Autumn’s here and it’s time to start thinking about corn! The US is practically drowning in the starchy stuff, due to the federal government’s giant subsidy to the corn industry. So much so that corn syrup is used in your food more often than sugar. With all of that corn around, it’d be nice if you could do something practical with it. Well, the team behind Maizena is working on it! They’ve developed a 3D printer extruder that can (almost) 3D print liquid corn starch.
Maizena 3D is in the process of researching an extruder capable of 3D printing liquid feedstock. The extruder uses a high-pressure air pump to convert liquid material, made up of corn starch and water, into a solid. As you can see from the video below, the extruder is only in the beginning stages of development:
Because corn starch is so readily available, and at an affordable price, the Maizena 3D team believe that it will be a much cheaper alternative to plastic feedstock. More importantly, it’s completely biodegradable. If you’ve ever played with corn starch and water, you know that it’s very malleable, which Maizena lists as an advantage of their process. It also makes me wonder about the structural integrity of their prints, if/when they’re able to create them. Still, it’s a noble pursuit by the Maizena 3D team and I hope they pull it off!