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PPP 3 Years

You might think it has been a bit quiet around the Perpetual Plastic team, or PPP in short, but actually we are going harder than ever! With PPP, we already showed the world that you can recycle waste plastics for 3D-printing, but we really wanted to upscale the process to make a real and sustainable impact in the 3D printing world.

When you think big, you have to act big! That’s how we came up with Refil; our own line of high quality 3D-printer filaments made from recycled dashboards and PET bottles. Since the product launch last spring, makers and companies in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany can make everything they create a fully recycled product.

Casper, Refils project manager says: “Even the spools themselves are made from recycled cardboard - which can enter normal waste streams - to fully underline our vision of making the third industrial revolution a sustainable one.”

Big visions demand many hands, and the last 3 years we had many!

Without them, we would never managed to :

  • get 4 nominations (Maker of Merit) at the MakerFaire Rome in 2013
  • win ‘Best project’ and ‘Environmental education’ at the Mini MakerFaire in Trieste, Italy
  • win ‘Best innovation in materials for 3D-printing’  at  IDTechEx 2015
  • showcase Refil at Maker Faire San Francisco

 

Meanwhile we naturally continue improving our machine, using the input of visitors of PPP. For instance, people asked us frequently if their plastic can be recycled for 3D-printing.

That’s why we recently have developed a plastic identification and separation tool for events, to educate about different kinds of plastic. We will soon add this educational tool to our installation. Read more about some tests we did before in our blog post: Plastic identification & seperation.

 

Spread the love

Our goal is to spread awareness about the possibilities of plastics recycling. PPP inspires people to look at waste plastics in a new way and see opportunities instead of difficulties.

It all started at Lowlands Festival 2012, the biggest festival of the Netherlands with 60.000 visitors, where we got the chance to showcase our Perpetual Plastic Project. The project was received enthusiastically and was put on showcase afterwards during the 2012 Dutch Design week in Eindhoven for 10 days. The news spread quickly and from that moment on the events started to follow each other up rapidly.

By now, 2015, the PPP installation has been present at over 75 events in 11 different countries and 3 continents! During these events, more than 150.000 people witnessed the awesomeness of our installation, and we are still counting!

Did you know the PPP installation is not the only one in the world anymore? Since the first installation got retired and is now acting as storage shelves in our office, a brand new installation was designed and built. This improved version currently has a copy in Angola, Africa, which is operated by an eager student team that gives workshops at schools and universities.

Another installation is at a university in The Netherlands and the third copy just got back to our office from an exhibition in “Het Nieuwe Instituut” (The New Institute) in Rotterdam.


We do not just spread love, we multiply it as well!

For some applications the whole installation is too big; reason to use the machines as a standalone. For example a PPP shredder is at Etsy headquarters in New York to shred used plates to reduce the volume of the garbage. A PPP shredder and extruder are at FabLab Flevoland as part of a regional school program about the recycling of plastics. And on the other side of the world, a shredder and extruder just got to environmental awareness organization L.O.O.P in Peru to demonstrate and experiment with plastics recycling.  

But PPP is not only physically, but also digitally, spreading its word:

  • The PPP movie made during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven has been watched over 15.000 times on YouTube.

  • PPP is used in many inspirational talks and presentations throughout the world. The mayor of Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Rome got a spin at the PPP tools.

The Mayor of Rome 2013
  • PPP was featured in Dutch national TV shows Kassa Groen and Huisje Boompje Beestje. The last show is watched by all primary school kids in The Netherlands. Gaspard is still recognized by kids that watched the episode over a year ago, forcing him to disguise whenever he visits primary schools.

We have tried to reach out to people via showcases at events, presentations, television, workshops and through our online community. By now, more than half a million of people have heard about adding value to plastic instead of regarding it as waste.. Because we continue working hard to inspire people, this number is still going up!

Next international PPP exposure will be in Greece & a second run in Rome! So be there if you can, to watch our new, improved and shiny installation!

 

Best practices & tips

Running for 3 years now and with over 75+ events (LINK blog Spread the love), we want to share with you 3 tips that -partly of course- explain the magic of PPP of making any event truly unique.

