Friday, December 08, 2006
Some Thoughts on Available Materials (and Some Blue-Sky Thinking)
- glass (bottles, jars)
- paper (newspapers, junk mail, wrappers)
- cardboard (boxes)
- steel (cans)
- aluminum (cans)
- polystyrene (styrofoam inserts, packing peanuts)
Now, these aren't exactly ideal materials for RepRap. On the other hand, there seems to be a near-endless supply of them. Some of it might be adapted for use as suppor material, or possibly filler. Maybe there's more potential than that.
Not exactly sure where I'm going with this. I suppose, ultimately, I'd like to see an Nth generation RepRap that can take this detritus of modern life, sort through it, break it down and build more interesting items.
Sure, that's well beyond the current capabilities but, then again, I remember what the first generation of Linux looked like. And that was, what, 15 years ago? It's not hard to imagine a RepRap capable of building add-ons to itself to the point where the RepRap "kernel" is almost invisible, hidden behind more user-friendly layers of hardware. Almost no one who uses Linux now interacts directly with the kernel. It's possible that, in 15 years, almost no one will spool their own filament, or even care what filament is.
From there you can use your energy to power your reprap to make molds for the aluminum, steel and glass and use the energy to run your Gingery furnace to melt those.
There's a problem here? :-)
dunno if you mentioned it, but theres tons of HDPE floating around in the form of bottles and other plastic crap.
1. We haven't demonstrated that we can run it through a Mk II or something similar. I can certainly get you 3 mm HDPE filament from the plastic welding rod people if anybody wants to seriously take on that task.
HDPE has higher melting and processing temperatures. It also has, iirc, a melt index a magnitude lower than polycaprolactone or PLA, which means it is going to be harder to extrude either in a Mk II or into filament.
2. We have yet to develop either a plastics grinder to recycle plastics or a filament extruder on a home scale. Mind, we've done a lot of work and more thinking about the extruder question, but we haven't got one. Anybody on to take on either of those two tasks?
I am starting to think that SDM is rather the way to go for higher performance reprap versions. It wouldn't entirely surprise me to see, a bit down the line, a metallic reprap with an axis set capable of dealing with full-on machining forces, doing SDM with steel. Certainly not appropriate for everyone, but might be very appropriate for some.
Links to this post: