Three dimensional printing is here. Turn your trash into cash and save energy. Plastic beverage or milk bottles don't have to go to waste anymore and clog landfills. Instead, every time you emptied a plastic milk or water jug, you would be stocking up on raw material to make anything from a cell phone case and golf tees to a toy castle and a garlic press? Make your own toys for kids from plastic bottles. It's possible with three dimensional printing. See, "Build Your Own CNC Router, CNC Machine, or 3D Printer."
If you like do-it-yourself technology, check out the website, Thingiverse - Digital Designs for Physical Objects. Thingiverse is dedicated to the sharing of user-created digital design files. The site provides primarily open source hardware designs licensed under the GNU General Public License or Creative Commons licenses, according to the Wikipedia site explaining the purpose of Thingiverse.
Choose your own license on what you design
Thingiverse Users choose the type of user license they wish to attach to the designs they share. 3D printers, laser cutters, milling machines and many other technologies can be used to physically create the files shared by the users on Thingiverse. But if all the inspirational, creative, artistic and engineering or even kitchen inventions and gadgets you could create, there also are going to be the dark side of 3-D printing just as there is with any technology. You might look to a future where people print their own gun designs or other weapons using 3-D printing.
The innovative idea is in the brain of the person using the technology. Just like the Internet, the technology can be used to make the world a kinder and gentler place, recycle plastic, or it can be used to make weapons in the hands of those who do things like that. In the meantime, focusing on 3-D printing to make the world a better place through recycling, you now have a chance to make practical use of your digital designs.
Create a toy or a device to make cans easier to open or any other innovation from a snowflake in plastic to jewelry designs and more. If you're going to use the design a container or gadget to hold or process food or water, make sure the plastic at least is BPA-free.
Thingiverse is a place for you to share your digital designs with the world
Computing has shifted away from the mainframe into the personal computer that you use today Next up on your horizon is digital fabrication. If you think laser cutters, cnc machines, 3D printers, and even automated paper cutters are all getting cheaper by the day, you're right. Now you can make gadgets from discarded plastic bottles and similar containers using 3-D printers. These machines are useful for a huge variety of things, but you need to supply them with a digital design in order to get anything useful out of them. See the You Tube video, Thingiverse Proof of Concept (Bottle Cutter).mp4.
If you check out the Thingiverse site, they're creating a community of people who create and share designs freely, so that all can benefit from them. You'll find some free software on the site that can inspire you to be more creative in a variety of applications.
3D printing lets anyone make almost anything with a simple machine and a roll of plastic filament
Now Michigan Technological University's Joshua Pearce has found a way to drive costs down even further by recycling empty milk jugs into filament. The process reduces landfill waste, saves on energy compared with traditional recycling, and makes 3D printing and even better deal. Joshua Pearce is working on it. His main tool is open-source 3D printing, which he uses to save thousands of dollars by making everything from his lab equipment to his safety razor, according to the March 1, 2013 news release by, Marcia Goodrich, "Turn trash into cash... and save energy."
Make toys for kids or household gadgets of all types with a three-dimensional printer. All those plastic jugs and other containers now become raw material from which you can make anything from kitchen equipment to process or juice vegetables to toys to donate or cell phone cases. It's all about recycling plastic bottles and similar containers in your own house or garage and turning these objects into usable other objects. That's the idea of recycling raw materials at home. Also check out the site, Michigan Technological University.
Use free software downloaded from sites such as Thingiverse
Using free software downloaded from sites such as Thingiverse - Digital Designs for Physical Objects which now holds over 54,000 open-source designs, 3D printers make all manner of objects by laying down thin layers of plastic in a specific pattern. While high-end printers can cost many thousands of dollars, simpler open-source units run between $250 and $500—and can be used to make parts for other 3D printers, driving the cost down ever further. See the You Tube video, The open source world of MakerBot & Thingiverse: objects for free.
“One impediment to even more widespread use has been the cost of filament,” explains Pearce, an associate professor of materials science and engineering and electrical and computer engineering in the March 1, 2013 news release by, Marcia Goodrich, "Turn trash into cash... and save energy." Though vastly less expensive than most manufactured products, the plastic filament that 3D printers transform into useful objects isn’t free.
Turning milk jugs into plastic filament to be used by industry
Milk jugs, on the other hand, are a costly nuisance, either to recycle or to bury in a landfill. But if you could turn them into plastic filament, Pearce reasoned, you could solve the disposal problem and drive down the cost of 3D printing even more. It's also motivation to children and teenagers to consider future careers or training in making 3D art, engineering, architecture, making gadgets, jewelry design, making mounts and cases for computer devices, or science-related designs. Or it can be a hobby for any age person interested in creativity from recycled waste done at home or in a garage.
So Pearce and his research group decided to make their own recycling unit, or RecycleBot. They cut the labels off milk jugs, washed the plastic, and shredded it. Then they ran it through a homemade device that melts and extrudes it into a long, spaghetti-like string of plastic. Their process is open-source and free for everyone to make and use at Thingiverse.com.
You can turn plastic objects such as milk or distilled water containers or bags into art objects as well such as unique snowflakes. Generate and print unique snowflakes. There's a snowflake generator that generates gcode. But you can make your own. How about making a snowflake generator that generates three-dimensional (3D) geometric shapes that can be used as art, toys, or containers. You slice and print the objects. The objects print out in three dimensions using a 3-D printer. Check out the images of such snowflake printed out from a 3-D printer at the "Featured Things" site.
Make your own recycling unit
The process isn’t perfect. Milk jugs are made of high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, which is not ideal for 3D printing. “HDPE is a little more challenging to print with,” Pearce says in the news release. But the disadvantages are not overwhelming. His group made its own climate-controlled chamber using a dorm-room refrigerator and an off-the-shelf teddy-bear humidifier and had good results. With more experimentation, the results would be even better, he says. “3D printing is where computers were in the 1970s.”
The group determined that making their own filament in an insulated RecycleBot used about 1/10th the energy needed to acquire commercial 3D filament. They also calculated that they used less energy than it would take to recycle milk jugs conventionally.
RecycleBots and 3D printers have all kinds of applications, but they would be especially useful in areas where shopping malls are few and far between, Pearce believes. “Three billion people live in rural areas that have lots of plastic junk,” he says in the news release. “They could use it to make useful consumer goods for themselves. Or imagine people living by a landfill in Brazil, recycling plastic and making useful products or even just ‘fair trade filament’ to sell. Twenty milk jugs gets you about 1 kilogram of plastic filament, which currently costs $30 to $50 online.”
Check out Pearce's two articles on recycling waste polymer into feedstock
Pearce’s research is described in depth in two articles: “Distributed Recycling of Waste Polymer into RepRap Feedstock,”coauthored with Christian Baechler and Matthew DeVuono of Queen’s University and published in the March issue of Rapid Prototyping ; and “Distributed Recycling of Post-Consumer Plastic Waste in Rural Areas,” coauthored by Michigan Tech’s Jerry Anzalone (CEE) and students Megan Kreiger (MSE), Meredith Mulder (MSE) and Alexandra Glover (MSE), which will appear in the Proceedings of the Materials Research Society.
Michigan Technological University is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 130 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences. For more information, check out Rapid Prototyping Journal.
Thingiverse resource videos on YouTube