to its versatility, helps many scientists and enthusiasts in various fields in solving large and global problems, for the conservation and ecosystems of our still green planet.

Sustainable production

First of all, 3D printers help to make production more environmentally friendly. Using 3D printing instead of traditional manufacturing methods helps reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Air Emission Reduction

Smoke, garbage, gases, toxic fumes are frequent "companions" of traditional production methods. However, they can be significantly reduced or completely eliminated if a 3D printer is working in the workplace or at home.

Mass production vs. 3D printing

At first glance, it seems that mass production is less harmful to nature than piece-by-piece production on a 3D printer. But it turned out that this is not entirely true. Joshua Pierce and colleagues traced the life cycle of three household items - an orange juicer, parts from a children's designer and a drainpipe segment.

Joshua Pierce, Michigan Technological University Scientist USA

It turned out that the production of, at first glance, such ordinary household items consumes a huge amount of resources - the extraction of raw materials and their processing, production, storage and delivery to the final consumer. In mass production, stamping or casting is usually used, after which plastic scraps are sure to remain.

3D printing can significantly reduce the production chain, and consequently, energy costs (by about 40-60%). After all, 3D printing (provided that the client has his own printer) does not require delivery - it is enough to send a digital 3D model. Printing can be more accurate and leave less plastic waste behind. A 3D printer can even produce hollow or lattice parts that are technically impossible to mass-produce by injection molding or moulding.

Reduced fuel consumption

In the world, more and more manufacturers of cars and motorcycles are beginning to develop the direction of electric motors. There are new and more affordable electric vehicles, the infrastructure for the maintenance of electrical engineering is developing. Many countries set themselves the goal of reducing the use of fossil fuels as much as possible in the near future.

3D Printed Strati Electric Car0204

But unfortunately, abandoning fossil fuels in the next few decades is a utopia. But 3D printing is already helping to at least reduce the amount of fuel consumed. This is achieved due to the maximum lightening of the weight of both the machine itself and the mechanical components of the internal combustion engine (internal combustion engine).

Engine hood hinge, 3D printed on the left and sheet metal on the right

Sustainable production

3D printing helps not only to reduce industrial emissions into the atmosphere, but also helps to find and implement new ideas. After all, each owner of a 3D printer can himself model and manufacture a device or object that, in his opinion, will help to resist climate change.

Eco glasses

Disposable plastic cups are a headache for environmentalists around the world. According to statistics, the average person uses a plastic cup for 15 minutes, and it will take from 400 to 450 years to decompose in the garbage.

Plastic, due to its properties, is difficult to replace, especially in the food industry, but some enthusiasts are trying to do it. Jun Aizaki thinks he can solve this problem with pumpkins.

HyO-Cups or natural cups

Even prehistoric people adapted to use bottle gourds as reservoirs for water. Thanks to the 3D printed shapes, you can give almost any shape to a growing pumpkin.

gourd in the form of a jug

Animal rescue

3D printers are actively helping our smaller brothers. In addition to medical uses such as prosthetics, 3D printing helps preserve and restore entire ecosystems.

Animal prostheses

The biggest challenge in animal prosthetics is the creation of an often miniaturized but lightweight and precise prosthesis. Manually or by other methods, this is sometimes impossible. In this case, the only way out is 3D printing.

Curano Cat

Curano the cat lived a full life for 9 years, delighting his owners, until he got cancer. Curano's owners did everything possible to save their pet and although the cancer receded, Curano's back left leg was badly damaged. Amputation of the leg could create new problems and it was decided to try to replace the patella with an implant.

The miniature implant was 3D printed from a cobalt-chromium alloy using DMLS (Direct Laser Sintering) technology. It was impossible to manufacture by any other means, because the implant must not only be miniature and durable, but also completely repeat the complex relief for high-quality integration into the bone.

Holly horse

Holly is a ten year old mare who suffered from laminitis.

Laminitis is a disease of artiodactyls resulting from poor circulation of the hoof plates. Due to laminitis, Holly experienced severe pain in her legs, not only when walking, but also when standing.

Veterinarian Luke Wells-Smith heard of successful attempts to make custom titanium horseshoes for racing horses.

