| Developed by Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Lab. For more see MOST's Appropedia Hub.
Wanted: Graduate students interested in making a solar-powered open-source 3-D printing and distributed manufacturing future. Contact: Professor Joshua Pearce
|This page is part of an international project to use RepRap 3-D printing to make OSAT for sustainable development. Learn more.
Research: Feasibility hub • Mechanical testing • Open source 3-D printing of OSAT • RecycleBot • LCA of home recycling • LCA of distributed manufacturing • RepRap LCA Energy and CO2 • RepRap printing protocol: MOST• Lessons learned • MOST RepRap Build • MOST Prusa Build • MOST HS RepRap build • RepRap Print Server
 Distributed Recycling of Waste Polymer into RepRap FeedstockSource: Christian Baechler, Matthew DeVuono, and Joshua M. Pearce, “Distributed Recycling of Waste Polymer into RepRap Feedstock” Rapid Prototyping Journal, 19(2), pp. 118-125 (2013). open access
|3DPI.tv on Recycling with Recyclebot|
Purpose - A low-cost, open source, self-replicating rapid prototyper (RepRap) has been developed, which greatly expands the potential user base of rapid prototypers. The operating cost of the RepRap can be further reduced using waste polymers as feedstock. Centralized recycling of polymers is often uneconomic and energy intensive due to transportation embodied energy. This paper provides a proof of concept for high-value recycling of waste polymers at distributed creation sites.
Design/methodology/approach - Previous designs of waste plastic extruders (also known as RecycleBots) were evaluated using a weighted evaluation matrix. An updated design was completed and the description and analysis of the design is presented including component summary, testing procedures, a basic life cycle analysis and extrusion results. The filament was tested for consistency of density and diameter while quantifying electricity consumption.
Findings - Filament was successfully extruded at an average rate of 90 mm/min and used to print parts. The filament averaged 2.805±0.003mm diameter with 87% of samples between 2.540± 0.003mm and 3.081± 0.003mm. The average mass was 0.564 ± 0.001 g/100mm length. Energy use was 0.06 kWh/m.
Practical implications - The success of the Recyclebot further reduces RepRap operating costs, which enables distributed in-home, value added, plastic recycling. This has implications for municipal waste management programs as in-home recycling could reduce cost and greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste collection and transportation as well as the environmental impact of manufacturing custom plastic parts.
Originality/value - This paper reports on the first technical evaluation of a feedstock filament for the RepRap from waste plastic material made in a distributed recycling device.
 Recyclebot evolution
Full technical information, BOMs and build instructions found at the links below.
 Other types of RecycleBots
- You can buy a commercial open-source recyclebot called the "filastruder" kit for $290 and a Filawinder for $160.
- There are many other commercial filament extruders now including the FilaFab, Filabot, EWE, Extrusionbot, Filamaker (also has shredder) and the Strooder, which all could potentially be used for recycling.
- See collection: http://www.thingiverse.com/jpearce/collections/recyclebot-and-friends
|Recyclebot and Friends Galley|
 Quick payback time calculation
- commercial filament currently sells for about $35/kg
- electricity cost from  is $0.10/kg
- plastic if recycled cost $0/kg
- if you buy pellets sells from $1-$10/kg
Payback time in kg produced = recyclebot cost/(commercial filament cost avoided - (elec+plastic))
Worst case = (filastruder+filawinder)/(commercial filament cost avoided - high end pellets -elec recyclebot)=$450/($35-$10.10)=18kg
Best case = filastruder plus floor winding/(commercial filament cost avoided - recycled plastic) = $290/($35-0.1) = 8.3kg
Rich case = filastruder+filawinder/(commercial filament cost avoided - recycled plastic) = $450/($35-0.1) = 12.8kg
Then you stick the filament in your RepRap and print $1000s of dollars of goods for pennies: see Life-cycle economic analysis of distributed manufacturing with open-source 3-D printers
 Recyclable Polymers
|Image||Made of||Used in||Melting temperature C||Printed via|
|PETE Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)||Soda & water containers, some waterproof packaging.||260°C|
|HDPE High-Density Polyethylene.||Milk, detergent & oil bottles, Toys and plastic bags.||130°C|
|V Vinyl/Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC).||Food wrap, vegetable oil bottles, blister packages.||160°C|
|LDPE Low-Density Polyethylene.||plastic bags. Shrink wrap, garment bags.||120°C|
|PP Polypropylene.||Refrigerated containers, some bags, most bottle tops, some carpets, some food wrap.||130°C|
|PS Polystyrene.||Throwaway utensils, meat packing, protective packing.||240°C|
|Others.||Layered or mixed plastic.|
These symbols are meant to indicate the type of plastic, not its recyclability.
- Types 1 and 2 are commonly recycled.
- Type 4 is less commonly recycled.
- The other types are generally not recycled, except perhaps in small test programs.
