"Novel Materials Can Radically Improve Whole-System Environmental Impacts Of Additive Manufacturing"
Dartmouth College, Delft University of Technology
Mix the mica powder and water glass by hand for a few minutes, until the consistency is smooth. For better results, mix with a high-speed, non-aerating mixer. (e.g. centrifugal mixer, not a blender.)
Load into the printer and print before the paste dries out and hardens. (This will allow several hours of time.)
Prints will be slightly soft until they dry fully. Allow 24 hrs or more to dry fully.
After printing, dry parts on a metal screen mesh or other surface that allows all surfaces of the print to dry equally without pushing the part unevenly. Otherwise warpage and cracking may result.
IMPORTANT: Sodium silicate has the pH of household ammonia, so handle with gloves. Finely-powdered mica, as with any rock dust that cannot be metabolized by the body, should not be breathed in. Wear a dust mask as when working with any quartz / limestone / marble powder. This material health hazard was assessed using the Precision Uncertainty Green Screen method. As with any other quartz / limestone / marble powder, please wear gloves and a dust mask while mixing ingredients, but note that there are no airborne emissions during printing as there are with ABS or other melted plastics. Please see more information in the image library below.
Printing: The material will be a flat brown color when printed, but over time will grow a textured white crystalline patina that rubs off on contact with skin moisture. The material dissolves completely in water. This means parts can be “glued” together with water, or can be destroyed. We encourage people to test whether the material can be printed, dissolved in water, and re-printed after the water is evaporated.
Variations: For variants on the recipe, see "Novel Materials Can Radically Improve Whole-System Environmental Impacts Of Additive Manufacturing” by Faludi, J., Van Sice, C., Shi, Y., Bower, J. and Brooks, O., Journal of Cleaner Production, 212, pp.1580-1590, 2019.
For more details, see the journal article above. Those without academic journal access may contact the authors of the paper.