3D printed titanium horseshoes

The guys from the Australian National Science Center were imbued with Holly's misfortune and decided to help. In collaboration with a equine orthopedist, special horseshoes were created for Holly. They made it possible to lighten the hoof and more evenly distribute the load on the legs.

Holly's hoof scan

The new shoes helped Holly start not only walking without pain, but also running.

Akut sea turtle

The collision with the propeller of the boat was unfortunate for the Akut-3 sea turtle. Most of the upper and lower jaws were missing. This meant almost guaranteed slow death for the tortoise, but she was lucky.

The Tortoise Research and Rehabilitation Research and Rehabilitation Center, where the turtle ended up, turned to the Turkish company Btech, which specializes in medical 3D printing. Btech was able to scan and fabricate the missing part of the Akut jaw from titanium.

3D model of the prosthesis for Akut on the left and the finished prosthesis on the right

The surgeons succeeded in implanting the turtle's titanium jaw, and after a successful rehabilitation, it can be released into the wild.

Turtle with denture in place

Cleopatra tortoise

Nicola Novelli picked up and left a small land tortoise. But due to malnutrition, the shell of the turtle, Nicola called her Cleopatra, was deformed (had the shape of a pyramid) and thinned. If the shell had cracked, then Cleopatra could have died from an infection.

Cleopatra's deformed, pyramidal shell

Nicola approached Colorado Tech University with a request to make a prosthesis for Cleopatra. Specialists from the university and a 3D printing company in Denver scanned and made a shell overlay from polylactide, a biodegradable, biocompatible polymer. Due to the complex relief of the shell, the model had to be printed in parts.

Cleopatra with escutcheon

Since Cleopatra is still a teenager and will continue to grow with age, the “prosthesis” will have to be changed periodically.

Hermit crab houses

In the wild, it's bad to be small and weak. But hermit crabs were able to adapt and use empty shells of gastropod mollusks as a reliable shelter.

Hermit crabs

Due to the pollution of the beaches, many hermit crabs, in search of a new "house", fell into deadly traps from plastic bags, bottles, canisters and died. And natural shelters are becoming less and less. Hermit crabs have to use plastic garbage, which is not at all suitable for this.

Hermit crabs use rubbish as a home

Some enthusiasts are trying to help the unfortunate crustaceans and are trying to make them a worthy replacement house.

For example, MakerBot employees created the project "Shelter", where they offer anyone who wants to design a 3D model of a shelter for a hermit crab. The best works will be 3D printed and tested by crayfish.

From concept to implementation of 3D printed crayfish houses

But the Japanese artist Aki Yamomata, inspired by the idea of ​​a peaceful exchange of land between countries, implemented a project of printed transparent houses for hermit crabs in the form of small towns.

Cancer in a new home made with photopolymer printer

To make sure the new inhabitants liked the houses, they were based on tomographic images of shells, finalized in a 3D editor. Finished models are made of transparent resin on a photopolymer printer.

Conservation and support of ecosystems

In addition to prosthetics, 3D printing helps, although not to avoid some environmental disasters, but at least to slow them down. And this can give scientists more time to figure out the reasons and reach out to people.

Great Barrier Reef

It is the largest and oldest coral reef in the world. It is so huge that it can be seen from space (the area of ​​the Great Barrier Reef is about 344,400 square kilometers). In addition, corals are home to many species of fish and other marine life.

Great Barrier Reef from space

But despite its gigantic size, it is endangered. Due to rising water temperatures, pollution of the world's oceans and climate change, the endosymbiotic algae that give corals their bright color are slowly dying out.

Scientists from the University of Sydney are using 3D scanning and 3D printing to save the Great Barrier Reef. Using 3D scanning, a detailed map of the reef was built. With it, you can track and predict the most vulnerable places.

Using a 3D printer, scientists are making a variety of structures that can support the Great Barrier Reef. For example, sections are printed that serve as a home for algae-eating fish that kill corals. Previously, special blocks or prepared, sunken ships were used for this purpose, but 3D printing makes it possible to imitate the natural structure of the reef much more accurately.

Sandcrete mix artificial reef

Restoring dead ecosystems

Scientists plan to use this technology not only to maintain existing ecosystems, but also to restore those that have disappeared. After all, to date, about a third of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed.

Thanks to 3D printing, there is a chance to at least slightly improve the situation. Using the new Modular Artificial Reef Structures (MARS for short) technology, scientists are trying to introduce 3D printed structures that can become a home for reefs.