1. Tip: Engage visitors before the event
How?   Recycled invitation cards
here? Arup Penguin Pool june 2015, Berlin

The Penguin Pool is Arup's global creative events series designed to inform, inspire and entertain. This year, it was hosted by Arup in Berlin. The Penguin Pool’s theme focused around the "Resource City": where do our urban resources actually come from and where do they really go? To engage the visitors even before the event started, the team from Arup came up with a great idea which we turned into reality.Visitors received a personalised invitation card made of PS plastic. With this card they could enter the event and instead of disposing the card after use, it could directly be recycled in the PPP installation in coins.

Some visitors did know exactly what to do and others were pleasantly surprised by the concept!

Perpetual Plastic Project @ ARUP

 

2.Tip: Combine installations into 1 big experience
How?
Jack the Green Plugin
Where?  Ekotown, June 2014, Amsterdamse Bos

Ekotown is a 2 day lifestyle festival in Amsterdam were the focus is on sharing knowledge and inspiration about a biological way of life. Together with UMEF we proposed to make the PPP machine run fully on green energy, locally produced at the festival.  

The PPP installation does not require that much power at all since most of the power comes from the visitor’s muscles. However the drying tower, the 3D-printers and some mobile phone chargers needed to be powered, so we had to come up with an idea to produce power.

To achieve this, we used wind, solar and human power to generate this needed energy. Since wind and solar energy are depending fully on the local condition, human power was needed as a back up. While there was almost no wind these days, it turned out to be very sunny, and the solar panels produced more than enough power to keep the machine running all day, without having to fall back on human or wind power. The combination of PPP, green energy harvesting and an electricity producing dancefloor is a green package deal for festivals by the name of Jack, the Green Plugin.

3.Tip: Optimize the match between the 3D-printed recycled product and the event.
How?
Recycled surf vins
Where? Madnes festival 2014

Every summer a group of surfers, skaters and music lovers goes all the way north to the lovely island of Ameland to enjoy a weekend long festival named Madnes. With most of the PPP team being loyal visitors of this festival it was high on our ‘Places to go’ list for PPP. In the summer of 2014 we finally got the chance to show our project. Since the festival is founded and attended by surfers we could make an interesting connection with the Fover Fins project we were working on; 3D printing customized surfboard fins from recycled beach plastic. During the festival we did some experiments and printed several surf fins. The visitors were really enthusiastic and immediately understood the possible applications for recycling for 3D-printing.

Perpetual Plastic Project @ Madnes


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How many cups?

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How many cups?

How many plastic cups do you need to recycle to generate one 3D printed ring? We often get this question at the events we visit with our Perpetual Plastic Project installation. Must be a lot, you’d say. Well, we would like to show you exactly how many plastic cups you need. The answer surprised even us. You actually do not need many cups at all.

Recycling plastic for 3D printing

For the following examples we calculate as if all of the waste material (used plastic cups or bottles) is transformed into a printed object. So the weight of the rings or other 3D printed items is the weight of plastic that we need out of plastic cups or bottles.

One plastic cup equals two rings

We’d explain this better by giving a few examples. As you can see in the image below, the weight of two of our 3D printed rings is 3 grams. One cup made of PS (polystyrene) is also 3 grams, so you can get two of the rings out of one plastic cup.

plastic-cups-into-rings

Phone case made out of bioplastic

You can print a phone case, like the Fairphone case you see in the image, out of recycled plastic (more about the Fairphone, www.fairphone.nl). The weight of the phone case is 22 grams. If you use cups of bioplastic of 6,5 grams each, you will need 4 cups to get one phone case. Think about it...just 4 used plastic cups and you have a perfectly fine new phone case!

 

printed-Fairphone-case

Surf fin out of PET bottles

What if you lose or break your surfboard fin while surfing and you happen to have a 3D printer nearby? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just gather some PET bottles at the beach, which are usually scattered around sadly enough, and print your own! At least, that’s our vision for recycling plastic bottles in the future. 


