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Recycling HDPE

Posted by gr0k 
Recycling HDPE
November 27, 2007 12:09AM
I was wondering, would it be possible to recycle printed parts? Say a part breaks, could it be melted down and fed back into the reprap? I suppose you'd have to figure out a way to get it back into the right shape since the extruder pulls it in from a spool...

How about recycling other HDPE stuff around the house? How hard would it be to for instance, melt down a milk jug? I guess there could be all kinds of impurities that would cause problems and some nasty fumes, but I'd love to see an add-on for the reprap were you could feed in trash plastic in one end and new useful items come out the other end!

That brings up another question, does the reprap give off any toxic fumes when it melts the HDPE?
Re: Recycling HDPE
November 27, 2007 08:40AM
To answer the easier question first: No, HDPE produces no toxic gases at the temperatures we're working with.

Recycling household objects is one of the goals of the RepRap project. If you look back a few months on the (I think) main blog you will see the initial work Adrian has done with a granule-fed extruder, which would be the first step to recycling non-uniform objects.
Re: Recycling HDPE
November 27, 2007 01:02PM

Here's a link to what Kyle is talking about.


Re: Recycling HDPE
November 27, 2007 01:57PM
Here's an interesting bit of info: 200 plastic grocery bags is approximately 1 lb. I average about 6 bags of groceries per week, which works out to 1.5 lb of HDPE per year.
Re: Recycling HDPE
November 28, 2007 10:18AM
One would probably have to be very thourough with cleaning though, I remember from the old "making of a CAPA stick" instruction that even dirt under your finger nails might clog the extruder..
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