It seems that we discuss one of the downsides of 3D printing more and lately: trash. This does in fact occur mainly by way of plastic—and even just one home workshop can produce surprising volumes of it, by way of big blobby print failures, discarded prototypes, and other materials as well. Upon the advent of this technology, most were caught up in the euphoria of discovering something new that allows for such empowerment in making things, verging on that of magic. It wasn’t too long, however, before the question of what to do with piles of plastic in the trash emerged. Lately, we discover and discuss numerous ways of recycling, as well as using recycled products in filament that can then be recycled again—and even for solvents.
Companies like Voodoo Manufacturing and Filabot are concerned about trash pileup too, and rather than just setting that worry aside, they have taken action in creating a partnership for recycling. This is where the fun comes in—well, maybe it’s just me—but the idea of chucking all that plastic into a great big grinder and sending it back full circle seems very fulfilling. Plus, let’s consider the savings on the bottom line here. Filament, while varying in price, can begin to take a toll on the budget if you are a major 3D printing enthusiast.
Voodoo Manufacturing is a dynamic company with plenty of fun energy that we’ve been following since their inception, as the former MakerBot team launched the service bureau last year. We followed them as they’ve partnered with e-NABLE and gone on to strut their stuff at Comic Con earlier this year. With all of the activity going on at their headquarters, we would suppose producing a whopping 200 pounds of plastic waste is expected (but sheesh—that is a lot of printing). Well aware that they needed to find a good path to recycling large amounts, they were quite fortunate to partner with Filabot for recycling over 600 pounds of plastic this year.
Filabot is another exciting team that we have the privilege to report on often, from fantastic new filaments to other fantastic partnerships as with Ben & Jerry’s and the program to upcycle all those little spoons for—you guessed it, recycled filament. With the Voodoo Manufacturing project, they are able to recycle hundreds of pounds of used filament by using machines like the Filabot Industrial Reclaimer. Best used for highly industrial purposes though, the Reclaimer retails for about $4K.
See the video below—where they are also using the Filabot Original, and the Filabot Spooler—so that you can get a better idea of what the Filabot recycling process looks like. This is a real rags to riches story for trashed items that are turned back into what is often quite an expensive commodity. The Filabot machinery can recycle practically any plastic, grinding it, and sending it right back where it came from, also coming full circle in some of the most wonderful 3D printing benefits—self-sustainability, innovation, and affordability. Have you been worried about what to do with plastic from 3D printing? Discuss further in the Filabot Recycling Machine forum over at 3DPB.com.