Reduce and Reuse: ExtrusionBot’s ‘Cruncher’ Recycles and Pelletizes 3D Printing Filament Waste

ExtrusionLogo-No-Background-2-e1401751671578ExtrusionBot is in the business of supplying 3D printing enthusiasts with materials. Breaking into the 3D printing industry with their specialized ExtrusionBot filament extruder that can be used with any desktop 3D printer, the new — and highly popular — company is keeping forward momentum with innovations for user filament production, and always leaving a smaller footprint.

ExtrusionBot began their journey with a stunning campaign on Kickstarter to reach a goal of $10K for their filament maker but, with huge success, ended with nearly $90K in funding. Now, they’ve launched a new filament product for recycling, the Cruncher, that works side-by-side with ExtrusionBot materials or as a standalone device, and has just been launched on Kickstarter with a goal of $20K — and good progress so far.

Self-contained and homebuilt, the ExtrusionBot itself touts a good long list of benefits to include speed andgif built-in spooling. The primary and most important feature with the ExtrusionBot though is the affordability it lends to the 3D printing enthusiast, who may have gotten past the initial expense and output for the 3D printer itself, but is finding the ongoing filament expense to be a drain — and a drag.

Using ABS or PLA pellets, affordable spools of filament are produced with automatic spooling so that you don’t have to pick up and spool a big mess of filament from the workshop floor later; however, what do you do with all that excess filament? We spend a lot of time discussing speed and affordability, but very little time discussing waste. What do you do with all your filament waste? Is it piling up in the trash or the recycling bin? Have you got it stashed in a corner of your work area, with big plans to use it for a concept that you are still waiting to come to you?

ExtrusionBot is bringing you a way to deal with filament waste now — and to add right back into your bottom line. If you love to come full circle with recycling like so many of us do, this means you are never creating waste.

Enter the Cruncher, which helps you not only with driving down your material costs but also expands your world creatively as you can afford to come up with more design ideas and do the 3D printing, both mastering the technology and coming up with the next amazing invention the world is waiting for. Next time you have a failed print or something that doesn’t come out the way you like, wasting material is not an issue — and now you know what to do with old prototypes sitting around uselessly, gathering dust balls.

the other guysThe fully-motorized Cruncher literally eats up the waste and spits it back out in even smaller pellets than were used originally for making the filament. It can also be used separately, and crunches all materials. Referred to as a ‘pelletizer,’ the recycled filament is reduced to a uniform, fine mass of pellets that make even higher quality 3D prints.

The ExtrusionBot team has been working on the Cruncher for a year now. Functioning prototypes are completed, and with the funds they will perform a slight bit of “fine tuning in the tooling process,” and then begin pumping out the orders for their supporters right away.

With the funds from Kickstarter, the ExtrusionBot and Cruncher team also plan to develop an even larger crunching capacity — from 2″ x 3” to 4″ x 6” — and develop a built-in plunger to go with the machine. Those who pledge at the $50 mark receive 10 pounds of pellets and 5 color packs. As the amount ascends to the $455 range, the Kickstarter supporters receive the machine itself in an early bird special, with packages becoming more inclusive as pledges increase.cycle

And yes, you can basically ‘crunch’ anything you want — including all those plastic water bottles. Whether you are 3D printing or not, crunching unnecessary items looks not only fun but cathartic. What a great way to relax, recycle, save money, and save the planet.

Are you currently recycling your filament? Are you planning to support the Cruncher Kickstarter campaign? Discuss in the ExtrusionBot’s ‘Cruncher‘ Forum over at 3DPB.com. Check out the Cruncher’s Kickstarter video below to see it in action:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfLnxqMqNt8]EB2MODULES-738x650

3-D printed heart could reduce heart surgeries in children

3-D printed heart could reduce heart surgeries in children

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5-Dec-2014

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Contact: Jacqueline Partarrieu
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European Society of Cardiology
@escardio

Doctors can perfect procedures on a model before the intervention

Vienna, Austria – 5 December 2014: New 3D printed heart technology could reduce the number of heart surgeries in children with congenital heart disease, according to Dr Peter Verschueren who spoke on the topic today at EuroEcho-Imaging 2014.1 Dr Verschueren brought 3D printed models of the heart to his lecture including models used to plan real cases in patients.

