Using leftover McDonald’s cooking oil to create a new type of 3D printing resin

Professors from the University of Toronto, Scarborough (UTSC) have created a brand-new resin for Stereolithography, also known as SLA printing, made from nothing but leftover McDonald’s cooking oil.

In order to reduce waste and help establish materials for high quality commercial 3D printing resin, the cooking oil had to be processed by using a one-step chemical method to create high-definition objects that have features that even go down to 100 micrometers, or just over 0.0039 inches.

Andre Simpson, a professor in UTSC’s department of physical and environmental services, explained that plastics are a really big problem to handle because nature ‘hasn’t evolved to handle human-made chemicals’, so because they are using fats from the cooking oil, which is considered natural product, nature can handle it much better.

Resins being made from cooking oil have long been tested as an environment-friendly and cost-effective alternative to materials that have been used in the printing process of SLA.

According to a study done by UTSC researchers, because McDonald’s is the world’s largest fast food chain, in which they have 10% of the global market share, they’re estimated to produce up to 600 tons of WCO every day.

Because of this, oil produced from Scarborough-based McDonald’s restaurants are collected and use by using additive manufacturing.

They would then apply a Michael-addiction-type-reaction in order to perform an acrylation using only one liter of the cooking oil in order to create 420 ml of resin. After all of this was done, they would then fabricate a plastic butterfly that would demonstrate both thermal and structural stability.

Essop, Anas, et al. “From Residual McDonald’s Cooking Oil to 3D Printing Resin.” 3D Printing Industry, 7 Feb. 2020, 3dprintingindustry.com/news/from-residual-mcdonalds-cooking-oil-to-3d-printing-resin-168264/.