This year has certainly been the year in which 3D printing has inched its way into the mainstream. Another trend which has emerged this year seems to be one which recognizes the potential that 3D printing and recycling can achieve together. Every year hundreds of millions of tons of plastics are thrown away, damaging our precious environment, while we continue to manufacture even more plastics for the use within 3D printers. If instead of throwing plastic bottles away, we could recycle them into 3D printer filament, the world would be a cleaner, healthier place for us all.
Earlier this year, 3D Systems announced the hiring of pop-star will.i.am, as their Chief Creative Officer. The move was certainly an interesting one for a company who has nothing to do with music at all. will.i.am also happened to work with Coca Cola on a project called EKOCYCLE. EKOCYCLE is an initiative developed by the soft drink giant, along with will.i.am, with a vision of making more with what we have, via recycling. According to their website, EKOCYCLE was launched for the following reason:
“To inspire new things made in part from recycled materials. EKOCYCLE brand initiative will identify products, such as assorted plastic bottles and aluminum cans, that can be repurposed into recycled content for fashionable and valuable lifestyle products. It will also encourage demand and use of recycled materials, and reinforce the importance of recycling finished products.”
Today 3D Systems has announced that they have decided to team up with their Chief Creative Officer, will.i.am, as well as Coca Cola, to bring to market a new 3D printer, the EKOCYCLE Cube. The printer will have a build envelope of 6 x 6 x 6 inches, and print in 70-micron high resolution. It will feature auto-leveling, and like the Cube 3 printer, will have a colored touchscreen user interface built in. It will be priced at $1,199, and come with 25 music, tech, and fashion minded designs for 3D printable accessories, which have been personally curated by will.i.am.
What makes the EKOCYCLE Cube different from other printers on the market today, is the fact that it can print using PET plastic filament which is generated in part from discarded plastic bottles. Each filament cartridge will consist of approximately three 20 oz plastic coke bottles. This equates to about 25% of the total plastic within the cartridge. In addition, Cubify offers customers a $5 credit for any cartridges that they return, which are empty, adding to the renewable initiative of the company.
“This machine prints in post consumer plastic,” said will.i.am. “That means taking this waste, and not wasting it and turning your ideas into beautiful objects printed in this 3D printer.”
3D Systems hopes that this latest device will change the way we think about recycling, by transforming post-consumer waste into amazing new objects. Check out the video below, just released by 3D Systems and will.i.am, detailing this new initiative and 3D printer. Let us know what you think about this latest device, and the people behind it, in the EKOCYCLE 3D printer forum thread at 3DPB.com