3D printing garbage off the planet

3d printing garbage

Transforming garbage into products with 3D printing. Photo via wagingnonviolence.org

AlphaPura is a global initiative to fund and develop 3D printers capable of repurposing the bulk of meltable human garbage on Earth into new products, and into global solutions.

The story of AlphaPura began with Frederick Janson, a former research professional at Stanford University School of Medicine, and graduate business professor, who developed a 3D printed water filter, which did not require a filter or electricity to purify water.

According to 3D Printing Progress, Janson envisioned that his product could convert the oceans, seas, and waterways of the world into drinkable water, to serve a hungry and thirsty market of no less than 2 billion people. Though Janson had developed no elaborate marketing campaign for this invention, in a single day it went viral, with thousands of people taking an interest in this global solution to the fresh water crisis and famine crisis.

The problem was that 3D printing building materials were cost prohibitive and did not allow Janson’s invention to compete with substitutes on the market, and so Janson shelved this global solution to develop a global solution to reduce the cost of 3D printing consumables, whereafter he designed the AlphaPura 3D printer, to be able to 3D print using meltable waste, effectively developing an additional global solution, that of reducing human waste materials by transforming human waste into a “free” building material. To summarize, Janson designed a way to repurpose the world’s meltable trash.

To be able to turn these ideas into reality, Janson built the first prototype for these global solutions out of an EV3 robotics set made by Lego. The first design was one that was “off the grid”, such that it could use renewable energy sources and/or non-renewable energy sources to recharge this 3D printer, so that it could be used in emergency situations.

The former design employed a programmable fresnel lens on a robotic arm and tungsten funnel-extruder combination to superheat meltable materials in a controlled manner, by employing a programmable swinging shade between the Sun and the fresnel lens in such a manner as to achieve the optimal melting temperature of most objects.

A more ambitious and future design employs a laser in addition to a fresnel lens (which is ideal for “off-the-grid” usage, but requires sunshine to be able generate energy through a steam engine and to melt materials, and thus is limited as to where it can be used, though other renewable energy technologies could be used here instead of a fresnel lens) to superheat meltable waste into the molten state required to repurpose the waste into a 3D printed object or mold.

The current design and the one currently being proposed for funding simplifies the design by removing the solar panel, external energy inputs and associated renewable energy generators, the rechargeable battery of this device, and the fresnel lens robotic arm with the shading mechanism, which would otherwise swing into the maker space as needed — features they plan to offer in an a-la-carte and customized build-your-own printer in the future, along with other novel swing-in features on robotic arms, including, but not limited to, miniature power tools, and along with different maintenance service plans, training service plans, and do-it-yourself kits, the latter of which will allow users to swap in dedicated tungsten extruder-repurposer “printer heads” for each material type they seek to repurpose, to eliminate the need for cleaning extruders between material types they are repurposing.

Tungsten Design for this Invention

As this technology seeks to repurpose the bulk of human solid waste on Earth, some of the AlphaPura 3D printer needs to be made out of an abundant and inexpensive building material with a melting temperature above that of most solid waste, and such, tungsten has been selected as the primary building material, as it has one of the highest melting temperatures on Earth, 6000+ degrees F, more than a couple of thousand degrees hotter than the temperatures being generated by a fresnel lens, on the order of 3800 degrees F, which is hotter than the melting temperature of most metals, glass, and plastics, whose range is between 150-3000 degrees F, with plastics at the lower end, glass in the middle, and metals at the higher end, with respect to melting temperatures.

The inventors believe they can build, test, and deliver a functional prototype in the next 18 months with financial support. A likely risk is that they won’t be able to configure the 3D printer software to melt down all of the different types of plastic, glass, metal, concrete, and other meltable waste within 18 months, and so are committed to releasing software updates on a continuing basis, until there is a program for every waste material that can be repurposed.

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Short URL: http://solar-magazine.com/?p=4279

Posted by on Jul 13 2015. Filed under _featured slider, USA, WORLD. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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