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Filabot – recycle your household trash to make useful products


You’ve all probably heard about 3D printing by now, but just in case you haven’t, it’s likely to be a huge market in a few years time as the technology evolves. We first started raving about 3D printing four years ago, and the tech looks like it’s finally starting to come together. When you remember that most technologies take around 10 years to hit mainstream, we’re still on the right trajectory.

The process basically involves using plastic string (or filament as it’s called) to create objects or parts. What kind of parts? Well look around at your home and you’ll see a ton of plastic items which could easily be reproduced using a desktop 3D printer. Cups, washers, containers, toys, phone cases, the list goes on.

Now that’s all well and good, but the problem is the filament is expensive – think inkjet printer ink expensive – and non-recyclable. Well until now.

The Filabot is a brilliant concept; take the common plastic trash in our homes such as shampoo bottles, product packaging etc and use it to recycle into filament for 3D printing. Now why didn’t we think of that? Anyway the idea succeeded in getting some Kickstarter funding last year, and like most ambitious ideas is only now looking as though it may reach customer hands.

Right now there aren’t a whole lot of details about things like shipping or pricing, although the inventor Tyler says they’re about to ship the first batch to Kickstarter sponsors any time. The one thing that’s clear is that this kind of product will happen anyway, whether Filabot succeeds or not.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see something like this incorporated into future 3D printers themselves in a few years. Imagine popping your old soda bottles into a kitchen top hopper to make yourself a new coffee cup or a replacement washer for your kettle. Mind-boggling.

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

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