- Common plastics polycarbonate (PC) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) do not have recycling numbers.
- Plastics 3, 6, and 7 probably contain BPA and should not be used to store anything that will be consumed by humans.
- The majority of plastic packaging was made with one of six resins there are codes for those six as well as a seventh, 7-OTHER, to be used when the product in question is made with a plastic other than the common six, or is made of more than one plastic used in combination . Currently, 7 plastics can sometimes be recycled into bottles or plastic lumber. However, polycarbonate plastic, one variety coded number 7, is made with the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA. The National Toxicology Program reports that BPA may have adverse effects on the development of the brain and behavior of fetuses, infants and children, and advises consumers to limit BPA exposure by avoiding number 7 plastic containers.. There is a potential academic project here to call for greater granularity in the plastic codes - if anyone wants to work on this please contact me. -- Joshua 17:18, 31 July 2013 (PDT)
 See Also
|Perpetual Plastic Project|
Perpetual Plastic Project - Giant Room Size RecycleBot that takes people through all the steps
ProtoPrint employees waste pickers in India to use a FlakerBot and RefilBot that make HDPE waste into filament
- Recyclebot on RepRap wiki
- Life cycle analysis of distributed recycling of post-consumer high density polyethylene for 3-D printing filament
- Mechanical Properties of Components Fabricated with Open-Source 3-D Printers Under Realistic Environmental Conditions
- Plastic bank
- Mechanical testing of polymer components made with the RepRap 3-D printer
- Development and feasibility of applications for the RepRap 3-D printer
- Life cycle analysis of distributed polymer recycling
- Solar powered distributed customized manufacturing
- Distributed recycling of post-consumer plastic waste in rural areas
- Ethical Filament Foundation
- LDPE recycling on a bike with a RepRap from Taipei-based company Fabraft
- UBC recycling of old prints with blender and liquid nitrogen http://ubc-rapid.com/blog/?p=183
 Articles about the RecycleBot
|The EKOCYCLE Cube 3D Printer - Prints in Post-consumer PET|
|The New Scientist - Ethical Filament Story|
- Turning Trash into Cash . . . and Saving Energy -- Michigan Tech News, WDIO, Ideas, Inventions and Innovations, The Cutting Edge, Science Codex, Albany Tribune, Science News Online, Innovation Toronto, Examiner, Product Design and Development, Newswise, Energy Daily, Materials Gate
- 3D Printed gun moving from sinister joke to sinister business model By Bruce Sterling -- Wired - Beyond the Beyond
- 3-D Printing Using Old Milk Jugs - Science Daily
- New process transforms old milk jugs into everything from lab equipment to cell phone cases - Phys.org
- Feed Your 3D-Printer With Used Milk Jugs -- Science World Report
- RecycleBot turns old milk jugs into 3D printer feedstock -- 3Ders
- Researchers Develop RecycleBot to Recycle Plastic Using 3D Printers -- Azom
- 3D Printer Recycles Milk Jugs -- Laboratory Equipment
- RecycleBot: An open source recycling plant - Personolize
- How Recycled Milk Jugs Can Make 3D Printing Cheaper and Greener - Green Optimistic
- Your 3D Printer Could Eat Empty Milk Jugs Instead of Expensive Plastic -- Gizmodo,I4U
- RecycleBot zet oud plastic om in grondstof voor 3d-prints - Tweakers (Dutch), DMorgan
- La basura puede servir para imprimir en 3D - El Correo (Spanish)
- Designing the Future -- Tech4Trade
- Trash Technology: 3D Printing With Recycled Material - Red Orbit
- The importance of the Lyman Extruder, Filamaker, Recyclebot and Filabot to 3D printing - Voxel Fab
- How milk jugs can make 3D printing cheaper - Smart Planet
- Research: 3D Printed Filament from Recycled Milk Jugs - 3D Printing Industry
- Rapid Ready Roundup: OsteoFab, Dreambox, RecycleBot and Trains - Rapid Ready Tech
- Turn your milk jugs into… whatever. At home. With 3D printing. - Guild of Scientifc Troubadours
- How to Turn Trash into Cash- Organic Connections
- Recycled fodder for the 3D printer - Stochastic Scientist
- 3-D Printing Using Old containers - DA Woolgar Blog
- Print in 3D at low cost using conventional plastic recycling at home (Spanish) -- Noticias de la Ciencia
- Health, Wealth & Wisdom on 1470 AM WMGG April 12, 2013 (listen)
- Turning Trash into Cash and Saving Energy - MTU Undergraduate Engineering Education 2013
- Less Expensive and Greener 3-D Printing- IEEE Institute
- RECYCLEBOT: A ketchup bottle recyclable materials for 3D printers - TU (Norway)
- How recycled plastic for 3D printing will drive sustainability and improve social consciousness - Tech Republic
- Plastic Bottles: The New Artistic Medium - Art and Science Journal