Over the past 2 years, ProtoPrint has been working on a process to empower wastepickers in urban India with the ability to produce 3D printer filament from the waste plastic they collect. In collaboration with our partner SWaCH (a local wastepickers co-operative) we have developed a process that is a low-cost scalable method to produce HDPE printer filament.
We're still ironing out the kinks and will begin filament distribution in Spring 2014.
The FlakerBot is a low cost machine that converts waste plastic bottles and containers to plastic flakes. These flakes are used as raw material to create 3D printer filament. The FlakerBot will empower waste picking co-operatives by giving them the ability to produce value added flakes from the waste plastic they collect.
The RefilBot is another low cost device that converts the plastic flakes to affordable, high quality 3D printer filament. The RefilBot employs a rotating heating mechanism, using low cost, local parts. The RefilBot is an integral part of empowering the waste pickers since it gives them the ability to produce high quality filament.
ProtoPrint markets the filament at the global level, catering to FDM consumers around the world and pushing the profits down the pyrammid to the waste pickers. We also use the filament to provide affordable 3D printing servies to students and professionals in India. By bringing low-cost prototyping to architectural and engineering schools in India, ProtoPrint will facilitate the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.