How 3D Printing Can Revolutionize Sustainable Design


 3d printer

 1. Sustainability Problem Area: Waste, Climate (Transportation Emissions)


Traditional retail models involve manufacturers producing goods in large quantities, shipping them across the world to retailer distribution hubs, who then must allocate them as accurately as possible to then stores or directly to consumers. Often this allocation is imperfect, causing excess inventory in the wrong places,  and therefore salvaged or discarded product, not to mention thousands of miles traveled by sea, rail, road, or air to reach a final destination.

 2. Summary of Technology 

  • 3D, or three dimensional printing (also known as additive manufacturing)  has the potential to transform how consumers order and receive everyday products
  • If 3D printers were available in convenient locations, consumers could purchase the 3D model of their desired object, and then go to the printer for immediate  “delivery” without the emissions from packaging or transportation
  • 3D printers commonly use thermoplastics (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene -ABS, and polylactic acid-PLA), that are warmed to be molded, and then harden when cooled. PLA is derived from sugar, so can be made from corn. When someone is done with their item, it can be re-melted in another item once or twice.
  • Makerbot is a company producing a 3D printer with design software.  It works by using FDM or (Fused Deposition Modeling) to precisely extrude hot plastic filament out of a glue gun type nozzle in specific shapes and layers, creating desired objects. The nozzle knows where to go based on a cartesian coordinate system, fed directions by the software

 3. Stakeholders

  • Consumers
  • Retailers, convenience stores
  • 3D printing companies
    • Marketing, partnership teams
    • Product development and design teams
    • Software developers

 4. Deploying the Technology

  • Build a catalog | To become mainstream, Makerbot would need to develop a catalog of helpful/common/ widely used items available to print from their machines. They could even partner with brands directly to develop 3D printable products that consumers could order and print on the spot, and even customize them
  • Grow their footprint | Partner with convenience stores or established retailers to deploy a “RedBox” type availability/footprint, placing their machine somewhere with high foot traffic
  • Get the word out | Advertise unique capabilities to consumers, potentially those in remote areas that have low access to retailers


UNI: JM4202

Comment on other post – Vertical Farming in Indonesia |  In the first year, farmers will be limited to easy-to-maintain crops, such as cabbage, spinach and tomatoes. After that, they can expand to other types of crops. Each farmer can earn an average of 3 million RP from a 6×6 meter square.


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