As we mentioned before in a previous blog post about plastics that can be recycled for 3D printing, it is really hard to recycle PET into high quality filament. Recently we’ve managed to print the surfboard fin in the image from recycled PET filament. However, it is still tough to recycle PET for 100% and get good quality. In the industry they usually add virgin material. 
The surfboard fin weighs 87 grams. As a 1 liter PET bottle weighs 22 grams, you would in our envisioned future only need 4 PET bottles to print your own new surfboard fin.

surfboardfin-petbottle.jpg

So, how many cups do you need? The answer differs a little for every material, but in general we can say that you only need half a plastic cup to get one of our PPP rings. Now you know you’d better think twice before you throw away your seemingly worthless plastic waste, it might be just what you need.


PS. You might not know me yet, so let me introduce myself briefly. I'm  Eveline van Berchum. I'm an online communications specialist. Currently I'm helping out the guys from the Better Future Factory with their online communications. Thanks to them I'm also learning more about recycling plastics and 3D printing myself.

 

 

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Plastics that can be recycled for 3D printing

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Plastics that can be recycled for 3D printing

Okay, so we're heading towards the 2 year anniversary of Perpetual Plastic Project. By now we have done over 40 events all over Europe to show people the possibilities of 3D printing with plastic waste. But what plastic waste is suitable for the PPP process of recycling and 3D printing? For most materials there is no documentation available for recycling for 3D printing, according to the PPP team the best way to find out is to try it out! We collected different kinds of plastic waste, put them through our washing tower, shredder, extruder and finally into the 3D printer. Today we'll provide you with a list of the materials we have put to the test during the events and the time in between, the ones that were recycled successful but also those who did not make it yet. 

Successful materials 

PLA

We've started out with the familiar PLA at Lowlands festival 2012 in The Netherlands. PLA is today a common material for festival disposables and a common material for FDM, the perfect match to kick-off the Perpetual Plastic Project. PLA works great for both extruding as 3D printing. 

PLA

PS

Since we were completely into drinking cups since the Lowlands festival we were eager to try out the other common disposable material Polystyrene (PS). We did the first successful recycling of a plastic PS cup into the familiar PPP ring at the Open Day of the Martini Hospital in Groningen (NL). 

PS

LDPE

The third material added to the PPP portfolio was another familiar disposable; plastic bags. Plastic bags are made of low density poly-ethylene (LDPE). We took a bunch of broken plastic bags form the Albert Heijn, a supermarket chain in the Netherlands with a iconic blue color, and put the material to the test. Since our PPP shredder was designed for drinking cups it did not work properly with the plastic bags. Instead we had to cut them into pieces by hand. A lot of work but the end result was a succes. The LDPE material results in a somewhat flexible end product, like the input material; the bags.  

The plastic bag from the Albert Heijn supermarkt says: Use me again!  

The plastic bag from the Albert Heijn supermarkt says: Use me again!  

Not only plastic bags but also bottle caps are usually made from LDPE. We went to our local supermarket and got an hour to get as many caps at the bottle recycling point. Here is the result;

LDPE 2

PA

Next up is polyamide (PA). We got a batch of PA powder from Shapeways, This powder is the waste material from their SLS 3D printing machines. With the PPP machine we have been able to use the waste powder from SLS printing as input for FDM 3D printing. So a second step of 3D printing with the same material. Although the 3D printing with PA needs some tweaking we have been able to make a proper PPP ring. The material works great for extruding but the powder requires a different extruder design to handle the powder. 

PA

PP

I almost wanted to write polypropylene (PP) under the section of materials that we have not been able to successfully recycle with the PPP installation. We did some tests before with a broken IKEA box but the material was not good for extruding so we ended up with just some small pieces of filament. Turns out that even these bad pieces of filament were extremely good for 3D printing. Even with our basic PLA print settings we got a great result. Here's a picture of todays result: 

PP

The materials that did not (yet) make it. 

So you just saw the materials we have successfully recycled with the PPP installation. Now we'll show you some materials that did not make it yet.