EuroEcho-Imaging is the annual meeting of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI), a branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), and is held 3-6 December in Vienna, Austria.

Dr Verschueren said: “Children with congenital heart disease often need up to four open heart surgeries at different times of life. The 3D printed copy of the heart could reduce this to one or two because doctors can choose and practice the best interventional approach and device beforehand. This will avoid children spending months in intensive care.”

Three dimensional (3D) printing uses a machine to print objects layer by layer. Instead of ink the printer uses plastics, metals and other materials. The technology was first used in the automotive and aerospace industries to make prototypes. Dr Verschueren said: “You can make complex, unique things, which is useful in medicine because each patient is different.”

3D printing entered the medical field around two decades ago in craniomaxillofacial and orthopaedic surgery. 3D reconstructions of a patient’s bone were made from a computed tomography (CT) scan. Today the technology is also used to make hearing aids. Printing 3D hearts was made possible with flexible materials for printing and fast scanners that can trace the beating heart. A CT or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is used to print muscles and valves which can be beating or static.

The models are used to plan surgeries in children with congenital heart diseases such as double outlet right ventricle or Tetralogy of Fallot. Dr Verschueren said: “Until recently, doctors would look at an image and then try to visualise the heart in 3D. Now they can use a 3D copy of an individual patient’s heart to plan the procedure in detail before they go into the operating theatre.”

He added: “This is still a relatively new technology but there is increasing interest in using 3D printed models to plan heart valve interventions in adults. This could include complex bicuspid aortic valve cases that doctors want to treat with transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) and new transcatheter interventions for repairing or replacing the mitral and tricuspid valves.”

Today at EuroEcho-Imaging, biomedical research engineer Helen O’ Grady from Galway, Ireland, presents a novel 3D printed model of tricuspid regurgitation she developed to test a new device and train interventionists in the implantation procedure.2 Ms O’Grady used CT scans of tricuspid regurgitation patients to build a 3D software model which she then used for 3D printing of a right heart and tricuspid valve annulus model..

She took the additional step of using the 3D printed model to mould a more flexible model that is compatible with echocardiography and fluoroscopy. It is housed in a cardiac anatomy rig that replicates the anatomical conditions of the heart in the body as well as the leaflet motion of the valve. Doctors can use the model to practice implantation of the device on a patient’s exact anatomy before the procedure.

Ms O’Grady, said: “There is a variation in normal anatomies and more so in diseased anatomies such as tricuspid regurgitation. Being able to practice on the model allows for better surgical planning and doctors can optimise the interventional procedure pre-operatively. Cardiologists, surgeons and physicians say there’s nothing like having a tangible model in your hands as it gives such invaluable insight into the patient anatomy involved.”

She added: “3D models can be used to discuss the intervention with the medical team, patients and, in the case of congenital heart defects, with parents. It helps everyone affected to better understand what the procedure will involve.”

Professor Patrizio Lancellotti, EACVI President, said: “3D imaging is a main theme of EuroEcho-Imaging this year and 3D printing of the heart is particularly exciting. It allows us to make a perfect model of a patient’s anatomy and decide the optimal device and procedure in advance.”

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3D-printed ceramics eat food waste to reduce, reuse, and recycle

ctt coffee lo res

Published on August 13th, 2014 | By: April Gocha, PhD

Published on August 13th, 2014 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] After brewing a delicious cup of joe, where do those used grounds go? Credit: Song Zhen; Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Designer and engineer Francesco Pacelli is making ceramics “to eat”—not to consume literally, but to eat in a reduce-reuse-recycle sort of way.

Pacelli—a graduate of Italy’s largest technical university, The Polytechnic University of Milan—participated in a project designed to explore potential new directions for future ceramics based on four themes: to like, to sleep, to walk, or to eat.

To explore the food-centric theme, Pacelli experimented by mixing clay with various food wastes, including paper food packaging, dried fruit peels, dried vegetables, and coffee grounds. His idea was to reuse food waste with minimal processing steps required.

