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Finished with your Coke? Turn the empty bottle into a phone case.

By: Michael Stone
ADVERTISING AGE

June 20, 2014

Coca-Cola Co. has teamed with 3D Systems Corp. and its chief creative director, the musician Will.i.am, to develop a 3-D printing system that uses PET from recycled Coke bottles.

The companies introduced the Ekocycle Cube during the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, and said the Ekocycle will come with 25 ready to print concepts selected by Will.i.am, including smart phone covers, bracelets, vases and a birdhouse.

The companies did not say how much of the material used by the Ekocycle will come from 20-ounce Coke bottles, but 3D Systems of Rock Hill, S.C., expects this to be just the start. The company is also working on a 3-D printer for confections in partnership with Hershey's. 3D Systems will be responsible for the technology and the geometry of the confections while Hershey's will consult on use of chocolate and taste. Although the machine will take any type of chocolate, guidelines will be provided on how to achieve a Hershey's-quality outcome.

3-D printing is already making its way into is toys. Hasbro was very tight-lipped about its future plans for 3-D printing, but the marketer is definitely underway, especially after signing a deal with none other than 3D Systems back in February to bring some of its franchise characters to life.

MakerBot, another 3-D printing company, had a 3-D printer at the expo printing a character from its collection in partnership with Pretty Ugly, under which it will sell designs online for collectible Uglydolls. MakerBot and Pretty Ugly are hoping to grow with the offering as demand for 3-D printers increases.