An Extrudingly Good Idea

Fourth-year UBC engineering physics students Dennon Oosterman, Alex Kay and David Joyce developed the ProtoCycler, a desktop machine that chows down on discarded soda-pop bottles, plastic scraps, leftover Lego and similar castoffs. Grind, melt and extrude the plastic as a clean, continuous filament suitable for 3-D printers – and do the world some good too.

“We were concerned about the amount of plastic waste generated in our engineering projects,” said Oosterman, “so we looked for a way to recycle that plastic back into usable filament.”

There are desktop filament extruders and plastic grinders on the market but the ProtoCycler team says their machine not only combines the two processes, it’s easier to use and the fastest on the market: 10 feet or about three meters of filament per minute.

ProtoCycler’s cost per kilogram of filament: $5 when made from commercially produced pellets. Utterly free when made from discarded plastic. To buy the equivalent weight of 3-D quality filament from a supplier: $30.

With the laudable concern and ‘green’ philosophy, comes a real-world competitive edge and potential profits.

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UBC students launch desktop recycler that turns pop bottles into 3D printer plastic

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ProtoCycler the desktop recycler. Photo Credit: ProtoCycler

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