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The 3D Un-Printer 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the other-half-of-the-replicator dept.
An anonymous reader writes "3D printing is on its way toward becoming ubiquitous. Of course, if you have such a printer and want to print something, you need raw materials — the plastic filament that's fed into the machine. It's also likely that while you're learning the ropes, you'll print a bunch of terrible attempts at objects, and end up having to throw them out. Now, Wired is reporting on a device aiming to solve both of those problems. Tyler McNaney's 'Filabot' will break down failed projects as well as many other plastic items from traditional manufacturers, turning them into a filament you can then feed through a 3D printer. 'So far the plastics that work are HDPE, LDPE, ABS, NYLON. More to come on the different types that work.' McNaney sees it as a 'closed-loop recycling system on your desk.' The Filabot's Kickstarter campaign succeeded easily in 2012, and now he and his team are getting ready to launch."
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The 3D Un-Printer

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  • Nylon? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @06:28PM (#42629931)

    That one is so easy to find from bags that it may be worth using those with this instead of throwing them away when you can't use them.

  • Re:Transmetropolitan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by anubi (640541) on Friday January 18, 2013 @07:09PM (#42630315) Journal
    I have long wondered what it would take to recycle soda bottles, being they are all made with the same high quality plastic that withstands the pressures of carbonated water ( sometimes heated carbonated water ) without exploding.

    Yes, it would be worth it to me to clean the bottle if I could feed the bottle into some sort of machine which would reform the plastic into a more usable form.

    It would make a market for used soda bottles, and get them off the street and out of our landfills. Our congress would also have to set the framework for original bottling to make sure all bottlers used the same plastic formulation so the reformers could use it.

    I can well see the day when darned nearly anything plastic, especially things like pipe and fittings, could be made to order on the spot. Plastic things no longer wanted could be offered as feedstock to make something else.

    Can you see going to Home Depot for some half-inch irrigation pipe and be able to pay for it in either dollars or recyclable plastic... and having them set their machine to extrude what you wanted right on the spot?
  • by gl4ss (559668) on Friday January 18, 2013 @07:09PM (#42630321) Homepage Journal
  • Re:Nylon? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Smidge204 (605297) on Friday January 18, 2013 @07:52PM (#42630595) Journal

    The people that tested it did not use an independent lab (or ANY lab, really...), and they also sell it. Grain of salt required here.

    That said, cyanide offgassing is more of a problem when nylon is burning or severely overheated. Either way, caution is required.
    =Smidge=

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:20PM (#42631189)

    Once people put out designs to buy for stupid things that teenagers like, it will fly off shelves. Print out your own cell phone cases or designs you can stick on your text books.

    Already happened: Nokia To Release Lumia Case Design Files For 3D Printers [slashdot.org]

  • Re:Transmetropolitan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dbIII (701233) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:52PM (#42631387)
    Oddly one of the first things I got off the internet was a method for reusing plastic drink bottles. It was a book in postscipt form called "The Jolly Brewer" from alt.rec.brewing :)
    Full recycling into anything other than bottles is slightly more involved so makes most sense in bulk. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyethylene_terephthalate#Processing_examples_for_recycled_polyester [wikipedia.org]

    A lot of this material has been recycled near where I live for what seems like twenty years. Initially that meant that the black recycled material was a lot cheaper than anything else since you could throw in a lot of PET and if there's a bit of green or brown stuff in there you can just hide it all with black. That meant lots of cheap recycled black plastic for industrial purposes or things like wheelie bins (wheeled plastic trash containers around four foot high). Improved sorting and drink manufacturers mostly standardising on the same transparent PET means that now the transparent flakes are just about as cheap and then whatever color is desired gets added later, although there's probably just enough impurities that you don't want to use it to make a transparent plastic.

    Can you see going to Home Depot for some half-inch irrigation pipe and be able to pay for it in either dollars or recyclable plastic... and having them set their machine to extrude what you wanted right on the spot?

    Bottle blowing machinery using plastic granules to feed it circa 1990 isn't really all that far removed from that and pipes could certainly be extruded using PET or similar. Something like a large "Home Depot" probably does have the economy of scale to make the granules if their customers are bringing in the right sort of plastics. The tricky bit seems to be sorting, and if the customers are doing that themselves before they bring the plastic in that makes everything a lot easier and possibly viable. I know I'd be happier to pay a bit more for a 620mm length of pipe made on the spot than cut it down from one metre.
    In the construction industry at this point the amount of material wasted is enormous since the cost of materials is much cheaper than wages. The earlier practices of joining offcuts or even finding one long enough to do a job are gone. Being able to extrude parts to correct sizes onsite would save a lot of waste. Of course you can't easily do that with materials like steel, but steel is already so easy to recycle that it has a high enough scrap value that little is wasted, and the energy cost of remelting is not paticularly high.

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