As the additive manufacturing industry grows, it is compounding the global plastic waste problem. Distributed recycling and additive manufacturing (DRAM) offers an economic solution to this challenge, but it has been relegated to either small-volume 3D printers (limiting waste recycling throughput) or expensive industrial machines (limiting accessibility and lateral scaling). To overcome these challenges, this paper provides proof-of-concept for a novel open-source hybrid 3D printer that combines a low-cost hanging printer design with a compression screw-based end-effector that allows direct extrusion of recycled plastic waste in large expandable printing volumes. Mechanical testing of the resultant prints from 100% waste plastic, however, showed that combining challenges of non-uniform feedstocks and a heavy printhead for a hangprinter reduced the strength of the parts compared to fused filament fabrication. The preliminary results are technologically promising, however, and provide opportunities to improve on the open source design to help process the volumes of waste plastic needed for DRAM to address the negative environmental impacts of global plastic use.
3D printing; additive manufacturing; big area additive manufacturing; BAAM; hanging printer; hangprinter; plastic waste; recycling; sustainable manufacturing; wire robot
Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
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