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Precious Plastic Version 4? 😮

This topic contains 104 replies, has 69 voices, and was last updated by  Tim 1 day ago.

Dave Hakkens davehakkens

Precious Plastic Version 4? 😮

30/01/2018 at 22:19

You might have been aware that we launched Precious Plastic Version 3 a few months back. Maybe. We made many new things, introduced the bazar, container workspace, a series of art objects, a map for collaboration, more techniques and a way for the community to share their own tutorial videos. Quite a lot. Our main focus for this version was on expanding the platform and making it easier for people to collaborate.

This period is really fun for us. Seeing what the community, you guys do with the information. Always exciting to see if its used the way we intended. But besides observing we also gather feedback, comments, posts, topics we see or improvements we could do. And I can’t help myself, but slowly I think about what a V4 would look like.

So thats where this topic is for. To share your ideas, suggestions,improvements. What would you like Precious Plastic to work on and improve next? Throw it in here! Together we set the course 💪
*Oh and I might look inactive every now and then because i don’t leave a reply but I read all of it. No kidding.

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02/06/2018 at 10:11

Something really interesting to me would be a BIGGER INJECTION MACHINE that could melt and inject more plastic at the same time, like 3 or 5 more.

Injection process is the best way to produce object in serie with very little finishing, but i noticed people are often struggle because of the small amount of plastic the machine countains. so they only can produce small items.

We could think a way to have more power to inject more plastic maybe using a while with a couple, like in column drill?  Could add more / bigger heating bands, or a melting plastic réservoir !

Vacum forming machine could be intersting once we manage to get clean plastic sheets also ! 😉

02/06/2018 at 11:55

another thing which should go into the ‘getting started checklist, buying guide’ of the v3/v4 machines: people should be made aware of that most machine builders weld the frame out of tubes together. as result people are unable to get into a car!
it takes a half day for a welded frame but more than a full day to make a frame with tubes which can be disconnected via screwes(up to 20 euro), it changes the material bill by 30 euro in total…

whilst at it, please also warn people that the machines could easily exceed their electricity contract! for instance we build only shredders with at least 3 hp, more preferably 5hp = 4kw. the standard contract in spain is 3.3kw, after that, the meter shuts down.

whilst at it, please really tell people in the same document about the extruder capacity! the machine is already expensive but realizing then that it only extrudes plastic with certain volume limit changes EVERYTHING. they will be unable to produce anything bigger than we see now in the bazar all over the place….

my 2 cents 🙂

03/06/2018 at 18:08

We work in a summercamp in France near the beach, and we would love to have a precious plastic version adapted to a child’s use!
How could we use precious plastic machines with kiddos on holidays?
We already collect bits and bops of plastic with kids, but we would like it to be bigger !
It’s huge, but it’s worth it!

Charlotte and the summercamp team!

05/06/2018 at 19:42

I love this project!!

In many places the pollution is big and plastics exceed the capacity of the shredder

i wanna help to design and try made a better, faster, efficient shredder.

The machines that we made with @plasticoinfinito proces around 10 – 20 kg of plastic for hour, l wanna made one shredder monster that proces 100 kg / hour.

07/06/2018 at 18:43

Hi Dave,

Congrats on winning the aeard! Could you look at improving the design of the shredder to include a dual or Tri axle sysyem. Thinking that it would make shredding easier as the item would be forced down to the blades more than with the current design.

Also, a design for something to add onto the extruder to automatically cut a bead of plastic into small pellets?

08/06/2018 at 11:14

Hi PP Community,

Firstly, a huge congratulations to Dave and everyone on the amazing award win!

My name is Scott, and I am a lecturer in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, from Monash University in Australia. I am supervising a small team of students working to build our own version of the PP machines, but in a novel packaging.

Version 3 was a bit big for us, so we decided to tweak the design of the machines slightly so that they could all fit neatly on a single 1m by 1m pallet, and still allow all of them to be used simultaneously. And also carry tools and raw materials and safety gear. It was quite a challenge but I think we did ok 🙂  We should know in about 6 weeks when the complete unit is due to be finished. Please check out our CAD designs and build progress on our FB page:

We see several benefits to such a compact integration:
– It takes up less space to store (obviously)
– You could manufacture and ship them very economically
– It simplifies the wiring, safety and controls
– You can take the unit out into the community and engage with people everywhere (schools, fairs, expos etc)

This is one idea we would like the community to consider for a potential “Version 4”, and we are more than happy to assist by sharing our designs and/or rework them with everyone’s input.

As a relative new comer to this community (Jan this year), but with many years experience supervising university student project teams (Formula Student) I have a couple of small suggestion for the future of PP that I would like to humbly share.

–  Refine/Redefine the vision for PP as a community
The community appears to be experiencing a huge amount of success, interest and growth, but sustaining that explosion of growth can be a huge challenge. Are we just here to “create tools that make it easier to start recycling plastic”? Or are those tools something that we use to educate people about the plastic problem and fight it from a whole range of angles? It would be good to see the PP community pull back a little from the machines to focus on the bigger picture, and use the community and platform to drive big changes, by finding ways not to use plastic (for instance).

– Consider Decentralising more
The scale of the community must make it very hard to manage. While we will always need and want Dave leading the way it would good to see more regional leadership emerging and being endorsed by the core team, to free them up to lead strategic stuff.

