[backlog] August 31, 2020

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 21:550 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 month I made some really major progress on the new version of the Trash Printer, that I started prototyping back in April. I've completely re-designed the gantry so that it uses 100% open source parts, and optimized it for 2D cutting rather than 3D printing, so that the parts can be laser-cut out of wood or acrylic in a fraction of the time it took to print the old parts.

Whereas the old Trash Printer gantry took around 70 hours of 3D printing to make a full kit, the parts for this new design can be manufactured by a laser cutter in about an hour. 

The parts can be cut out of a wide range of materials, using a wide range of tools, depending on what you have available. I'm prototyping the parts with 1/4" plywood, which ends up being remarkably rigid and cheap. All of the parts can be cut out of about $30 worth of hobby plywood. 

The design is still a work in progress, but things translated from my Sketchup design to real life way more smoothly than I expected, and I was able to mount the motors, control board, and lead screws, and get the whole thing moving. I haven't gotten a chance to print anything yet, but once I wire a up a few cables I'll be ready to give it a shot!

Speaking of getting things printing for the first time, my friends over at the Trash Hackers Collective recently got their own replication of the Trash Printer up and running, and printed out these little vases as their first test prints! This is the first independent replication of the Trash Printer design, and it's exciting to see the idea finally spread beyond my basement! Replication is the highest form of flattery. Hopefully it won't be the last!