3D Printing, Art and Biotechnology at MUSE Trento

From 30 November 2022 to 8 January 2023 it will be possible to visit the 3D printed installation ‘Cloroplastic‘ for the MUSE exhibition “BioArt. Ricerche d’avanguardia e immaginario artistico” at Palazzo delle Albere, as part of the European project ACDC – Artificial Cells with Distributed Cores.

WASP participated in the project by creating a 3D printed installation using transparent materials of plant origin.

Cloroplastic, 3D printed installation in recycled PLA, biopolymer of plant origin for Muse - Science Museum of Trento.
Photo credit: foto archivio MUSE

Piece name: Cloroplastic
Printer: 3MT HDP
Material: Recycled transparent PLA of plant origin
Printed with: WASP Hub Milano (Superforma)

Cloroplastic: 3D printing of a transparent biopolymer of plant origin

Cloroplastic consists of a collective work inspired by nature and capable of reacting to stimuli from the environment, the result of the process of sharing scientific knowledge that took place during the Open Talks&Labs organized by MUSE as part of the progetto ACDC.

The outer membrane was printed in transparent PLA recycled with WASP 3MT HDP from the WASP Hub in Milan, Superforma.

The outer membrane of the structure was made of recycled transparent PLA of vegetable origin using WASP 3MT HDP, the 3D printer optimized for large-scale printing.

Making of Cloroplastic, a transparent 3D printed installation

The work is inspired by chloroplasts, organelles present in plant cells where chlorophyll photosynthesis takes place. It was built in a participatory way, through the use of digital manufacturing techniques and biotechnological laboratories.

In Cloroplastic, visitors who interact with the work will provide the light needed by plants to activate the photosynthesis process. The installation hosts Impatiens walleriana plants planted by the participants in the Open Labs, through the use of micropropagation techniques.

Cloroplastic: 3D printed installation for the MUSE of Trento
Photo credit: foto archivio MUSE
Photograph of Cloroplastic: the 3D printed installation for the MUSE of Trento
Photo credit: foto archivio MUSE

“This installation – explains Lucilla Galatà, project coordinator for MUSE – wants to show the results of a path we have undertaken in the museum as part of the ACDC project, to involve the community in research on the border between natural and artificial, living and non-living living, scientific research and artistic practices. The ultimate goal is to invite the public to look beyond these dichotomies and to inspire new connections and reflections”.

Overview of Cloroplastic: the 3D printed installation for the MUSE
Photo credit: foto archivio MUSE

PLA pellet

pla pellet

The material used to print the project is transparent recycled PLA of plant origin. Pellet printing has many advantages: You can use recycled plastic, and It’s cheaper and faster than filament material. Discover our pellet materials.

Large scale 3D printing

For this project it has been used the 3MT 3D printer. It permits to print big pieces until 1 meter of diameter and it is really used for installations or to create walls. The procedure is to print in pieces and then assembly them, building the entire structure.