One of the things I hear most, from those skeptical about the future of 3D printing is that it’s pointless to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a machine that prints out flimsy plastic “doo-dads”. Skeptics also commonly claim that nothing practical can be made with 3D printers. I usually counter with lists of items on thingiverse which are practical, very useful, and extremely rugged. This weekend we stumbled upon such an item, one which can hold up to a tremendous amount of pressure, and one which will cost you less to 3D print than buy new at the store.
A man named Mark Senicky, the creator of the Filamaker project in Germany, which is a machine that turns plastic scrap into 3D printer filament, has recently posted quite an interesting 3D model on Thingiverse. The model I’m talking about is a 3D printed compost shredder for the kitchen. Senicky has spent countless hours designing and printing several iterations of his shredder. The first version was smaller, and not as strong. It was still capable of withstanding 25 Newton-meters (NM) of torque. His next larger version, which is the larger grinder displayed in the video below. was able to stand up to 50 NM of torque. His latest version of the compost grinder can withstand an amazing 70 NM of torque, and according to Senicky has the “capability of shredding any veggie or fruit or other kitchen waste not containing bones, stones, wood or uncooked meat.”
The finished grinder uses 33 3D printed parts, which make up the vast majority of this manual machine. The assembly does use some parts which need to be purchased, such as 23 standard size screws, two square pipes, and four ball bearing. The total cost of the store bought parts was approximately $34.00. The 33 3D printed parts were all printed with less than one kilogram of PLA filament. A kilogram spool of filament will run you anywhere from $20-$40 depending on the brand. In total, this grinder could be produced for under $60.
A typical manual compost grinder will run between $99 and $175 on Amazon.com, so this certainly is a perfect example of a practical 3D printed project. Senicky plans to continue to improve upon his model, telling us, “I hope that this version can serve like a base for future models.”
As designers continue to make their work open source, the technology behind 3D printing gets better, and the material science behind manufacturing stronger filment improves, we will see more and more practical applications continue to spread throughout the 3D printing community. What do you think of Senicky’s design? Let us know in the 3D printed compost grinder forum thread at 3DPB.com Check out the video below of Senicky’s first two versions of his grinder.
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