Politecnico di Milano, Department of Design (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 4516-4524
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.1087
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
There have been deep changes recently from a climate perspective that impose a necessary redefinition of strategies with regard to global challenges. The designer's role is to foster a redefinition of the development pathways of products conceived and manufactured according to the principles of environmental sustainability and overall circularity. This strategy can be achieved by conveying the fundamentals of the Design discipline and Sustainable Development Goals in education.
However, to demonstrate specific theories or have students experiment with innovative solutions through trial-and-error dynamics, the activities provided in the teaching don’t always fully comply with the principles of circularity. This is most evident when dealing with the use of digital fabrication technologies, which require an approach and adaptation time before they can be utilized to their fullest extent, leading to the generation of inevitable energy consumption, material use, and waste and scrap production. 3D printers are among the technologies that present this type of problem because non-expert users have increasing access to them and inevitably generate consumption and produce waste in trying to understand their operating principles and potential. In particular, FDM 3D printers contribute to waste generation because they are the most widely used family of machines and therefore most used by non-experts, but also due to the fact that besides the generation of waste ascribed to the "wrong" parts, they are also a vehicle for the production of microplastics that tend to leak into the environment even if properly disposed of. How to transmit technological knowledge related to 3D printing while efficiently saving energy and natural resources?
The authors of the paper have wondered about this issue and devised the format of a crash course on 3D printing, having this problem as a primary goal of compliance with sustainability principles.
Thus, the paper presents the experience gained through the course "Parametric Modeling for Additive Clay Manufacturing" recognized as a moment of extracurricular credit provision by the School of Design of Politecnico di Milano within the internal Fab Lab.
This course fostered additive fluid-dense printing, particularly of ceramic materials, by taking up the basic concepts of FDM additive printing and then relating them to those of LDM printing, noting how there are important variations between the two printing systems, which go to influence the design and construction rules of 3D models created. The two-day activity also emphasized the advantages of using parametric modeling systems, introducing the Grasshopper environment to achieve results also difficult to obtain through traditional CAD, and optimizing exportable machine paths for LDM printing.
During the course, wide space was given to design activities to conceive and realize collections of additive-printed objects in ceramic, where all the material used for imperfect/wrong outputs was entirely recovered and reused in the same cycle.
This process proved to be a valuable and attractive training moment from several points of view, listed in the discussion and conclusion part of the paper.
Suppose the evolution of the industrial scenario requires more and more figures capable of merging technology and design skills for product innovation. In that case, it’s also vital in the training scenario to make changes dictated by lateral thinking to address contemporary challenges.
LDM printing, circular design education, PBL approach, learning by technology, design for 3D printing.