The is the first of what will be a number of posts written by our summer intern Alex Peraza. Alex is a junior SUNY New Paltz and has designed his own major in Digital Design and Fabrication. We are very excited about his project because we will finally be able to recycle the large amounts of scrap PLA and other materials we generate back into 3D printing filament. I will let Alex take it from here.
The backbone of good design is iteration. Prototype, test, break, repeat—most designers would agree that nearly every designed object could be improved or optimized in some way. That is why rapid prototyping has had such an impact on the world of design, as it allows us to go from concept to a real tangible object within hours. Thermoplastics and the relatively practical ease of FDM printing has become ubiquitous in nearly every industry as well as within the maker community, which raises the question: what do we do with all that plastic waste?
As designers I believe it is our responsibility to always look for ways to make our products and techniques more sustainable at every level. As part of an ongoing project with our partners at the NoVo Foundation, we have recently begun looking into ways to recover our waste plastic and turn it back into usable filament using the full selection of equipment from the Vermont-based filament recycling company Filabot.
In the coming months, we will be posting updates on the project, tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way, and our thoughts on how we may implement this technology in the future.