There’s a lot of plastic used in 3D printing, one drawback of a technology that has so many benefits. Plastic is, to state the obvious, causing a mess of problems for the environment, and many a conscientious 3D printer user struggles with how to mitigate the excess plastic generated by inevitable failed print jobs. Luckily for the planet, many of those conscientious 3D printer users have come up with ways to reduce, reuse and recycle their materials.
We’ve looked at several filament-recycling machines lately, produced by everyone from NASA to small startups. Many of these inventions allow you to recycle not only your failed prints and excess filament but other forms of plastic, like bottles and bags. That’s the case with the new Shred-Buddy 3D Recycler, a desktop shredder and pelletizer that turns your excess plastic into pellets.
Developed by German startup Venture-Bit, the compact machine is capable of producing pellets, granules or flakes from a wide variety of plastic materials, including 3D printer filament, plastic bottles, zip ties, and fishing line. To operate the shredding portion of the machine, you’ll need either a cordless screwdriver or a drill press; Venture-Bit offers two different versions of the machine optimized for each one. Once the material is shredded (if necessary), a custom-developed stepper motor allows you to feed the material back into the machine where it’s processed into pellets.
Once the pellets, granules or flakes are generated, they can be used directly in a 3D printer that prints with pellets, or further processed in a filament extruder. They’re also suitable for injection molding machines. The device is currently on Kickstarter as Venture-Bit attempts to raise €4,500 ($4,940) by August 8.
A limited-edition early bird reward package will get backers a drill press version of the Shred-Buddy, complete with accessories including two metal feed tubes and a bottle slicer, for €130 ($143). For non-early birds, the same is available for €140 ($154). The cordless screwdriver version is available as an early bird reward for €145 ($159), or non-early bird for €155 ($170). Rewards are expected to ship in January 2017.
According to Venture-Bit, they’re currently working on producing the final version of the machine, which will be smaller, more durable and easier to use than the current prototype. Additional features of the final product will include a quick material release bracket, an automatic cutting function and more. Many of the Shred-Buddy’s components are 3D printed, and the final device will be controlled with an inexpensive ATtiny85. Other components and electronics are sourced as inexpensively as possible, to keep costs low.
The Shred-Buddy looks like a useful, versatile tool that’s impressive in the variety of materials it can work with. I haven’t seen many filament recyclers that process nylon materials, such as fishing line, as well as your more commonly seen plastics like bottles and yogurt cups. In fact, I have yet to see a regular recycling facility that takes fishing line, a deadly material for wildlife that gets entangled in it after it’s discarded. I’m thrilled to see more and more inventions like this appearing on Kickstarter and in the market; not only do they help 3D printing enthusiasts reduce the impact their 3D printing has on the environment, but they allow for day-to-day waste materials to be kept out of landfills as well. Are you backing this campaign? Discuss further in the Shred Buddy 3D Recycler forum over at 3DPB.com.