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| By Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Lab.
Wanted: Students to make a distributed future with solar-powered open-source 3-D printing.
|This page is part of an international project to use RepRap 3-D printing to make OSAT for sustainable development. Learn more.
Research: Open source 3-D printing of OSAT • RecycleBot • LCA of home recycling • Green Distributed Recycling • Ethical Filament • LCA of distributed manufacturing • RepRap LCA Energy and CO2 • Solar-powered RepRaps • solar powered recyclebot • Feasibility hub • Mechanical testing • RepRap printing protocol: MOST• Lessons learned • MOST RepRap Build • MOST Prusa Build • MOST HS RepRap build • RepRap Print Server
- 1 RepRapable Recyclebot: Open source 3-D printable extruder for converting plastic to 3-D printing filament
- 2 Distributed Recycling of Waste Polymer into RepRap Feedstock
- 3 Recyclebot evolution
- 4 Other types of RecycleBots
- 5 Quick payback time calculation
- 6 Recyclable Polymers
- 7 See Also
- 8 Peer Reviewed articles covering recyclebot technology
- 9 Articles about the RecycleBot
RepRapable Recyclebot: Open source 3-D printable extruder for converting plastic to 3-D printing filament
Source: Aubrey L. Woern, Joseph R. McCaslin, Adam M. Pringle, and Joshua M. Pearce. RepRapable Recyclebot: Open Source 3-D Printable Extruder for Converting Plastic to 3-D Printing Filament. HardwareX 4C (2018) e00026 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ohx.2018.e00026 open access
- Just the code: OSF
In order to assist researchers explore the full potential of distributed recycling of post-consumer polymer waste, this article describes a recyclebot, which is a waste plastic extruder capable of making commercial quality 3-D printing filament. The device design takes advantage of both the open source hardware methodology and the paradigm developed by the open source self-replicating rapid prototyper (RepRap) 3-D printer community. Specifically, this paper describes the design, fabrication and operation of a RepRapable Recyclebot, which refers to the Recyclebot’s ability to provide the filament needed to largely replicate the parts for the Recyclebot on any type of RepRap 3-D printer. The device costs less than $700 in mate rials and can be fabricated in about 24 h. Filament is produced at 0.4 kg/h using 0.24 kWh/kg with a diameter ±4.6%. Thus, filament can be manufactured from commercial pellets for <22% of commercial filament costs. In addition, it can fabricate recycled waste plastic into filament for 2.5 cents/kg, which is <1000X commercial filament costs. The system can fabricate filament from polymers with extrusion temperatures <250 °C and is thus capable of manufacturing custom filament over a wide range of thermopolymers and composites for material science studies of new materials and recyclability studies, as well as research on novel applications of fused filament based 3-D printing.
Distributed Recycling of Waste Polymer into RepRap Feedstock
Source: 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
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.
|3DPI.tv on Recycling with Recyclebot|
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.
Full technical information, BOMs and build instructions found at the links below. Also when designing consider Improving recyclebot concepts
- 3-D printable Chain guard for the RecycleBot
- Nick's Filament Extruder
- Under final development now
- Under final development now
- Under development now (NOT FULLY FUNCTIONAL) - please use RepRapable Recyclebot
Other types of RecycleBots
- Fused Particle Fabrication 3-D Printing: Recycled Materials’ Optimization and Mechanical Properties
- The Plastic Bank has a nice semi-industrial recyclebot - Plastic Bank Extruder v1.0
- There are also several OSH tools being developed by Precious Plastic to reuse plastic waste
- 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, Noztek, Filabot, EWE, Extrusionbot, Filamaker (also has shredder) and the Strooder, Felfil (OS), which all could potentially be used for recycling.