PET

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a very common plastic and one of the most recycled plastics in the world. In order to recycle PET in a high quality it needs special treatment compared to other plastics. PET is a semi-crystalline plastic, this means it appears in two phases, amorf and crystalline. Check wiki for the details. As a result we get a mixture of crystallised PET and amorf PET which leads to an inhomogenous end result. The pellets should be dried and crystallised before going to the extruding process to end up with a high quality end result. So fas we haven't managed to get this right. To be continued...!   

PET

Next up?

We working on recycling more plastics for 3D printing as we speak. Next to that we're looking into combinations of plastics that could work together for 3D printing. Successful combinations could lead to the elimination of the complicated and expensive separation the plastic for recycling.

Your material?   

If you have a material and you are curious if it is possible to use it for recycling for 3D printing? Please let us know, we love to try out new materials!  Send us a batch, we'll put it through the machine and see what happens.  Contact: info@perpetualplasticproject.com 

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3D Print The King

After a long time of having Queens our country finally has a King again! (read up on the royals) Tomorrow we are celebrating the first Kingsday since 1890. For the occasion, we decided we were going to 3d-print our king and queen in the form of chess pieces. 

Photo Scanning in Madame Tussauds

We wanted to make it easy on ourselves, and because contacting the King and Queen personally seemed like a stretch, we decided to go into Madame Tussauds to scan our royals. Why go through the trouble of modelling if someone has already done it for you? 
123D Catch is by far the best solution for scanning objects (or people) without a scanner. Do you remember efforts like trimensional? Besides hacking a Kinect, affordable scanning hasn't been around that long.
There is still a downside to the method: you need to have a good lighting situation and a proper sequence of photographs around your model. Otherwise the software cannot "stitch" the photos together. You're also left to the mercy of their server for the processing rather then having standalone software. 
Unfortunately, because we had to be "sneaky" in order to not act too suspicious in front of the cameras, our photos were no good. We did however manage to get a good scan of Charlie Chaplin and Gorbatsjov. And actually, we thought that the wax sculpture in Madame Tussauds did not really resemble the King we know... 

Madame's sculpture.

Madame's sculpture.

Willem Alexander (Not Willem IV. Het belangrijkste is dat je authentiek blijf)

Willem Alexander (Not Willem IV. Het belangrijkste is dat je authentiek blijf)

Sculptris

So we turned to another tool in order to get the job done. Sculptris is the free version of ZBrush and lets you create 3d models on the computer in the same way that you would with clay. We hadn't used the tool before but it was our last resort. Youtube education goes a long way and thanks to Ryan Kittleson we got up to speed. The model is still not perfect, consider it's my first sculpt ever, but when printed out at the scale of a chess piece there were enough people that recognised the king. 

Pulling out the basic shapes.

Adding another object to create the hair piece.

The final steps were to combine the head with a crown and a chess piece. A Rotterdam design studio "Tweetonig" has created an instructable on how to put your head on a chess piece using 123D Catch. They were so good to also supply the chess models. On Thingiverse we found a cool looking crown that seemed printable for the scale we were aiming at. We used Rhino (for Mac) to put all the pieces together. We didn't create a completely merged mesh from the 3 different objects but instead decided to take a shortcut and use the Combine Everything Type B option in Cura's expert settings. This prevents the overlap of the meshes from forming holes in the printed model.
note: We did have to MeshBooleanUnion the hair and the head in Rhino to prevent holes.

What Next?

Well, obviously we don't have the queen yet so if anyone feels like going for it, let us know. Otherwise that might be a nice second sculpt for me.
Besides that we want to let everyone have a go at it so we uploaded all our files to Thingiverse.
We didn't have time to put a beard on him, so whoever has some time left, please do!
In the meantime we're printing out a bunch of them to sell on the market in Rotterdam tomorrow. The ones that are left we will donate to the Chess Piece museum in Rotterdam.

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design "contest"

Why do I write "contest" in between quotation marks? I think there's more to creating and sharing 3d-printed designs in the maker world then "winning a contest". The nature of the maker community is supposed to inspire people to build on each other's ideas.