Artificial “reef” on the left - recently installed, on the right - after some time

The advantage of such block structures is the ease of installation. Indeed, for their immersion and installation, cranes or other equipment are not required. Several divers can deliver them to the bottom in separate blocks. Each block has hollow sections that are filled with rebar and special concrete for durability.

Modular system installed

One of the largest 3D printed "coral reefs" has already been placed in the Maldives.

Waste reduction

In addition to restoring ecosystems, it is necessary to reduce household waste emissions. And here 3D printing becomes a valuable assistant.

Cora Ball

Cora Ball is a development of the Rozalia Project. The Cora Ball is a small plastic ball that picks up the microfibers that spill from our clothes during the wash. This way, dirt and fibers that may have entered waterways and oceans will remain in the bin. After all, these microparticles can be eaten by fish and other animals.

Prototype Cora Ball

Although mass production was planned to be done by molding, the first batches and prototypes of Cora Ball were made on a 3D printer.

The second life of broken things

Any mechanism wears out and fails over time. Often, to restore the working capacity of the mechanism, it is enough to make a small plastic part. So thanks to 3D printing, many things do not end up in a landfill, further polluting our planet, but get a second life.

RU machine

Radio-controlled cars have long become not only children's toys. Many adults do not mind remembering their childhood and racing on an impromptu track.

RU machine

The weak point of all RC machines is the plastic suspension. For expensive replica models, you can almost always find spare parts, but for rare or Chinese models, they are not.

Instead of throwing away an almost working toy, you can make a broken element on a 3D printer. When modeling, you can even increase the strength of the part by adding stiffeners in weak places.

1/18 scale car rear hub

Some enthusiasts 3D print the entire chassis. This makes it easy to replace broken elements and quickly refine and correct design flaws.

3D printed RC car chassis

The second life of the meat grinder

Even such seemingly eternal things as a metal meat grinder can break. The most annoying thing is that a part that does not have a strong load has broken.

Clamping nut for a meat grinder, made on a 3D printer

A variety of materials allows you to print on a 3D printer a replacement for almost any plastic part. It can be a gear for a blender, a plastic handle for a washing machine and much more.

In some situations, when the model is rare and old, there are no even original used spare parts. 3D printing allows you to give your favorite home appliance many more years of life, instead of rotting in a landfill.

Car seal

Sometimes a small, cheap piece breaks in an important node. But the manufacturer sells the necessary spare part only in the collection. Because of this, you have to not only overpay for the necessary part, but also throw away the unnecessary, albeit almost working, mechanism.

Washer nozzle for Toyota Avensis - 3D printed on the left, original on the right

A 3D printer becomes a “lifesaver” if you need to make a spare part that is already difficult or impossible to get. For example, this part is no longer produced, but the BU option could not be found, or delivery will cost more than the part itself.

Green Energy

The transition to green energy is an important step in reducing emissions of greenhouse (and not only) gases into the atmosphere.

Wind energy

Wind energy is a renewable and “clean” energy source. Despite some disadvantages (variability of wind power and therefore uneven power generation), it is promising for some countries. For example, in Denmark, in 2019, windmills generated 48% of the electricity consumed.

There are several options for wind turbines - with a vertical and horizontal axis of rotation.

Main types of wind turbines

Vertical-axial wind turbines have a lower efficiency compared to horizontal-axial ones, but their use requires that the wind speed be more than 6 m/s. In Russia, the average annual wind speed does not exceed 5 m/s, so wind turbines with a vertical axis are more often used.

Home wind generator

In Russia, "clean" energy sources are not very popular because of their high price. 3D printing helps enthusiasts design and build low-cost models of wind turbines.

3D printed home wind turbine

In an apartment building, there is hardly a place where a wind generator will be effective, but for example, in a country house, it can be a good helper in case of a power outage.

Wind turbine production optimization

An industrial wind generator is a complex mechanism of gigantic size.

Industrial wind turbine blade

Using only 3D modeling techniques, it can be difficult to correctly calculate all parameters. Thanks to 3D printers, it is possible to create a miniature copy of a wind turbine and test it in a wind tunnel. This helps to optimize and refine the design of wind generators, making them more efficient.