- ExtrusionBot Cruncher - also grinder to go with extruder (vid shows PET but no crystallization)
- See collection: http://www.thingiverse.com/jpearce/collections/recyclebot-and-friends
- Also a plastic shredder from Filamaker used in project Seafood to turn waste ocean HDPE into useful items
- Recent list of companies in this space 
- Also a plastic shredder from Filamaker used in project Seafood to turn waste ocean HDPE into useful items
- Recent list of companies in this space 
- Shred buddy https://openbuilds.com/builds/shred-buddy3d-upcycler-open-source-multi-material-cutter-pelletizer.4275/ by http://www.venture-bit.com/
- Filamentive, 3d fuel - commercialized recycled filament
|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
|Image||Made of||Used in||Melting temperature C|
|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)
|Perpetual Plastic Project|
ProtoPrint employees waste pickers in India to use a FlakerBot and RefilBot that make HDPE waste into filament
- Tightening the loop on the circular economy: Coupled distributed recycling and manufacturing with recyclebot and RepRap 3-D printing
- Energy Payback Time of a Solar Photovoltaic Powered Waste Plastic Recyclebot System
- Evaluation of Potential Fair Trade Standards for an Ethical 3-D Printing Filament
- Wood Furniture Waste-Based Recycled 3-D Printing Filament
- Recyclebot on RepRap wiki
- 3-D Printable Polymer Pelletizer Chopper for Fused Granular Fabrication-Based Additive Manufacturing
- 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
- Polymer recycling codes for distributed manufacturing with 3-D printers
- 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
- Expanding the Consumer Bill of Rights for material ingredients
- 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
- Filament By Filacycle Is 100% Recycled! - 3D Printing Industry 12-16-2014
- Dr. Recare- nice concept to have automated plastic beach cleaner/3D printer make recyclebins
- Haruna Hamod. 2015.Suitability of recycled HDPE for 3D printing filament. Arcada University of Applied Science. Thesis covering recycling HDPE to filament
- Tisserat, Brent, Zengshe Liu, Victoria Finkenstadt, Branden Lewandowski, Steven Ott, and Louis Reifschneider. "3D printing biocomposites." 3D printing biocomposites
- Closing the Sustainability Cycle with InnoCirlce Recycled 3D Printing Filaments - 3D Printing and Industry
- Reflow Filament - commercial recycled PET filament producer
- Innofil3D - Recycled PET 3D Filament Manufacturer
- Filamentive PET vs PETG
- Green Fab Lab Applications of Large-Area Waste Polymer-based Additive Manufacturing
- Systems Analysis for PET and Olefin Polymers in a Circular Economy
Peer Reviewed articles covering recyclebot technology
- 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
- M.A. Kreiger, M.L. Mulder, A.G. Glover, J. M. Pearce, Life Cycle Analysis of Distributed Recycling of Post-consumer High Density Polyethylene for 3-D Printing Filament, Journal of Cleaner Production, 70, pp. 90–96 (2014). open access
- Megan Kreiger and Joshua M. Pearce (2013). Environmental Life Cycle Analysis of Distributed 3-D Printing and Conventional Manufacturing of Polymer Products, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, Engineering, 1 (12), (2013) pp. 1511–1519DOI: 10.1021/sc400093k Open access*
- Megan Kreiger and Joshua M. Pearce (2013). Environmental Impacts of Distributed Manufacturing from 3-D Printing of Polymer Components and Products. MRS Online Proceedings Library, 1492, mrsf12-1492-g01-02 open access
- M. Kreiger, G. C. Anzalone, M. L. Mulder, A. Glover and J. M Pearce (2013). Distributed Recycling of Post-Consumer Plastic Waste in Rural Areas. MRS Online Proceedings Library, 1492, mrsf12-1492-g04-06 open access
- Emily J. Hunt, Chenlong Zhang, Nick Anzalone, Joshua M. Pearce, Polymer recycling codes for distributed manufacturing with 3-D printers, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 97, pp. 24-30 (2015). DOI:10.1016/j.resconrec.2015.02.004 open access
- Feeley, S. R., Wijnen, B., & Pearce, J. M. (2014). Evaluation of Potential Fair Trade Standards for an Ethical 3-D Printing Filament. Journal of Sustainable Development, 7(5), 1-12. DOI: 10.5539/jsd.v7n5p1 open access
- Hunt, R., 3D Printing Applications for Creating Products Made from Reclaimed Fishing Nets-Rhiannon Hunt, Martin Charter. 2016.
