Case Study: Turning Waste into Surfboards




The challenge seemed as big as the Pacific Ocean itself: Produce an outstandingly robust and reliable filament – made 100% of recycled waste – that protects the environment, supports the circular economy, and opens up radical new design possibilities. Read on to find out how we achieved exactly that, together with YUYO and their sustainable surfboards.

The ocean is their playground

And a playground everybody wants to preserve for future generations. No wonder surfers are highly concerned about ocean ecosystems and want to actively contribute to their protection. But their sport is itself a major obstacle, as the vast majority of surfboards out there are pollutive, non-recyclable, and toxic to ocean life (more information here). It’s clear that the surfer community is facing a critical paradox.

French company YUYO joined forces with Forward AM to overcome this contradiction  – by developing a sustainable surfboard alternative.

Using industrial-scale 3D printing technology and the latest biocomposite materials, YUYO and Forward AM designed a surfboard made completely of recycled materials. Even better, the design freedom provided by Additive Manufacturing now enables YUYO to customize their products to the max and give surfers the bespoke, sustainable boards they’ve been asking for.

Medical waste, surfboards and Additive Manufacturing – how do they all tie in?

In 2018, YUYO founder Romain Paul heard about the high volumes of hospital waste, mainly as plastic packaging completely harmless to human health. Aware of this environmental issue, he researched the steps required to collect, sort, and process this medical waste – and the idea of using it as feedstock was born. The key to putting his brilliant concept into action was to find a material that consisted entirely of recycled medical waste and was ready for processing on large-scale 3D printers. Following extensive investigation, YUYO discovered there was only one recycled filament that ticked all the boxes: Ultrafuse® rPET by Forward AM.

The internal structure of YUYO’s surfboards is 3D printed with Ultrafuse® rPET that’s 100% recycled from waste medical trays used for sterilizing surgical tools. This filament is outstandingly reliable, always delivering the exact same characteristics such as identical viscosity and filament diameter. Quite simply, it prints as reliably as a regular top-grade virgin PET filament.

“Thanks to Ultrafuse® rPET we now have a filament that delivers the printing experience that we demand – every single time.”

Romain Paul, Founder of YUYO

Surf’s up, so we’ll keep it short. Ultrafuse® rPET is the ideal sustainable alternative to PET that also ensures outstanding 3D printing performance and easy handling. To top it off, the rPET core of the surfboard is covered with a layer of biocomposite: The  result? A truly eco-friendly surfboard – the YUYO Natural Surfboard.

Material Properties of Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+

Result: Catch a wave with full peace of mind

To bring it all together: Right alongside the environmental benefits, Additive Manufacturing gives YUYO outstanding new design possibilities for their surfboards. Thanks to 3D printing, customization has never been easier.

“We can now produce custom, on-demand surfboards that match the performance of conventional boards in every way – and are harmless to marine ecosystems.”

Romain Paul, Founder of YUYO

Ultrafuse rPet

Harnessing the huge potential of Additive Manufacturing now enables YUYO to produce on-demand bespoke surfboards responsibly. Thanks to Ultrafuse® rPET, YUYO is reducing medical waste, minimizing the environmental impact of surfboards, and helping preserve ocean ecosystems for the next generation of surfers.

Have we sparked your interest? Find out more about this project here.

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1. Reduced Weight
3D printing parts allows you to build lightweight, yet sturdy structures. Saving material through the right design and technology makes a significant contribution to a more sustainable future of aerospace.
2. Complex Parts
Additive manufacturing enables the realisation of complex components with a multitude of individual design options. These custom parts made from a single piece, however intricate they may be, are sturdy and less prone to damage. Our applications offer an array of technologies for the printing of complex parts – from our Virtual Engineering, to prototyping, and our highly advanced engineering-grade materials.
3. Cost Reductions
Printing parts lowers production costs significantly: Through rapid prototyping and virtual engineering, components can be produced quickly and cost-effectively without previous tooling. The production of components made from a single piece reduce assembly time, making manufacturing considerably economical.

4. Meet Industry Requirements
At Forward AM we build on our extensive experience in aerospace component manufacturing and the innovations of our researchers and scientists. 3D printed parts made from our state-of-the-art materials meet the highest industry requirements, combining excellent mechanical and thermal performance.