giving PET bottles a second life with the ‘polyformer’ 

 

Industrial designer Reiten Cheng made it his mission to uncover solutions that would enhance our relationship with daily, physical objects. One of them is the ‘Polyformer’, a 3D-printed and open-source machine that recycles PET bottles into plastic filaments. It can be built using mostly 3D-printed parts and easily obtainable 3D printer components so that most makers can set it up themselves. 

this machine turns water bottles into filaments 1
front hero shot

 

 

a 3D-printed & L-shaped machine with adjustable parts

 

The ‘Polyformer’ presents a modular and vertical, L-shaped design that allows users to easily swap out parts and modify to their liking; it also facilitates interaction with the machine and minimizes the amount of space that it takes. 

 

Cheng (see more here) built a slicing tool with stacked bearings that cut the water bottle into a long and consistent ribbon. The user can then feed the ribbon into the repurposed 3D printer hotend to turn it into a 1.75mm filament as it passes through the brass nozzle. One end of the filament can later be mounted on the red motorized spool to complete the reshaping process.

this machine turns water bottles into filaments 3
bottle transformed into a ribbon, a filament, and then a 3D-printed part

 

 

The spool can be easily taken off to be mounted and used on a 3D printer, while the outer shell can be easily opened thanks to a geared mechanism; it can be closed the same way to keep users from touching the hotend. The entire machine was printed using recycled PET bottles, giving it a pleasant, translucent look.

this machine turns water bottles into filaments 4
Cheng simplified the process of opening and closing the machine ‘door’

this machine turns water bottles into filaments 12
the machine is fully engineered to work with 3D printed parts

this machine turns water bottles into filaments 7
the cut-up bottle gets reshaped into a 1.75mm filament as it passes through the brass nozzle

this machine turns water bottles into filaments 8
one end of the filament gets mounted on the motorized spool to complete the reshaping processthis machine turns water bottles into filaments 10
the spiral pattern serves as a self-locking mechanism while the motor spins

 

 

 

 

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the ‘polyformer’ by reiten cheng turns plastic bottles into filaments
 
the ‘polyformer’ by reiten cheng turns plastic bottles into filaments
 
the ‘polyformer’ by reiten cheng turns plastic bottles into filaments
 
the ‘polyformer’ by reiten cheng turns plastic bottles into filaments
 

project info:

 

name: Polyformer
design: Yang (Reiten) Cheng

 

designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom