HP and Ford recycle 3D printing material into new car parts

When you’re seeking to get your tooth straightened with invisible aligners, you may find yourself contributing to extra sustainable car parts within the course of.

HP and Ford say they’ve discovered a strategy to recycle used supplies from 3D printers into fuel-line clips for vehicles. They’ve partnered with SmileDirectClub, a direct-to-consumer Invisalign competitor, to repurpose the waste that comes from printing greater than 40,000 aligners per day.

SmileDirectClub operates greater than 60 printers from HP, making it the corporate’s largest 3D printing facility in the USA. When it’s completed making new aligners, HP gathers up all of the molds of everybody’s mouths together with the waste powder that comes via the printing course of.


One other recycling companion, Lavergne, then turns the waste into plastic pellets and palms them off to ARaymond, an automotive parts maker that makes use of injection molding to create the new fuel-line clips. Ford says the waste powder would in any other case have probably gone to a landfill.

This isn’t simply an altruistic act of eco-friendliness. Ford says the recycled supplies price 10% much less and are 7% lighter than typical gas clips, and they’re extra immune to moisture and chemical compounds as nicely. The corporate is putting in them on Tremendous Obligation F-250 vans for now, however believes it may well deliver the identical strategy to extra autos sooner or later.

Ford already makes use of 3D printing in different parts of its manufacturing course of, and says it will definitely desires to make autos solely out of sustainable supplies. For now, although, it’s beginning with the smallest of parts—and our want for lovelier tooth.