A short while ago, at the occasion of the TU Delft: Industrial Design Engineering Business Faire, we wrote out a case for the students of the faculty: "design a 3d-printed product to be made on campus from used coffee cups". Obviously this case is based on the work we do with our installation. I'm going to discuss the entries now, and argue why and how they answered the case.

I'll discuss the (winning) entry that for me stood out in several ways. The design is called "cam secure" and was made by Stef de Groot. Stef took the liberty of already uploading it to thingiverse, which is great.

Stef's design.

Stef's design.

Our recycled versions. Left = from coffee cups, Right = from bio plastic cups.

Our recycled versions. Left = from coffee cups, Right = from bio plastic cups.

It is a laptop camera blocker and answers to the trend of people putting tape on their laptop cameras in fear of hackers (whether government, criminal or for fun) spying on them. A printed camera blocker looks nicer and can be customised to the tastes of the laptop owner; this in relation to people that like to personalise their laptops with i.e. stickers.
Considering that the people on campus are supplying the raw material for the product that they intend to get, a product that uses less material is more attractive because it requires those people to save up less material (drink less coffee).
Stef designed this cam blocker specifically for the kind of laptop that most students on campus use, thereby making it relevant for a large number of people on campus. I would like to see this design go a bit further into the potential of 3d-printing and become adjustable for different kinds of laptops and have different kinds of versions. Maybe in the form of Keanu sitting in front of your laptop camera? Anyways, I've been inspired :-)

I'll discuss one more entry because it is interesting to see what people expect that printers can do.
Brian Khouw wanted to see if the Ultimaker could handle complex forms and find out what the structural loading can be on the recycled plastic. For this he sent us a design of a candle holder.

Brian Khouw's design.

Brian Khouw's design.

Our try on the Ultimaker 2.

Our try on the Ultimaker 2.

The Ultimakers can indeed handle quite complex shapes but the experimental nature of using recycled coffee cups plastic (see previous blog post) prevents us from printing these kind of shapes with recycled material. We tried printing the design with our Ultimaker 2 at high resolution but even then this design is pushing the limits of FDM printers. The problems are the support of the thin structure and the warping of the part. It is really something that is more fit to produce with an SLS or a Photolithography printer.

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The opening of Perpetual Peter's Hub

Opening a 3D Hub

After hosting the event "Love in 3D" together with 3D Hubs on Valentines day at our new office in Rotterdam, we decided that it might be nice to integrate a bit more into the local 3D printing community. So, we've decided to open up ourselves as the Perpetual Hub on the 3D Hubs network.
To sign up as a hub you first make a test print of 3D Hubs' mascotte: Marvin. Of course, our Marvin had to be printed from recycled plastic cups. Because of the experimental nature of the printing material, it took a few tries before Marvin was printed properly. Every design requires a little tweaking, and even more so when we print with recycled plastics.

Printing with Polystyrene (cups)

PS (polystyrene) is not often used in 3D-printers. Plastic filament for 3D-printers is engineered to have certain properties that make it suitable for FDM (fused deposition modelling). Plastic cups are produced in a different ways (i.e. blowmolding) so the plastic has different properties.
Actually, every type of mass-produced plastic product has probably been made with a dedicated compound. This is the trouble with re-applying waste plastics for different purposes. But it's not insurmountable!

PS cools down faster then PLA or ABS which prevents proper interlayer adhesion. By adjusting the gcode to extrude comparatively more material we mitigated this problem. We used a 0.8mm nozzle, made the layers 0.3mm thick and turned off the fan.
Also, because PS behaves "gummy" (a higher viscosity?) when extruded, the nozzle tends to tear away any layers that aren't properly adhered to the latter and the path of the layer is lost. This can be seen happening on Marvin's head in the first prints. The effect does not occur when printing an overhanging structure (Marvin's bottom) because the material is then pulled outwards.
To prevent this effect on Marvin's head, the shell thickness of the print has been made 3x the nozzle size. Another option would have been to reduce the layer thickness but this would negate the fact that we're trying to extrude more material to improve layer adhesion. Also, we were printing carefully at 30% of 20mm/s the print would take a very long time.

Slicing Marvin to be suitable for printing with PS.

