Hybrid business model in the circular economy by arrival of 3D printers

3D Printers and scanners will play an increasingly important role in the circular economy with stockless warehouses and less transport costs as a consequence.

Studio Bas Luiting for example enters the market mid-April 2014 with their building blocks BB Bricks , made of recycle plastics in injection moulding machines. The additional BB Bricks-accessories are available as downloadable 3D drawings, to be printed locally.

‘Manufacturing to customer specification, that’s what it’s all about’ says Luiting. ‘Warehouses with mostly wrong , expensive stock and high transport costs will belong to the past’. Later this year, Luiting will also co-create a 3D Print Hotspot in Eindhoven (NL) in one of the former Philips factories.


Redesigner Bas Luiting had been looking for a new product to be made of recycled plastic, turning waste into something useful ; for a social and sustainable entrepreneur being the ideal ambition. He ended up with his 50 year old Lego box, thinking, ‘ I’ve never seen Lego being thrown away ! ‘

The concept of Lego inspired him to create an equally flexible construction element for adults but larger in size with a simpler clamping system. After dozens of sketches and 3D printed prototypes , the final model appeared via his digital sketchbook in his Ultimaker 3D printer, ready to be manufactured in large quantities in an injection moulding machine.

Dutch Design Week
Luiting presented his idea to the public during the Dutch Design Week 2013 and showed on the spot how to create unique accessories to combine the BB Bricks with , using a simple 3D printer. On the 3D printing platform Youmagine.com (by the Dutch 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker from Geldermalsen ) the first accessories recently appeared, free downloadable for everyone . The idea being that if you modify the downloaded model, you upload your own redesign in return for other BB Bricks users worldwide; open source par excellence!

Everyone is a designer
The BB Bricks are meant for a large public, at home or in de office, indoors and outdoors. Sandpits, garden furniture, modular expo parts, kitchen units, wardrobes, bed – constructions, balcony ponds, a mini wall in the garden; you name it!

The care and educational sector are enthusiastic about the easy-to-use BB Bricks building blocks for creative purposes. A large housing association has already shown interest followed by various property owners who look for creative temporary use of their vacant space. The system is also suitable for exhibitions and shop fittings , flexible , temporary creations that are quickly and easy to implement. A major international DIY chain paid Luiting a visit recently; what could be a great start for the redesign of his favourite toys !

Endless and flexible constructions, completed by 3D printed accessories.
The BB Bricks have about the size of a brick ; 18 x 9 x 5,5 cm and are available in two sizes , the full brick and half brick . No need for adhesives nor grout what makes them suitable for endless use . At your own risk , though . Their default colour is medium transparant black . Other colours are available at larger order volumes .

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