RepRap Recyclebot Turns Plastic into 3D Filament for $700
- By Dian Schaffhauser
open source project at Michigan
Technological University can turn waste plastic into
high-quality 3D printing filament. "RepRapable," as it's
called, was designed and built by three students and one professor in
of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. The
were made available last year under a Creative
Commons license in the journal HardwareX.
isn't a new idea. Open source and commercial versions of
"recyclebots" exist aplenty, according to the plans. But as
the project authors noted, building or buying these systems ranges
"from $6,000 to tens of thousands of dollars." RepRapable
costs about $700 for the components and takes about 24 hours to
build. According to its makers, the machine can replace the filament
made by commercial pellets for roughly 22 percent of the cost and cut
the amount of energy used in creating new filament by about 90
percent. It can also fabricate the recycled waste plastic into
filament for 2.5 cents per kilogram, about a thousand times less than
the cost of commercial filament.
name comes from the term adopted by the 3D printer community to
describe a replicating rapid-prototyper ("RepRap") that can
print its own components to recreate itself. In this project, the
recyclebot can generate the filament needed to replicate itself on
any RepRap 3D printer.
plans include a detailed materials list, step-by-step build and
operation instructions, assembly photographs and illustrations and a
link to a source
file repository, maintained on Open
link to the article itself is available on
the Michigan Tech website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.