PS doesn't stick well to the bed so we use double sided tape.

Next: 3D Hubs meetup

The 18th of April on a Friday afternoon (with drinks) we'll be hosting another party: a Rotterdam 3D Hubs community meetup. Since last time was also a success, our office is so conveniently located and has ample space to welcome in people (and we just like throwing parties). It will be an opportunity for all the makers of Rotterdam to get to know each other and find out what's keeping everyone busy.

From right to left: 0.8mm shell thickness (error), 1.6mm shell thickness (half PLA), 1.6mm shell thickness (the head is messed up), 2.4 shell thickness (success!).

From right to left: 0.8mm shell thickness (error), 1.6mm shell thickness (half PLA), 1.6mm shell thickness (the head is messed up), 2.4 shell thickness (success!).

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Plastic identification & separation

Just water:  PP (Black) floats PS (Gold) sinks PLA (Red) sinks

Just water: 

PP (Black) floats

PS (Gold) sinks

PLA (Red) sinks

Water + 10 grams of salt PP (Black) floats PS (Gold) floats PLA (Red) sinks

Water + 10 grams of salt

PP (Black) floats

PS (Gold) floats

PLA (Red) sinks

Water + 30 grams of salt PP (Black) floats PS (Gold) floats PLA (Red) floats

Water + 30 grams of salt

PP (Black) floats

PS (Gold) floats

PLA (Red) floats

Today we did some tests regarding the identification and separation of plastics. In most cases plastic waste is mixed with other kinds of plastic. For the recycling process it is important to have a single kind of plastic. There are multiple techniques available to identify plastics like Near Infrared Spectrometry, the burn test and electrostatic separation. The most simple technique however, separate the plastics by density, requires just water and salt and can be performed in your own kitchen. 

Some plastics have a lower density than water (e.g PP 0,92 kg/dm3) and other have a higher density (e.g. PS 1,06 kg/dm3). By cutting them in small pieces and putting them in water they separate by density. This way it is for example possible to separate the PE caps from the PET bottles (PE 0,96 kg/dm3 vs PET 1,39 kg/dm3). And PP from PS and PLA (see pictures above). By increasing the density of the water by adding salt it is possible to increase the density of water and make heavier plastics float. By adding 10 grams of salt to 100gram water the density is now 1,10 kg/dm3 and now PS starts to float. 

The density of water can also be lowered by mixing it with alcohol, which has a density of 0,79, so the lighter plastics can be separated as well. 

Plastic densities (kg/dm3): 

Water 1,00 

PP 0,91

LDPE 0,94

HDPE 0,96

PS 1,06

ABS 1,06

PC 1,20

PLA 1,25

PET 1,39

Check out this YouTube video by Recoup to see the test in action!  

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Extruder Evolution

Evolution of the Perpetual Plastic Project Extruder

We intend to be a completely transparent organisation and we have been showing and talking about our technology with anyone interested since we started. We believe that there is more and faster return on investment in sharing knowledge then in hiding it. Having sprouted from and being part of an open-source community requires that we actively give something back. Therefore, by popular request, Laura has taken the time to document the evolution of our extruder designs. For each iteration we have listed the obstacles we encountered and the improvements we made.

* Source files: The step files we have right now are kind of messy so stay posted for updates. Feel free to contact us about details. We promise that we'll always respond but we can't promise when. (-:

Extruder 0.0 [March 2012]

First ever PPP extruder.

First ever PPP extruder.

Design

When we first had the idea for the project we didn't even know if it would be possible to recycle cups and create filament out of it. That's why we made the most simple extruder imaginable. It consists of a tube with internal threading and a threaded rod that pushes the material through by turning it. For a nozzle we used standard plumbing parts that have a standard compression fit on the tube. We heated the nozzle with a torch. Unfortunately the fit wasn't tight enough and the nozzle came off.

improvements: none. first version.

+ : easy to make. standard parts.

- : nozzle falls off, speed of extrusion (meant for testing)

Extruder 0.1 [April 2012]

The updated design of the test model.

The updated design of the test model.

Wet material causes bubble forming.

