We are inspired by the idea that machines can enable people to convert local plastic waste into useful products. By developing and distributing these machines to the public, we hope to not only help clean up the environment but to stimulate localized product manufacturing, therefore stimulating the local economy. Every machine we create will be made open source and available to the public (as well as OSHWA Certified, where applicable).
Through our initiative to Support Public Outreach, Resources, and Education (SPORE), we host classes and events to teach the public how to utilize 3D Printing and recycling to make their own products. Eventually, we hope to have multiple chapters across the country.
SPORE also periodically hosts events as part of our mission to connect the community to local 3D Printing Resources. Whether it be inviting local businesses to show off what they do in 3D printing or recycling, or hosting competitions, races and hackathons related to 3D printing and recycling; we bring people together through events in order to spread awareness about these technologies.
3D Printing Cart:
We’re building carts with everything needed to start a 3D printing space on one mobile cart; including a computer for slicing and 3D modeling, and a 3D Printer.
Our first one was sponsored by Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama, Inc. (TMMAL) and was donated to the Cavalry Hill Public Library.
With each cart donated to Public Libraries, we expect it to potentially bring 3D Printing access to an average of over 2,500 children and families per year.
Plastic Recycling Hub:
As part of our pursuit towards accelerating the circular economy, we have built and donated a plastic shredder, a Filastruder (melts and extrudes plastic into 3D Printing Filament), and a Filawinder (Automatically winds the plastic) to a local university makerspace. Now they can recycle their waste plastic into 3D printing filament!
“Smart” recycling cans:
We’re currently building an open-source waste bin that automatically identifies and sorts trash from recyclables, and even food scraps.
Machine learning and AI will be critical in helping to identify and sort plastic. Therefore, we’re currently working on gathering the many images of trash to train a machine learning algorithm. We will make this database open.
Eventually, we hope to reward people for deposits with “credits” to use at the 3D printing kiosks, and be able to identify and sort deposited plastic.
The Internet of Food:
We’re excited to be participating in the food system vision prize to present an idea we’ve been thinking about for a long time. We’re presenting the concept of networked robotic food systems that produce healthy, hyper-local food, generate an income for their owners, and regenerate landscapes.
Distributed 3D Printing
In areas with a high poverty rate, access to equipment like 3D printing can help stimulate STEM activities in youth and students, positively impacting their career paths.
Public Outdoor 3D Printing Kiosk:
Imagine being able to walk up to an outdoor machine, select from thousands of 3D printable objects, and walk away with something useful.
We’re developing and building an outdoor, self-serve 3D printing kiosk that’s free for the public to use. This will serve as a pilot program for the first version of the machine. Eventually, later versions will double as a plastic recycling hub where anyone can deposit a plastic bottle as 3D printing material. All the designs for this kiosk will be made open source and free to the public.
We think it’s time to try something new with recycling; to offer a service location for people to drop off clean plastic and walk away with useful goods. We will also use the plastic to produce goods that we can sell. This can serve not only as an income source to sustain our non-profit, but also an R&D hub for recycling plastic waste into 3D printed objects. The machines will be based on the open source Precious Plastic machines. We’ve been offered area to place machines, we just need to purchase the hardware to build the machines.
Compact Recycling System:
We believe the under-explored side of 3D printing is intelligent recycling. The ultimate goal is to shrink the plastic recycling system into something that fits on a desktop–right next to a 3D printer.
The benefit of shrinking the system down not only makes it more affordable and accessible to most people, but it enables us to attach the system to our Public 3D Printing Kiosk. This system will need to identify, shred, clean, dry, melt, and extrude plastic. Again, machine learning and AI will be utilized to help identify and sort plastic.
As populations continue to rise, housing is becoming an issue. In many countries around the world, sprawling slums are becoming the new norm. In developed countries, increased urban populations has also put pressure on the inhabitants and has driven the costs of living above the average pay. More affordable housing can help alleviate many of these housing issues. That’s why we’re dedicated to applying technology like 3D Printing towards building affordable housing–especially for those in need.
Modular Mobile Living Pods:
We’re designing a modular, mobile living pod made out of plastic bags. It will be designed to be towed behind a bicycle. The goal is to design a modular living pod that can be 3D printed in sections at the public kiosks, or made from plastic bags into tiles. These pods can not only store a small amount of goods, but will have enough room to sleep in.
3D Printed Buildings From Mud:
It’s possible to utilize 3D printing technology and local resources to 3D print buildings out of mud, drastically reducing the cost of producing houses. We want to create the “Rep-rap” of open source mobile mud 3D printers.