dd016d926ce39da43bd3ee809f6fc214_originalI’ve gotten much better than I used to be in terms of remembering to bring my reusable canvas bags when I go grocery shopping now, but somehow I still keep ending up with piles and piles of plastic bags that end up stuffed in one of my kitchen cabinets until I remember to gather them up and take them to one of the bag-recycling stations at Giant Eagle or Target. I swear there have been times when I’ve gotten back home after dropping them off only to find even more plastic bags that weren’t there before. Seriously, they’re multiplying.

I know I’m not the only one who has trouble with an excess of plastic bags, and then there are the plastic bottles that pile up, as well – water bottles, pop bottles, milk jugs. Despite our best efforts, we have a plastic problem that demands creative solutions, and Daniel Edwards has a pretty brilliant one. The UK-based inventor has taken two popular trends in 3D printing – recycled filament and 3D printing pens – and combined them into one to create the Renegade, a 3D printing pen that uses strips of plastic bags and bottles in place of filament.

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The idea was born out of a concern for the environment as well as a frustration with the cost of filament for standard 3D printing pens. The pen itself is made from durable aluminum with a powerful drive motor and gearbox that allow for the smooth feeding of plastic strips, which are created with the ChupaCut – a cute, smiley-faced contraption that shreds plastic bottles into  3, 6, 9, or 12 mm pieces to be used in lieu of filament. Standard filament can also be used with the Renegade if you so choose; its flexibility allows you to print with just about any kind of plastic, according to its creators.

d8f06a556c9677ef8fd21b2919e1f7d4_originalThe Renegade project has just gone live on Kickstarter, attempting to raise £25,000 ($32,699) by August 15. Rewards start at £15, or about $20, which will get you your own ChupaCut bottle shredder at an early bird price; once early bird rewards run out, it goes up to £20, or about $26. Early birds who pledge £60 ($78) will receive a Renegade pen along with a spool for holding their homemade filament; the same reward is £70 ($92) for non-early birds. The best deal is the early bird offer of £75 ($98), which will get you the full set: ChupaCut, Renegade pen, and plastic strip holder (non-early bird price is £90 or $118).

£100 (or $131) gets you the Super Renegade Set, which is all of the above plus additional spools and a stand to hold all of your equipment. Higher pledge amounts will get you additional sets plus personalization options. Stretch goals include LED lights, an LCD screen, different-sized nozzles, and, if the campaign hits £1,500,000, an integrated Control Port will be added that will allow users to connect the pen to a 3D printer or CNC machine. It’s all a pretty good deal, particularly when you consider the costs involved in other 3D printing pens.

“The plastic pellets used by manufacturers reach a maximum price of $0.6 per kg while the filaments they sell on to us can reach $200-250 per kg,” the Renegade team comments. “After paying $100 for a 3D pen and being obliged to buy its filaments for $10 per 50 gram pack i.e. $200 per kg, we couldn’t help but think this is crazy!…Two 1.5L bottles or 12 plastic bags replace 25 standard filaments and you save $10 to $15 each time. An average 3D pen user can easily save more than $100 per month.”

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Plus, you’re ultimately keeping tons of plastic out of the landfills and waterways. The only downside is that you might have so much fun with it that you’ll find yourself buying an unhealthy amount of Pepsi just so you can shred the bottles. Seriously, look how much fun that looks:

Discuss this new 3D printing concept further over in the Renegade 3D Printing Pen forum over at 3DPB.com.

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