There are only a few truly ancient engineered materials, and among the oldest is paper. Traditionally, paper is flat and can be bent into shapes. However, paper can be molded into for example packing material or egg cartons. [XYZAidan] has a process that can recycle paper into 3D cardboard-like objects. You need a 3D printer, but it doesn’t actually print the paper. Instead, you use the printer to create a mold that can form paper pulp you make out of recycled paper and a blender.
[Aidan] provides seven different molds ranging from a desk tray and a dish to simple cubes and coasters. The molds are made in three parts to assist in removing the finished product.
The 3D printed molds have to be very strong because you’ll use a vise to squeeze the water out of the pulp. You can use almost any kind of paper unless it is glossy or has a plastic coating. You can tear up pieces by hand or use a shredder. A blender will create the pulp but you’ll also have to add water and a binder. [Aidan] shows that you can use PVA glue, rice paste, or cornstarch. You can make rice paste easily from ordinary rice by cooking it until it becomes paste-like.
There are some downsides. You have to let the paper dry for hours or even a day or two. In addition, the pulp shrinks as it dries, so getting exact dimensions could be a problem. The material is very wood-like but it doesn’t do well when wet.
Most of the papercraft we see here is more akin to origami. We’ve seen cloth used in papercrafts and we wondered if adding cloth fibers to the pulp might work out in some strange way.