BOULDER — A new research report from the University of Colorado Boulder suggests that the coffee grounds from your morning coffee may have a life beyond the cup.
Michael Rivera, an assistant professor in the ATLAS Institute and Department of Computer Science at the university, and his colleagues have developed a method for 3D printing a wide range of objects using a paste made of old coffee grounds, water and a few other ingredients.
The team has experimented with using coffee grounds to craft jewelry, pots for plants and, fittingly, espresso cups. The technique is also simple enough that it will work, with some modifications, on most low-cost, consumer-grade 3D printers.
“You can make a lot of things with coffee grounds,” Rivera said in a written statement. “And when you don’t want it anymore, you can throw it back into a coffee grinder and use the grounds to print again.”The group presented its findings this summer at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Designing Interactive Systems conference in Pittsburgh.
For Rivera, the project is part of his mission to make 3D printing more sustainable — allowing artists, designers, engineers and more to quickly make graspable prototypes and other household objects without adding to landfills.
“Our vision is that you could just pick up a few things at a supermarket and online and get going,” Rivera said.