In one of the most novel uses of 3D printing – at least that we have seen – design and research company Emerging Objects has begun printing objects with salt. This is wildly unique, yet it fall right in line with Emerging Objects mission. According to the companies website: “Our research and designs focus on the development of innovative materials for large format 3D printing, expanding the potential of additive manufacturing to serve the fields of architecture, interior design, furniture design and product design.”
So does printing with salt actually work?
This is the Saltygloo. The structure was inspired by the Inuit Igloo, and was printed with salt harvested from the San Francisco Bay. Emerging Objects offered a description of the process that went into the Saltygloo:
To build the Saltygloo, 336 translucent panels were 3D printed using this unique material invention. Each panel recalls the crystalline form of salt and is randomly rotated and aggregated to create a larger structure where all tiles in the structure are unique…The panels are connected together to form a rigid shell that is further supported with lightweight aluminum rods flexed in tension, making the structure extremely lightweight and able to be easily transported assembled in only a few hours.
This is an incredibly interesting use of 3D printing. Here is a video to put the scale of the Saltygloo in perspective: