Student-Built 3D Printer Uses Recycled Pop-Bottle Plastic

protocycler desktop 3d preinter

Developed by a trio of physics and engineering students at the University of British Columbia, this all-in-one recycler and printer grinds up waste plastics and melts them into usable filament for 3D printing.

protocycler recycled plastic parts

The ProtoCycler from ReDeTec (Renewable Design Technology) is not the first reuse-oriented printer design but it combines the best elements of what is generally found separately – products that grind the plastic or melt it or extrude it – for faster and all-in-one use.

protocycler comparison guide

Taking anything from old plastic toys or soda bottles, it can turn trash into fresh filament at a record rate of ten feet per minute (making it the fastest extruder publicly for sale). Its materials are cheap as well – free, of course, if you generate them from your own plastic waste, but also only $5 per spool if made from the company’s plastic pellets (about 1/6 the cost of a typical filament loop).

protocycler reuse filament 3d

The system can be pre-ordered for around $700, making it not the absolute cheapest desktop 3D printer out there but certainly a competitive option for those getting started with 3D printing or looking to save on material costs in the longer term (not to mention the environmental benefits).

submit to reddit
See more in Computers or under Gadgets. March, 2015.