There are three pieces of technology in our production process: the extruder, plastic shredder and cleaning system. Every piece of technology we create or help improve will be shared through an open source license so we can spread the impact as fast as possible.
The extruder technology was developed by techfortrade’s Matthew Rogge. The design is available via an open source license on Wevolver.
The Extruder is designed to create 0.5 to 1 kg of filament per hour directly from plastic flakes. It was designed to fit a niche between the cheap home extruders that lack consistency for consumer production and the very expensive industrial machines with high throughput. The extruder, lovingly called the thunderhead, is controlled by two three Arduino’s, has a starve-feeding mechanism to control the flow of plastic, a precise diameter sensor that continually measures diameter consistency and a spooling system.
We’re currently using existing shredding facilities. As this involves high cost and the plastic is out of our control we are currently experimenting with low-cost ways of shredding and cleaning. One of the main designs we’ll be experimenting with is the precious plastics shredder.