Wet material causes bubble forming.

 

Design

We kept the design the same and replaced the nozzle with a nozzle that we turned ourselves on the lathe. With this extruder we were able to create our first filament from old plastic cups and we made our first print with it. We also found out at this stage that the plastic shreds have to be dry to prevent the water from causing bubbles in the filament. We had proven that our concept would work. The next step would be to create an extruder that could extruder material continuously instead of having to reload it by turning back the rod.

improvements: compression fit nozzle replaced by custom nozzle

+ : first print was made with material

- : material has to be dry, extruder has to be reloaded by turning back the rod

Extruder 0.5 [June 2012]

The first automated extruder.

The first automated extruder.

Extruder control with Arduino and interface.

Extruder control with Arduino and interface.

Design

This extruder design was inspired by Bigelow Brook Farm's plastic extruder, meant for creating plant growing beds. At the time, that was one of - if not THE only DIY extruder design that was shared on the internet.
We used an 18mm auger and a small DC motor that was controlled by Arduino. For heating we used NiChr 0.5mm wire that we insulated by hand with Kapton tape and coiled around the tube, powering it with an ATX computer power supply.
The small DC motor wasn't powerful enough and failed halfway through testing, so we continued testing by hand cranking the auger. This actually worked very well because the torque one is able to deliver by hand can compensate for irregularities in the shredded plastic input.

improvements: automated process; hopper, auger, motor, electrical heating

+ : automating the process

- : motor not strong enough to handle irregular input

Extruder 1.0 [July 2012]

Design of the vertical extuder.

Design of the vertical extuder.

The first extruder to be integrated in the installation.

The first extruder to be integrated in the installation.

Design

For the final design to be integrated in the installation we decided to keep the extruder hand cranked. This eliminates electronics that are needed and compensates for a large motor that would be needed for extruding recycled material. We thought that making the extruder vertical would help the flow of material by gravity.
Because the crank had to be on ergonomic height the nozzle ended up a bit low. This complicated the catching of the filament because we had to get on our knees to retrieve it and it was less visible from a visitor point of view. Another design flaw was the tolerance on the gears and the auger which causes the auger to grind the inner tube a bit. 

improvements: hand crank, vertical orientation

+ : integration in the interactive installation, less susceptible to electronic failures

- : catching the filament, tolerances in the system

Extruder 1.1 [July 2013]

Horizontal again, and prettier, using acrylic.

Horizontal again, and prettier, using acrylic.

The acrylic parts are used to fasten it to the installation.

The acrylic parts are used to fasten it to the installation.

Design

A year down the road and some minor adjustments later we gave the extruder an overhaul again, also in the cosmetic sense: we used acrylic that we had previously also used in our printer and shredder. It just looks better. But the functionality was also improved: we put bearings in the auger enclosure to prevent grinding and the orientation was changed back to horizontal to facilitate the catching of filament. 
Because the flanges of the auger housing were welded this caused some deformation in the metal thereby again creating tolerances on the auger and housing. An idea was to create the flanges from 1 part in order to eliminate the need for welding.

improvements: horizontal orientation, looks, bearings,

+ : catching the filament, looks the same as the other machines now

- : tolerances in the system, maintenance requires removing many nuts and sections

Extruder 1.2 [January 2014]

Again an automatic version of the extruder.

Again an automatic version of the extruder.

Heating elements instead of wire and an 28Nm (strong) motor at 8rpm.

Heating elements instead of wire and an 28Nm (strong) motor at 8rpm.