- Okshtein, Y., 2009. RecycleBot 2.0: An Integrated Recycling Sorting and Separating System (Doctoral dissertation, The Cooper Union).
- Chong, S., Pan, G.T., Khalid, M., Yang, T.C.K., Hung, S.T. and Huang, C.M., Physical Characterization and Pre-assessment of Recycled High-Density Polyethylene as 3D Printing Material. Journal of Polymers and the Environment, pp.1-10.
- Knips, C., Bertling, J., Blömer, J. and Janssen, W., 2014. FabLabs, 3D-printing and degrowth–Democratisation and deceleration of production or a new consumptive boom producing more waste?.https://co-munity.net/system/files/Knip.pdf
- Despeisse, M., Baumers, M., Brown, P., Charnley, F., Ford, S.J., Garmulewicz, A., Knowles, S., Minshall, T.H.W., Mortara, L., Reed-Tsochas, F.P. and Rowley, J., Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: a research agenda.https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Melanie_Despeisse/publication/303701616_Unlocking_value_for_a_circular_economy_through_3D_printing_a_research_agenda/links/574ea1f808aedd1c180d7ef5.pdf
- Ramli, F.R., Jailani, M.I., Unjar, H., Alkahari, M.R. and Abdullah, M.A., 2015. Integrated recycle system concept for low cost 3D-printer sustainability. Proc. Mech. Eng. Res. Day, 1, pp.77-78.
- Pelley, Janet. "Fair-trade plastic for 3D printers." Frontiers in Ecology(2014): 484-484.
- Birtchnell, T. and Urry, J., 2013. Fabricating futures and the movement of objects. Mobilities, 8(3), pp.388-405.
- Hoyle, W., 3D Printing in the Developing World: Learning from Techfortrade’s 3D4D Challenge. LOW-COST 3D PRINTING, p.177.
- Pearce, J., 2014. Technology whose time has come. Physics World, 27(01), p.33.
- Fastermann, P., 2014. Nachhaltigkeit–3D-Druck als umweltfreundliche Technologie?. In 3D-Drucken (pp. 103-113). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
- Chonga, S., Chiub, H.L., Liaob, Y.C., Hungc, S.T. and Pand, G.T., 2015. Cradle to Cradle® Design for 3D Printing. CHEMICAL ENGINEERING, 45.
- Bodzay, B. and Bánhegyi, G., 2016. Polymer waste: controlled breakdown or recycling?. International Journal of Design Sciences & Technology, 22(2).
- Sung, K., 2015. A review on upcycling: current body of literature, knowledge gaps and a way forward. Part I, ICEES, 2015, p.17th.
- Sanchez, F.A.C., Boudaoud, H., Hoppe, S. and Camargo, M., 2017. Polymer Recycling in an Open-Source Additive Manufacturing Context: Mechanical Issues. Additive Manufacturing.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addma.2017.05.013
- Anderson, I., 2017. Mechanical Properties of Specimens 3D Printed with Virgin and Recycled Polylactic Acid. 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, 4(2), pp.110-115.
- Pakkanen, J., Manfredi, D., Minetola, P. and Iuliano, L., 2017, April. About the Use of Recycled or Biodegradable Filaments for Sustainability of 3D Printing. In International Conference on Sustainable Design and Manufacturing (pp. 776-785). Springer, Cham.
