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Print Your Own Paraphernalia

A woman sits on a park bench on a clear day holding a textured and white bong made from a 3-D printer.
Photo courtesy of Printabowl


Print Your Own Paraphernalia

3-D printed bongs attract hobbyists and startups.

Sure 3-D printers can replicate human body parts, make cool art and extrude astronaut tools aboard the International Space Station, but what about helping cannabis smokers reach the perfect high?

A search for “bong” on digital design hubs such as Shapeways, Instructables and 3D Warehouse, results in several types of bongs that can be made with a 3-D printer. Commercial bong makers are now utilizing 3-D printing, too.

Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, creates three-dimensional objects by building them layer-by-layer until the object is complete. Once a 3-D printer receives a digital file for printing an object, the machine can then read the data to create the item. Physical items, such as beautiful bongs, pipes and grinders, can also be digitally scanned and recreated using this futuristic technology.

A sleek geometric styled bong sits cooly on a white background at Printabowl.

Economic projections for 3-D printing and the cannabis marketplace closely match, with Morgan Stanley estimating the additive manufacturing market at a $21 billion by 2020 and the ArcView Group market research projecting the legal cannabis at $21.8 billion in total sales by the same year. So it makes perfect sense that entrepreneurs familiar with both realms, would enter the space. One such company is Printabowl, a business which has joined in the cannabis incubator Canopy, in the hopes of taking the Green Rush into the third dimension.

Printabowl co-founder Al Jacobs said his ceramic bong line was slip cast from a mold created in a 3D printer and features fin structures on the interior that give it “sort of a turbine look that also helps channel smoke velocity,” he said.

The tenets of 3-D printing were especially useful to Jacobs as he prototyped the shapes and textures he would use to create the bongs on the same CAD software used to create architectural renderings.

“A lot of trial and error went into creating these simple looking pieces,” he said, noting that 3-D printing is still an experimental production method. “But it opens the door for people to customize their own one-of-a-kind pieces.”

Consumers who print their own pipes and bongs still need to buy metal or glass bowl pieces, because it’s unsafe to smoke from the two dominant 3-D plastics, ABS and PLA. While 3-D printers can extrude a wild array of materials including wood, tea leaves, sugar, glass and metals, using these materials is not as pervasive at this time.

With the rapid expansion of 3-D printing, soon eco-friendly and tech-forward stoners might be able to print their own accessories in hemp plastic, a smart way to ensure the smoke sessions continue for generations to come.

Originally published in Issue 23 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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