3D printing is a controversial old thing. Amongst its much-repeated list of key benefits, there is one to that’s a bone of contention for enthusiasts and cynics alike – waste.
Promoted as a technology that reduces waste due to its additive nature, meaning only the required amount of material is used, critics would argue, and rightly so, that plastic 3D printers do produce a lot of excess waste. I myself even have a nice little pile of models at home that eventually are going to end up in a landfill somewhere.
So what can be done? Currently there are recycling policies in place with major 3D printer manufacturers and machines like the EKOCYCLE that can turn plastic bottles into 3D printing filament. Now a new machine has stepped up to the plate on a mission to turn this promising technology green – and even save you money along the way.
The ProtoCycler is a product of 2 years development that claims to be able to recycle waste plastic into valuable 3D printer filament.
Currently in the last few days of a successful Indiegogo campaign, the ProtoCycler claims that, in just a few simple steps, it is capable of producing up to 10 feet of filament a minute in any given colour.
Essentially the process works by depositing any waste material, prototypes and support material into an integrated grinder, which is then extruded by MixFlow technology into usable filament, pre-spooled and ready to go.
According to its designers, ProtoCycler will “pay for itself in just 10-20 spools” allowing the user to make a typical $30 spool for just $5 at home.
The campaign page states the ProtoCycler is the “world’s first fully integrated, fully automated, safety certified filament recycler” and having raised $89,000 already – that’s almost $20,000 over its target – it looks like it might get the chance to prove it.
With just a few days left to back the project, 3D printer users keen to save on filament and a little bit of the planet in the process, can get their hands on a ProtoCycler for $699 delivered by August.