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.

Read more about

Research Excellence

Related Content

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


ProtoCycler the desktop recycler. Photo Credit: ProtoCycler


RT @ubconews: .@ubcengineering research makes boating more efficient
about 10 hours ago.
RT @ubconews: .@ubcengineering nanotechnology research can help screen patients and classify at-risk people
about 10 hours ago.
RT @UBC_CTLT: From August 20–24, explore innovative teaching practices at the CTLT Summer Institute. This week of free, interactive worksho…
1 day ago.
RT @ubcappscience: In memory of their son Kevin Watson, UBC Engineering alumnus Colin Watson and wife Barbara donated $250,000 to help rest…
3 days ago.
RT @UBCCivilEng: Congrats to the UBC EERI Seismic Design Competition Team, who received the Egor Popov Award for Structural Innovation and…
3 days ago.
RT @HexagonMining: Today we are highlighting #WomenInMining with this blog about @ubcengineering Mining Engineering student Ashley (DaYoung…
8 days ago.
RT @UBCLangScis: Excited to see students enrolling from such a wide range of disciplines for our brand new Living Language course! We're st…
9 days ago.
RT @janekearns01: Hey @WaterlooEng, @ubcengineering, @UAlberta, @westernuEng, @umanitoba, @QueensEngineer, @UofT, @UOttawa, @mcgill_eng, @C…
9 days ago.
RT @r2rnow: ICYMI Clogged arteries can lead to #heartattack and #stroke. But a tiny microwelded pressure sensor could send an alert when a…
6 Jul, 18
RT @TheCdnAcadofEng: Congrats @ubcappscience Profs Z Jane Wang #FCAE and Charles Haynes #FCAE on your recent CAE fellowship induction http…
5 Jul, 18