AMS Spring 2023

Maker Shows Us How to Build Our Own E-Waste 3D Printer Using Trashed Technology

Inkbit

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electronic-waste

Electronic waste is an ever-growing issue

As many of us pound out blogs, emails, and various communications on the keys of our electronics, many of them laptops or PCs with double and sometimes even triple monitors, often tackling concerns about what’s eco-friendly and what’s not, how to save the planet, and so on–do we consider what’s going to happen to those very pieces of machinery when we tire of them and move on to the next model as soon as it becomes available? And as regular printers, scanners, and more become so inexpensive that they are practically disposable, the thought of how much metal trash will pile up is disturbing enough to make us want to, well, look away.

Recycling looms large as our world becomes even more advanced–with even more stuff to chuck into landfills. Even 3D printing, in all its contemporary magic, presents recycling and environmental issues we may not think about until we are in it, such as what to do with failed prints, all that leftover ABS 3D printing filament, as well as old equipment. And there’s nothing that squelches the creative spirit like feeling guilty about destroying the planet further.

step1In a world that leaves us wondering how to be eco-friendly at nearly every turn (and often failing), Hackaday users masterperson and maaphoo enter the conversation with a design idea that uses the parts of the past to build innovations of the future.

With the spirit of those who do not look away, and who do take action to do their part in fixing things, rather than sitting around bemoaning all that’s going wrong, these makers have created a fantastic framework for the E-Waste 3D Printer that has the potential to put use to all those trashed 2D printers and parts that could be sitting in landfills for eternity.

Still a work in progress, masterperson and maaphoo have employed Python and FreeCAD for the digital design of their E-Waste 3D printers, with globalVars.py allowing for junked parts like bearings and motors to be turned into actual 3D models. For software, the E-Waste uses Python’s scripting API, as well as a macro, that generates a cartesian bot and the 3D files for parts that need to be 3D printed.

FreeCad allows for a long list of customizations and then Plater works to arrange all the parts in an organized fashion. Interfacing with Slic3r also makes slicing parts easy, with information and installation instructions here. Files are available on GitHub.

picture4While the trend is there to usher electronics in and out as the latest and greatest, bright and shiny, new items come into the spotlight, the unique quality about the 3D printer and the community surrounding it is that it can be constantly re-worked, upgraded, and upcycled. In a world where tinkerers and makers don’t like to throw away working parts without a fight, 2D printers may have found their forever homes.

The creators of the E-Waste 3D Printer are still refining their design, but we’ll be following with interest. Are you interested in working with this design? Have you used any recycled parts in building a 3D printer or recent electronics project? Discuss in the E-Waste 3D Printer forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

 

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