Trash Printer Directly Uses Recycled Plastics

3D printing is all well and good, but it can get expensive having to purchase roll after roll of filament. Various projects exist that attempt to take unwanted 3D prints and turn them back into filament to be used again. However, [Sam Smith] took a different path. The Trash Printer is a 3D print head that works with recycled plastic, with less intermediate processing steps.

The Trash Printer is a print head is intended to work with shredded plastics directly, rather than by first turning them back into a filament. Thus far, [Sam] has tested the Polypropylene and HDPE, and results are promising. While the prints aren’t of the same quality as using pre-prepared filament, the parts are still viable and fit for purpose.

The print head consists of an auger, along with a cartridge heater, which work together to push plastic to the print head. The head is constructed out of laser-cut parts and a few off-the-shelf components, making it easy to replicate. [Sam] has spent significant time honing the design, and has several ideas for ways in which it could be developed further. We’re eager to see how far this technology can go, and can’t wait to see what comes next. We’ve seen other attempts to recycle plastics for 3D printing, too. Expect to see further developments in this space coming thick and fast.

23 thoughts on “Trash Printer Directly Uses Recycled Plastics

  1. You can’t 3D print a toilet seat. Well sort of, you can but it would be a great place for gems to thrive. Also, over time pieces of fecal matter would clog uneven surface.

    1. Well actually not true. I printed myself a toilet seat several years back and have yet to need to clean it! The structure of the print actually makes it self cleaning. During a flush, the air pulled down the bowl draws ambient air across the seat which encourages air suction in the the uneven micro canyons of the print, using the Bernoulli principles that pulls out “debris” and ruptures unwanted bacteria.

      Totally safe and clean! Way better than porcelain. Excited to expand my home seat replacement using recycled plastic!!

      1. You wos locky! Were dreamed of ‘avin eh nice soft toilet seat clogged weth fecal ma’er. Were ‘ads te sit on concrete chunks stolen from there neh’bors wals. Always weth the bits’o broken glass we ‘ad te pick out of our bum, were did. Oi miss those days, oi do.

      1. The faecal particles get into the air when you flush, some of these settle back down on the seat. I mean, you don’t need someone take a crap on your face to smell their left over poo particles when you go in the bathroom after them. The inconvenient truth is that faecal matter gets everywhere.

        1. And it’s amazing how the human race managed to get so far without bleaching everything in sight but yet how so many people seem to have allergies these days whilst adverts extoll the virtues of anti bacterial wiping of everything.

          1. Umm.. no.

            I see what you are saying but it is ignorant.

            That’s not what allergies are or how they work. Allergies are to inanimate particles like dust and smoke. Ok, pollen is alive but even pollen is not bacteria. People are not allergic to bacteria. Anti-bacterial everything may have it’s problems but making people prone to allergies is not one of them.

          2. Actually a reply to TeePee.
            There is some evidence that being in an environment with very low levels of micro-organisms early in development may make people more prone to allergies. Exactly opposite of what you claim.
            See the Hygiene Hypothesis – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygiene_hypothesis
            The issue isn’t what is the immediate trigger of the allergic reactions once have asthma,
            but what leads to development of the extra sensitive immune system (which may be
            related to having less exposure to parasites, etc.).

    2. Well…. if you really wanted that 3d printed toilet seat I suppose you could sand it and then paint it with something nice and thick that will fill in and seal all those imperfections.

      I’m not sure why it would be worth your time to do all this. Maybe if you have a really weirdly shaped butt and ordinary seats are uncomfortable you could design one to fit? I dunno. I don’t have that problem.

  2. A toilet seat is a great idea! Not true on the clogging too BTW. The airflow generated by the flush actually creates negative pressure in the uneven micro canyon surfaces. Using the Bernoulli principle this actually will dislodge any debris and rupture the cells of the bacteria, making the seat self cleaning and anti-bac!

    I printed myself a seat three years ago and have yet to have to clean it. Excited to build this and add recycled seats to my arsenal!

  3. Now all that is needed is a killer app. Application not only a computer program.
    Where would this be needed that a mold wouldnt be quicker,cheaper, somewhat less prone to error?
    Been following Precious Plastic. Volunteers is not a sustainable business model. Thats probably an echo by now. Only know of one gentleman thats trying to make it work as business and barely can keep lights on more often than not. Eliteisms, social snobbery- in a manufacturering industrial park no less, and socio political crap with EPA not helping. Sure stink the air up with petrochemicals, diesel, and mostly unregulated industrial processes is ok but dont be a clean plastic recycling center that smells like flowers (perfume) or the schitty(city) be knockin’ at the door.

      1. In the USofA? Not one fiefdom in particular. The ones screaming recycling, environment and charging exorbitant fees in refuse removal/recycling collection are the most likely to hassle someone attempting to endeavor. Theres probably some correlation between smugness, hypocrisy, bureaucracy and corruption involved in recycling/ waste management but I havent charted it.
        Starts off nice enough. May get your picture in paper with glowing praises from this or that political/celebrity figure.
        Commercial metal processors figured it out if your looking for a working model. They had repeated political help due to shortages and sufficient income to form ‘connections’. Funny how the collection centers have no difficulty getting rid of metals. For a small fee on both sides of course.
        No shortages in plastics or big petrochemical to provide all you will EVER need.

  4. Unrelated to any of the discussions here…I am interested in the 3 d trash printer. I am trying to tackle the recycle problem with materials that are usually tossed out. For example stryofoam or bottle caps and repurpose them into prosthetics for people. I am unsure is this is possible or acceptable to be used like this but imagine if it could n how many people could actually benefit from this endeaver. Limbs can cost thousands,
    Considered cosmetic and for kids typically replaced every two years. Usually they dont work well or fit well. Please check out efforts of e-nable and million waves project. Please keep investigating and posting. I am looking forward to your efforts.

  5. I wonder if a 3D printer capable of using very low grade trash plastic could bind up mixed plastic un recyclable “recyclable” waste so it could safely be sunk as artificial reef structures. We need to get over thinking waste can be recycled and find safe ways to get rid of it in safe and useful ways.

    1. Putting plastic in the ocean as a means of disposal sounds like a terrible idea, and is something we’re actively trying to avoid.

      We need to get over thinking we can keep producing and using and then tossing everything into the ocean when we don’t want to dispose of it properly.

      1. Sure it SOUNDS like a terrible idea but plastic in a proper bundle that can’t roam freely can be as useful a reef as concrete forms or coral reef. Plastic may remain an inevitable part of our lives but it can’t all just disappear.

        1. Sounds like a terrible idea, but is possibly the single stupidest idea I’ve read in my entire life.
          “Don’t recycle, let’s throw rubbish in the sea and let future generations deal with it when it breaks up” we already did that hence the mess we’re in.
          And by the way, coral reef is a living thing, not something that can just be replaced by concrete and rubbish.

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