Wind Turbine Prototype Being Tested in Wind Tunnel

And some companies offer to print towers for wind turbines on a 3D printer. GE Renewable Energy, 3D printing specialists COBOD and LafargeHolcim (a manufacturer of cement and other building materials) have teamed up to develop the world's tallest wind turbine towers. This will reduce the cost of installing wind turbines and make them higher (200 meters instead of 100) than from other materials.

3D printed wind turbine tower

After all, the higher the wind generator, the more electricity it can generate in a year. For example, a 5 MW turbine at a height of 80 meters will generate approximately 15.1 GWh per year. The same turbine at a height of 160 meters - 20.2 GWh per year, which is 30% more.

Solar energy

Solar energy is obtained using special panels, consisting of photovoltaic cells, in which a series of physical and chemical processes take place under the influence of sunlight. There are several types of solar cells - monocrystalline, polycrystalline, amorphous (flexible, film).

In Russia, solar panels are not very common due to the unprofitability of use in high latitudes.

Currently, developments are underway for the production of panels on a 3D printer, but the main use of 3D printing in solar energy is to print prototypes and accessories for panels.

Accessories for solar panels

South Dakota-based Peppermint Energy created FORTY2. FORTY2 is a portable solar panel with enough power to run a laptop, lighting, etc.

For the production of a prototype case, 3D printing was used on an industrial Stratasys printer. Thanks to 3D printing, it was possible to quickly produce several functional prototypes of the case and remove all the flaws.

For example, the first version of FORTY was too bulky and inconvenient to transport. The original design was greatly simplified. The use of a 3D printer has reduced production costs by about $250,000.


Most renewable energy sources (solar, wind) are fickle. Electricity obtained in this way must be “stabilized” - stored in batteries.

Water in this regard is more predictable. Industrial hydroelectric power plants have a number of disadvantages. For example, flood risk, desertification, human migration, etc. Small hydro-generators, in general, are devoid of the shortcomings of their industrial counterparts and do not have such a devastating effect on the environment.

Vortex turbine

The Belgian startup team Turbulent is trying to create a compact hydroelectric generator that is enough to provide electricity to 1-2 private houses. This will help people who are far from the power grid to provide their homes with electricity using the energy of streams or small rivers.

Hydro generator prototype from Turbulent

To make the turbine more accessible and cheaper, 3D printing has been chosen as a manufacturing method. According to statistics, 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity networks, even more residents have constant power outages and are forced to use other, not environmentally friendly, energy sources (for example, gasoline / diesel generators).

River turbine

Ted Christopher spent several years developing a prototype river turbine capable of generating electricity without impacting the environment. The result of his developments was the Volturn system, named after the god of the river in Greek mythology.

The Volturn has a horizontal design that generates power and deflects river debris such as rocks, plants or logs.

The prototype was 3D printed and tested in local rivers. 5 turbines combined into a single system will be able to provide electricity to about 40 houses.

Plastic recycling

Plastic. Its properties, for the modern world, become both a salvation and a curse for the environment. On the one hand, plastic products are light and durable, you do not need to spend a lot of time on their manufacture. At the same time, not all types of plastic can be recycled. On average, a plastic product can decompose from 400 to 700 years, and unfortunately plastic rots not only in landfills, but also pollutes nature and the oceans.

Filament recycling

During 3D printing, plastic debris is inevitably left behind. These can be model supports or broken products, during the printing of which something went wrong.

Unsuccessful 3D printing

But used plastic can be shredded, mixed with fresh pellets, and reused (as long as the plastic is not biodegradable). In this case, 3D printing becomes almost waste-free.

On the Internet, you can find many options for home machines for the production of plastic thread. It can be a self-assembly machine, partially printed on a 3D printer.

Home Self Assembling Filament Making Machine

Or a finished machine made at the factory. Pellets for plastic production can be easily ordered online.

Home filament machine

Plastic bottle filament

In addition to recycling used filament, enthusiasts have learned to print even from plastic bottles.

Homemade machine for making plastic thread from plastic bottles

Every day, around 100 million plastic bottles are used and thrown away around the world, and only 20% of them are recycled or reused. A plastic bottle can take up to 450 years to decompose! The use of plastic bottles as a material for a 3D printer will give them a new life in the form of useful things for the home.

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