Hi all, for the past year or so I’ve been working on a large format, low resolution 3D printer that can print directly from recycled plastic flakes from the shredder, as an alternative to making filament. I keep forgetting to actually make a post about it here, and it’s about time I did!
There’s still a lot to do, but initial tests have been very promising! I am convinced that this can be done well and at low-cost.
Cost to build: $500, +/- $100
Nozzle size: 3-4mm
Software Used: Repetier-Host
Control Board: Rambo 1.4 from V1 Engineering
Basically I just built an MPCNC and then strapped this extruder I designed onto it. It’s pretty ugly, but it works at least as a proof of concept. I’ve not tested it very much, but one major discovery I made is that I can use cheap 4mm coroplast (corrugated polypropylene) sheets as the build-plate. This eliminates the need for a custom heated bed to get good adhesion, since PP is highly self-adhesive.
We did one layer-test, and it seemed like thermal-warp was a bit of an issue, but the final “part” was VERY solid and VERY strong, which is promising. Desktop 3D printing is already highly advanced for small, highly detailed parts, and in my opinion doesn’t lend it’s self well to the limitations of recycled material.
So instead my goal is be able to 3D print large, relatively low-resolution, but still geometrically complex 3D objects, on the scale of furniture, bike frames, and surfboards.
I will be working to get some better documentation up, but I wanted to make this post to share what I have, and most importantly, to confirm that I think this is possible and worthy of further development. I’m not a 3D printer person so my progress has been quite slow, I would love to see others hacking on this!