As part of our company ethos to design & develop purposeful products, we recently set our biild team a challenge: collaborate with our close partners, AME-3D. The aim: push forward our continuous efforts to make product creation more sustainable and reach for a more socially, environmentally & economically stable future.
By giving the nylon powder from the SLS machines a new purpose, we have extended its product lifecycle and created a long-lasting, usable product from it. We’re always looking at design from a sustainable point of view as we look to move from a linear system of sustainably to a more circular one.
The aim of this internal project was to highlight that, where possible, as a product design and development consultancy we always look for ways to contribute positively to the world through our work. We believe in a future where we all have the right to more responsible products.
AME-3D’s workshop team had discovered the leftover waste nylon powder on the SLS, Selective Laser Sintering 3D printing machine and asked how we could minimise this wastage.
This challenge fell perfectly in line with our brand’s aim to design sustainably, as we could repurpose leftover 3D printing powder and produce a product that would be purposeful and beautiful.
As with any product design consultation, we followed our effective three-stage process and curated our purposeful biild plant pot.
The first stage of our three-step approach is insight. This is where we gain an understanding of the social, cultural, and environmental context of a potential product. We wanted to build a product that would contribute positively to society and the environment, we knew that repurposing the waste nylon powder was a good first step, but we wanted to go further with the product by allowing it to have a long-life span, enabling it to be of use and interest to a wider audience and align the product with our own ethos & branding.
Throughout our discussions, we came up with the idea to produce plant pots with the leftover nylon powder. By repurposing the waste into a plant pot, this guarantees a long product lifespan.
Plants also contribute to many health benefits including:
- Improving focus & productivity
- Improving mood
- Lowering fatigue & stress
- Improved air quality, indoors
Create is inspired from the insight phase where a range of design concepts are generated.
The purposeful plant pot had to be functional in a way that allowed a plant to grow and thrive within it with enough space and capacity to hold water and soil. Our branding and the sustainability factor had to be present within the design.
David and Ben created some concept sketches for us with different shapes for a plant pot design. Through discussion with the team, we decided the hexagonal-shaped plant pot was the most eye-catching design and stood out the most. This shape of design would also be easily achievable on the SLS machine with its ability to produce sharp, clear-cut edges and defined detail.
Within this create process, the designers also began drawing up concepts for an innovative and eye-catching box which the plant pot could arrive in. The packaging was made from recycled cardboard.
The final stage of our product development process is validation. In this stage, we drive the concept through the market to ensure the product is in line with commercial objectives and retains its design intent. CAD models of the plant pot were created, and measurements were drawn up so they could be printed accurately on the SLS machinery.
Working with AME-3D meant that we were able to go straight to the manufacturing process with the help of their experienced and highly skilled product technicians.
Check out the finished product…
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By Aaron Seager