(Reuse of food waste has been a popular theme recently—the August issue of the ACerS Bulletin featured a cover story about making glass also from food waste. Download the free article here.)

coffee-clay-3d-printing-3 lo res

Tools of the trade. Credit: F. Pacelli

But, because his idea was to ultimately print the ceramics through a nozzle on a 3D printer, he had to first ground each material (with the exception of already-ground coffee grounds) so that it could pass through the printer nozzle.

Coffee grounds printed most easily, Pacelli says. “I obtained a more accurate mixture with coffee/clay material than with simple clay, because the coffee made the material less gluey, and, moreover, the sequential layers are less influenced by the nozzle’s passage.”

Watch this short video to see the printing in action.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqaNquQEwEg&w=560&h=349]

Credit: Francesco Pacelli; Youtube

After printing, the ceramics were kiln-fired at above 1000°C to burn off the organic material, leaving fine pores. The resulting dried and hardened ceramics are much lighter than conventional ceramics, making them really useful “where you need thermal resistance and lightness,” Pacelli says.

And with worldwide coffee bean production at 8.46 million metric tons in 2011, according to the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation, this reuse could be a welcome one. Other research groups also have previously shown that spent grounds can have other uses, such as for biodiesel fuel.

Pacelli and colleagues at Polytechnic University of Milan recently opened a university 3D printing lab called +LAB, where researchers can blend design and engineering knowledge to conduct research on 3D printing (an industry that is poised to reach $3.7 billion by 2015!).

coffee-clay-3d-printing-1 lo res

A finished coffee–clay-printed product. Credit: F. Pacelli

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Tags:
+LAB, 3D printing, ceramic art, coffee, coffee clay, coffee clay art, coffee grounds, food waste, Francesco Pacelli, The Polytechnic University of Milan


3D Printing Enables A. O. Smith to Cut Time-To-Market, Reduce Development Costs, Drive Higher Sales

Today’s blog is by Julie Reece, 3D Systems Director of Marketing Communications.

I thoroughly enjoy hearing new stories from our channel partners and my sales colleagues about organizations that that reply on our 3D printing technology to grow their businesses. Here’s a story about A. O. Smith Corporation, a leading global manufacturer of water heating equipment. A. O. Smith is creating more attractive and energy-efficient water heaters through its advanced new product development process, which integrates 3D printing solutions from the company’s full-color professional 3D printers.

Using a ZPrinter® to create prototypes in-house, A. O. Smith is shaving weeks off product development, saving substantial cost as well as time. This enables them to iterate more productively and thoroughly refine designs, according to the R&D team.

“Instead of commissioning aluminum molds or sending out to busy contractors for plastic models, we can produce our own high-resolution color prototypes for a fraction of the cost,” said A. O. Smith CAD Supervisor, Steve Wood, from the company’s Johnson City, TN, manufacturing facility. “When a trial design isn’t perfect, we quickly revise it and print another 3D model, or we create several different prototypes at the same time. Our ZPrinter gives us the flexibility to make real-time changes and react quickly to our customers’ demands.”

An aluminum mold, including setup and prototype production, can be costly, consuming as much as six weeks from the company’s design cycle before the first part is produced. Worse, if the prototype doesn’t work, a significant design revision can require a new mold and another cycle of waiting. With its ZPrinter 650® 3D printer, A. O. Smith can print multiple prototypes reflecting a wide range of design alternatives in a few hours at a significant cost reduction.

A. O. Smith expected the ZPrinter® to pay for itself quickly, but is happily finding that the return on the ZPrinter investment exceeds even its expectations. “Because we’re finding it increasingly valuable as time goes on – and thus are using it more,” stated A. O. Smith CAD Operator, Robert Anest, “it is sure to pay for itself sooner than we thought.”

In addition to printing prototypes, A. O. Smith is printing molds for the production of plastic molded parts – again avoiding costly aluminum molds. According to Wood, “To produce prototypes from our own molds, we’re spending less money and time.”

The integration of A. O. Smith’s ® 650″ >ZPrinter® 650 3D printer has not just been a cost savings. “It’s both a unique and an effective sales tool,” said Wood. “Our customers and partners love them – for one thing, they don’t have to lug around a 200-pound water heater. And we’re getting great feedback from everyone involved.”

Do you have a great success story using 3D Systems 3D printing technology that you’d like to share? Post it here or email me at julie.reece@3dsystems.com.