[backlog] October 31, 2019

A project log for The Trash Printer - Version 3

An open-source, low-cost, large-format 3D printer that can print directly from shredded plastic trash instead of filament

Sam SmithSam Smith 10/07/2022 at 21:330 Comments

[ Backlog - This log was adapted from my Patreon, to fill in the details about how this project has developed over the years. Check the link for the full post, and if you appreciate this project, consider supporting it! ]

This has been a crazy month and a lot has happened! We set off on a 3-week West Coast tour in the Magic Tool Bus. First, we landed at Arcosanti in Arizona for their 3rd Convergence event. 

There we did a demo of the Trash Printer, and I made my first ever "print" using HDPE and a new extruder design. 

Unfortunately, as with all first drafts, the design needs more work to be consistent, but this is at least a promising first step!

Next, we headed out to the Ecosa Institute for Ecological Design, where I did a talk on open-source distributed infrastructure!

Last week, we presented the Metabolizer at the Institute for the Future's "Age of distributed super powers" conference, which was a blast!

Our exhibit wasn't open until the big reveal on the second day of the conference, so I spent most of the first day tuning and calibrating the printer. I had been having some annoying motor issues, which I finally diagnosed as faulty wiring, and I rebuild the wiring harness, and it worked much better, just in time. I was able to print my first fully functional part: A wind/water turbine that I attached to a stepper motor so it would light up LEDs when it spins.

Now that the printer is working better, I'm going to focus on content production over the course of November, and work on posting educational media that teaches folks how to build the Trash Printer, since my existing documentation is still a little thin. Now that I know what works, it's time to make better documentation!