The Recycling of E-Waste ABS Plastics by Melt Extrusion and 3D Printing Using Solar Powered Devices as a Transformative Tool for Humanitarian Aid
This study demonstrates the EcoPrinting principal, which makes use of renewable energy to realise a low carbon footprint means of recycling waste plastics into feedstock for Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing. We present our work to date to encapsulate this principal in a singular device, which comprises a nanogrid solar/battery storage unit, a custom made filament extrusion device and modified FFF 3D printer system. We demonstrate that our system is capable of reforming ABS plastics found in electronic waste and converting these into functional items through a melt extrusion and additive manufacturing process. We successfully demonstrate the efficacy of the system to operate using solar derived energy and using the resulting filament to 3D print functional pipe connector components. We conclude Ecoprinting holds considerable potential as a sustainable means of converting waste plastics into functional components. Finally, the portable and self-sufficient nature of the system, Ecoprinting could feasibly could be applied as a cost effective aid solution for vulnerable communities in low socio-economic environments.