- Sauerwein, M., & Doubrovski, E. L. (2018). Local and Recyclable Materials for Additive Manufacturing: 3D Printing with Mussel Shells. Materials Today Communications. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352492817301046
- Hart, K.R., Frketic, J.B. and Brown, J.R., 2018. Recycling Meal-Ready-To-Eat (MRE) Pouches into Polymer Filament for Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing. Additive Manufacturing. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214860417305742
- Zander, N.E., Gillan, M. and Lambeth, R.H., 2018. Recycled polyethylene terephthalate as a new FFF feedstock material. Additive Manufacturing, 21, pp.174-182.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addma.2018.03.007
- Sherer, S. (2018). Objects that Create Community: Effects of 3D Printing and Distributed manufacturing beyond Circular Economy (Doctoral dissertation, OCAD University). http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/2291/1/Sherer_Samantha_2018_MDes_IAMD_Thesis.pdf
- Lionel Taito-Matamua, , Simon Fraser, , Jeongbin Ok, (2018), Renewing Materials: Implementing 3D Printing and Distributed Recycling in Samoa, in Robert Crocker , Christopher Saint , Guanyi Chen , Yindong Tong (ed.) Unmaking Waste in Production and Consumption: Towards the Circular Economy, pp.191 - 212
- Mohammed, M.I., Wilson, D., Gomez-Kervin, E., Vidler, C., Rosson, L. and Long, J., The recycling of E-Waste ABS plastics by melt extrusion and 3D printing using solar powered devices as a transformative tool for humanitarian aid.https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mazher_Mohammed2/publication/329216987_The_recycling_of_E-Waste_ABS_plastics_by_melt_extrusion_and_3D_printing_using_solar_powered_devices_as_a_transformative_tool_for_humanitarian_aid/links/5bfd4a01299bf1c2329d5f5c/The-recycling-of-E-Waste-ABS-plastics-by-melt-extrusion-and-3D-printing-using-solar-powered-devices-as-a-transformative-tool-for-humanitarian-aid.pdf
- Mohammed, M.I., Wilson, D., Gomez-Kervin, E., Rosson, L. and Long, J., 2018, November. EcoPrinting: Investigation of Solar Powered Plastic Recycling and Additive Manufacturing for Enhanced Waste Management and Sustainable Manufacturing. In 2018 IEEE Conference on Technologies for Sustainability (SusTech) (pp. 1-6). IEEE. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8671370
- Mohammed, M.I., Wilson, D., Gomez-Kervin, E., Vidler, C., Rosson, L. and Long, J., The recycling of E-Waste ABS plastics by melt extrusion and 3D printing using solar powered devices as a transformative tool for humanitarian aid. 
Articles about the RecycleBot
|The EKOCYCLE Cube 3D Printer - Prints in Post-consumer PET|
- 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
|The New Scientist - Ethical Filament Story|
- 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)
|AdaFruit Industries:3D Hangouts with Matt Griffin, Noe & Pedro Ruiz|
- 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
- DIY 3D Filament – Recyclebot to Produce 3D Printer Filament from Waste Polymers #3DThursday #3DPrinting - Adafruit Industries Blog
- Domestic recycling to nourish 3D printers - Crazy Engineers
- 3D-printen met afval als grondstof - Pieterbas.nl
- Can We 3D Print our Way to Sustainability? - Earth Island Journal
- Plastic: New Technology Promises Greener 3-D Printing NBC News New York
- Green.Wiwo.de - (German)
- Three C Goes 3-D: Enterprise Team's Recycling Plan Earns Ford College Community Challenge Award, Tech Century, 3Ders, 3D Printing Industry
- Tech innovation fills 3-D printers - Mining Gazette
- Students work to make recycled 3-D printer filament - Washington Times, The Olympian, Charlotte Observer, Arizona Daily Star, Sacramento Bee, Miami Herald, Kansas City Star, Holland Sentinel, WRAL
- The Revolution Will Be Customized (and Recycled and Solar-Powered) - MIT-Sloan Management Review
- Superior Filament at Michigan Tech -3DPrint.com TV6 UP Michigan Source
- Student Entrepreneurs Put Discarded Water Bottles to New Use - MTU News
- Research Enterprise- Intense activity picking up even more in some fields -- Mining Gazette