Students launch desktop recycler that turns pop bottles into 3D printer plastic

March 6, 2015, University of British Columbia
ProtoCycler, an environmentally friendly, inexpensive 3D-plastic recycler, is the brainchild of three UBC engineering physics students.

Three engineering physics students at the University of British Columbia have developed a desktop plastic recycler and extruder that turns plastic waste into the material needed for 3D printing.

Called ProtoCycler, the machine can grind , such as pop bottles and Lego, and melt it into a filament that can be fed into 3D printers.

ProtoCycler began as a fourth-year engineering project for inventors Dennon Oosterman, Alex Kay and David Joyce.

"We were concerned about the amount of generated in our engineering projects, so we looked for a way to recycle that plastic back into usable filament," Oosterman said.

While there are other desktop filament extruders and plastic grinders on the market, ProtoCycler combines the two and is faster and easier to use. It can produce 10 feet of filament per minute – the fastest extruder on the market, says Oosterman.

A kilogram spool of created by ProtoCycler costs $5 if produced with plastic pellets available for purchase, or is free if produced from used plastic. The cheapest store-bought spool starts at $30.

Last year, Oosterman, Kay and Joyce formed ReDeTec (short for Renewable Design Technology) to bring their design to market.

ProtoCycler is available for pre-orders at $699 at www.redetec.com.

"Schools are including 3D printing as part of their science and technology curriculum, but the cost of having each student try a project can quickly become unaffordable," Oosterman said.

"With ProtoCycler, the students can try over and over until it's perfect, nearly for free, without harming the environment."

Explore further: Turning old milk jugs into 3D printer filament

Related Stories

Can fair trade plastic save people and the planet?

October 1, 2014

(Phys.org) —It's old news that open-source 3D printing is cheaper than conventional manufacturing, not to mention greener and incredibly useful for making everything from lab equipment to chess pieces. Now it's time add ...

Beyond the trinkets: Voxel8 shows 3D electronics printer

January 13, 2015

Beyond plastic angel paperweights and keychain elves, how complex can complex be in today's output from 3D printers? Voxel8 says they have the world's first multi-material 3D electronics printer, the nature of which can give ...

WASP has printer, will travel, to make houses

October 16, 2014

At Maker Faire Rome, an Italian 3D printer company is demonstrating a tall, portable machine that will bring 3D-printed dwellings to impoverished countries. WASP has been exploring low-cost solutions to solve housing needs.

3D pen-in-air aims for professional heights

May 1, 2014

In the 3D marketplace, would a small, lightweight 3D printing pen, enabling doodling in the air with precision, really take off? Here's an indication: a Kickstarter project offering a 3D pen that is small, light and able ...

Recommended for you

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...

The taming of the light screw

March 22, 2019

DESY and MPSD scientists have created high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might ...

Male fish can thank genes for colourful looks

March 22, 2019

Striking traits seen only in males of some species – such as colourful peacock feathers or butterfly wings – are partly explained by gene behaviour, research suggests.

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.