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3D Printing: Sustainable “Inks”

300px-3D_Drucker_FilamentsWith all the craze going on around 3D Printing, I found this article on Venture Beat fascinating. Currently, 3D printers utilize colored ABS plastic lines to “print” their three-dimensional products. ABS plastic is durable plastic that is used to produce molded products, like business telephone systems, computer plastic, golf heads, automotive body parts, wheel covers, enclosures, protective head-gear, reusable paintballs, LEGO blocks and other toys.

ABS is a recyclable plastic, however, it is extremely hard to find recycled filaments to drop into most mainstream 3D printers. According to Venture Beat, Liz Havlin from Seattle is working to change that by developing a desktop recycling machine that converts recycled plastics into plastic lines compatible with 3D printers.

Working with experimenter Hugh Lyman open source design, Havlin’s “Legacy” machine can be built with about $250 worth of parts. Legacy uses a self-winding filament spool apparatus so when you’re ready to start printing, you simply snip the end and put the spool on your 3D printer.

While the machine is still in the testing phases, Havlin is doing wonderful things with her concept of desktop recycling. She’s partnering with a local center to help employ individuals with disabilities, and she’s also partnered with a local business to exchange recyclable materials for already ground up plastic pellets. Additionally, she’s working with a Canadian-based plastic waste stream processor to make the machine a licensable model.

She was even quoted saying, “Don’t you love Open Source? Instead of DIY we can do it together!”

To take the project to the next level, Havlin wants to create a Kickstarter Project to raise $30,000. Right now she’s taking feedback on getting plastics from the wastestream to mainstream. What are your thoughts on her mission?

Source: http://venturebeat.com/2014/04/20/seattle-entrepreneur-is-turning-old-soda-bottles-into-3d-printer-ink/

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