These 3D Printed Bottles & Cans Make Recycling a Bit Simpler

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bottles4I remember back in grade school, when recycling first started catching on. This was a good 25 years ago, and we were at a time where people finally were beginning to become a bit concerned about our environment, and the impact humans were having on it. Our teachers were tasked with the job of showing us how to recycle, explain the recycling process, and we even had the chance to go on a field trip to a recycling facility. For some reason, many students took a keen interest in this, although I must admit, anything is more exciting than learning the multiplication table or reading yet another boring short story.

Since then, it has been instilled in me, like so many others from our generation, that recycling is the “right” thing to do. The idea that we can save some of the resources that Mother Earth provides us with is something everyone should take interest in. While a great portion of our population would say that they recycle, unfortunately the majority of them probably don’t go out of their way to do so.

A man named Franc Falco realized this, so when the company that he works for, Wolff Olins, decided they needed to come up with a better idea for recycling bins, Falco came to the rescue.

“Wolff Olins is a very environmentally aware company and has a lot of initiatives in place to recycle and lower our carbon footprint,” Falco tells 3DPrint.com. “One of those initiatives is recycling bins, however unless you opt for the garish, brightly coloured bins (not attractive) the only other options are a very uninspiring white, so the challenge was how to make these bins more engaging and to get people to actually use them?”

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Falco, who is creative by nature, having worked in graphic design and technology for some time, decided to use his 3D modeling skills and the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer that he had in his office to create something that would help make the recycling cans at Wolff Olins both more attractive and more encouraging to use. He had remembered back several years when he had traveled throughout Italy, a country that is very “recycling savvy.” He recalled seeing recycling bins that had actual models of cans, bottles, and cups on them to tell others which type of product was to be thrown into which bin. So, Falco, being the creative genius he is, decided to 3D print his very own.

“Design and modeling was fairly easy,” Falco tells us. “Create a profile of the soda can, bottle and cup, use the Lathe NURBS feature in Cinema C4D, a bit of additional modeling and internal support structure for the ‘open can’ detail, cut the bottoms off at an interesting angle and they were good to go.”

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Falco then exported the designs as 3D printable STL files, sliced them in Makerware, and proceeded to begin the 3D printing process. He printed them using white PLA plastic from Faberdashery, with a layer height of 0.2mm. As you can tell in the photos, they came out just perfect. Now, no one at Wolff Olins will be confused as to which type of recyclable should be thrown in which bin.

Falco is constantly trying to come up with unique new ideas (including the 3D printed lithopane of Princess Charlotte we saw last month), and this usable design certainly will be one to hang his hat on.

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“I love new technology and discovered desktop 3D printing a couple of years ago,” Falco explains. “As desktop computers changed my world back in the 80’s, now this technology is having the same exciting, inspiring effect on me 30 plus years later! So, apart from my busy day job, i am trying to expand my website, my Thingiverse, Youmagine and MyMiniFactory pages.”

The design files for these unique 3D printed bottles and cans can be downloaded for free from Thingiverse. What do you think about this unique idea? Discuss in the 3D Printed Bottles & Cans forum thread on 3DPB.com.

 

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