Design

To better know at which temperatures we were extruding we switched to using heating elements (160W). The temperature is measured with a type K sensor (M6 x 12mm). For a constant feed of material we used an 28Nm strong motor at 8rpm.
Moving the heating elements more towards the front allowed us to experiment with the effect of heating the sections differently. This wasn't possible with the wire. Although the motor now gave us a nice and constant rpm we noticed that the flaw lay in the homogeneity of the input. If the plastic shreds aren't small enough they don't get transported by the auger immediately.
We noticed during our event on 14 Feb that the interaction with the installation is much less when the extruder is automated: then it becomes only a matter of watching the machine. We'll continue to develop the automation of the recycling process in order to create recycled filament spools but for the installation we will focus more on the interaction and feedback part in order to achieve better output when operated by hand.

improvements: heating elements, temp sensor, strong motor

+ : one person can make filament, temperature feedback improves filament quality

- : automation takes away from interaction in the installation, we need to add speed and emergency stop control to the motor

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Roadtrip part 2 Trieste

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Roadtrip part 2 Trieste

The last days of chilling in Berlin got us ready for the long road we had to make. We left a very interesting crowd in the Bar am See: our friends from the Ding Dong app and their entourage of entrepreneurs: Jeni, Olga, Kate, Onno, and Che.
We rode for 11 hours straight with three people sharing the wheel (Jonas, Gaspard and Bart) through the wednesday night crossing the Austrian mountains to arrive in Trieste, Italy. There we were welcomed by our friends from the ICTP: Enrique and Carlos at the guesthouse by the Adriatic sea. We built up the installation on one of the most beautiful squares in Italy: Piazza di Unita. 

What ensued was a day like we had not encountered before in our PPP days. From 9am till 11pm we there was a crowd, non-stop of young and old. Luckily we had also Gaia and Ilaria to help us because our Italian is not that good. The most important words were: lavare, bicchieri, trituratrice, estrusure filo riciclata and stampa 3D.
It was really nice to have the team from the ICTP helping us. We feel like we would like to do this more often. Employing volunteers to guide the visitors through the installation while we just do some monitoring.

We started extruding the PS cups from Illy and at first we thought we hit a snag. The material seemed to transform into chewing gum and stuck in the extruder. Finally we got the settings just right and we even extruded filament better then we ever did with PLA. The stickiness of the PS made it a lot easier to get up on a roll. However, the same properties of the material made printing harder. We're still figuring out the right settings.
We also still haven't found the right policy about giving away or selling the rings. We can't produce enough rings to meet the demand even though we've brought the printing time to under 3 minutes. Asking for donations in return for a ring worked well in Berlin but we felt that it wasn't right for this particular setting.

Tomorrow and tuesday, our agenda will be of less practical and more of theoretical nature as we'll be giving a lecture and attending the conference here that will also be about online education.

In other news, we're chosen to participate in the first Dutch Village Capital program organised with stichting Doen, The HUB Amsterdam and Outside Inc. It's time for Jonas and Gaspard to kick this project in the butt and grow a real business out of it (so that we might support ourselves and our future children).

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Roadtrip part 1 Berlin

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Roadtrip part 1 Berlin

This is our first blog post although we have already been on the road for three days. The website has been out of the air for some days and we've only been able to get to a decent Wi-fi just now. Big ups to our friend Leon van Rossenberg, Berlin local, for helping us out (also with building up the installation and assisting).

We are at the end of our second day at the Berlin Art Week in the program Preview Berlin.http://www.previewberlin.de/ www.berlinartweek.de/ 
We're there with Stefan and Ulli to represent the Fabcon faire in Erfurt where we were also present last time.http://www.fabcon-germany.com/

The road to Berlin went surprisingly smooth, without Stau or stockende Verkehr and we set up the installation like it aint no thing. The first day is always a little bit exciting because you never know what kind of crowd to expect. It was relatively quiet until it crowds suddenly came ramming from 6 till 10. They caught us by surprise and even managed to break the crank of the little shredder. So today was troubleshooting day and going to the local hardware stores to get spare parts while also manning the installation. 

We did however manage to print an immense lot of our trademark "heart rings" from recycled material that we extruded with the revamped extruder. It's up to a point where we can let the visitors extrude themselves and the quality is quite sufficient to print with. Using a 0.8mm nozzle also helps the hot end from clogging up as the recycled filament that we make often has impurities. We decided to make the layers of the print more visible which has two advantages: the layers melt together better making the print stronger and it prints a lot faster. And it just looks cooler as well.

We also did a custom print job for the Berlin Art Parasites and got picked up by their blog. pic.twitter.com/yQG2LZQbqR They're pretty cool guys and girls.

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