– Prioritise community engagement, rather than machine creation
We are not going to recycle our way out of this plastic problem, and there are limits to what these (amazing) little machines can do. The PP support materials are presently geared towards machine builder/operators, but it would be great to see more support provided for outreach. Changing the way people think about plastic and consume can be done at scale, it just takes a bit of information, some interaction with the machines and teams, and a sample to go away with, and we have done our job. We plan to develop materials on this front so I am volunteering my team to assist on this 🙂

– Connect with more Engineering Universities, and start groups there
Building one of more machines is a very serious technical and financial undertaking for most community groups or individuals, but universities have an unlimited supply of engineering students, often lots of money, great facilities and the space to get up and running quickly. This project ticks so many boxes for the kind of experience we are trying to give students, it is not funny. It also really appeals to female students (who we are desperate to attract to STEM and engineering) in a way that race cars, rockets and bridges often don’t. There are about 600 universities around the world currently building Formula SAE/Student cars, there should be at least half that many with PP groups in the next two years. With their skills and facilities these uni teams are the perfect people to support other local groups in machine building, or just making their own machines available for community use. Here at Monash, we are happy to help push this uni uptake along any way we can.

– Not everyone needs their own Shredder, work around it!
The shredder is clearly the most difficult and expensive part of the PP production line, and from what I can tell, is a serious impediment currently to people getting into PP, but maybe most groups don’t need one. In fact it is probably uneconomical for lots of groups to be building them. We do understand that the capability of recycling your very own plastics is nice, but not at the expense of being able to access the other much simpler and cheaper machines and this whole community.  We found it very easy to source beautiful shredded HDPE and PP in bulk from a major plastics recycling company locally, so surely those opportunities must exist elsewhere in the world? They have serious machines to do this job and not much to do with the output currently.
Which started me thinking, if you don’t need a shredder, just how simple/cheap/small could you make PP?

If we imagined for a second small PP productions units without a shredder (using sources shredded materials), and let’s say without an extruder as well, what would it look like? You get left with the compression oven and the injector. Or what if you picked just one of those? I would take the injector. Now you have got a single machine (dual mains power for faster heating), that would easily fit on a small trolley (including all tooling and moulds and raw materials), that could go just about anywhere and tell the PP story (display screen for videos!) and make samples for people. Once refined, I am guessing any university team could sell these (at a small profit) for less than US$1000. And arrange to supply these customers with raw materials. That would be my other suggestion for Version 4.  Simplify massively, but make it super cheap and accessible.

Sorry for the massive rant, but hope some of those ideas are of interest.

Cheers 🙂


09/06/2018 at 14:34

Have you considered a refit of a campervan? They come in various sizes and are quite cheap secondhand. The machinery would be inside, and can either be fixed in place or stored for travel. A large awning can be attached to the van to create a workspace. Also the roof can have solar panels to help keep the on board batteries charged.
This would be far easier than a double decker bus to get to places, and as the chassis is robust.

09/06/2018 at 16:19

The things I would like to see:

Register as a charity!
– If we can find a way to start this even if it’s one country at a time, we could apply for funding from various sources.
– I think the best way is education. so if we can set up work shops to teach children/teens/adults so that they become more aware of the possibilities and maybe learn new skills to help teens and adults get jobs in production.
– so the whole moving workshop idea is brilliant, maybe some instructions on how to refit a van/bus/campervan.

– currently there is a huge lack of protection on the machines, moving parts can cause fatal injuries. as well as burns from hot machine parts, and melted plastic.
– simple shielding needs to be designed to protect the users. as well as advice on things the users can do to remain safe when operating. I not suggest we go crazy about it, a fact sheet of safety and good working practices would be really good.

I think we need a design that doesn’t need to be welded, not everyone has the skill required to do it or the access to the tools. A design that can be bolted together could reduce costs and make it accessible to more people.

one more thing; running workshops to raise money to set up people in developing countries. Experience days are a big thing in the UK, don’t know about other countries.

14/06/2018 at 14:46

I’m wondering since months about why v3 is not being cleaned up yet, and first!

1. why are the machines still exposing those dream scrap yard numbers ? There are enough realistic numbers here in the forum about those machines! The numbers exposed in the downloadable kits are around 1/4 – 1/5 only of the numbers in reality ! The owner of the project argues that the more work you put in, the more cheaper it gets. This is a blatant lie. Most crucial machines require non DIY components like motors, reducers, couplers, extrusion screw…. The only real DIY things you can do with this machines are the frames and hopper.

2. Why is this ridiculous wood drill being still in part list of the extruder. Everybody will figure out sooner or later it’s complete waste of time, money and other precious resources like redoing the whole thing with new metal mounts.3. Why does the website still suggest that people can do filament with those machines? It has been numerous stated that the filament is useless. It requires way more machinery and time to make filaments.

4. Why are the power consumption numbers are not exposed clearly on the machine main pages ? People should know right away what footprint/pollution is involved!
5. Why there is no warning about the blades, there are enough facts which emerged pointing out quite some problems!? The warnings should point out wear, it’s a matter of time the whole shredder box has to be re-done and right.

6. Why there are no warnings about the weak motors problems of the shredder, leading to jamming,… ?

7. Why is there no warning about the massive work times involved (4-8 weeks full time,…)? It has been stated in a video but that’s not enough!8. There are no facts about the shredding and extrusion capacities in the kit ?


14/06/2018 at 17:17

technically, if @davehakkens would finally take some responsibility and act honest and also stops treating us as his own personal design and pet project, the v3 machinery has to be taken offline as it’s done also in the industry: for instance when a car causes more damage than use, the company calls it back, no  matter the price! and seriously, don’t come up with goovy excuses like : ‘ it’s platform ‘ or ‘it’s a movement’. i can tell you what it is: it’s a serious disaster, nothing more, especially when looking at outcome of the machines, period.

15/06/2018 at 19:12

I think the V4 should focus on a machine that can be placed on field so any pedestrian can walk towards it with a handful of plastic and by inserting the plastic, the machine will shred, and create an object like a medal or a bracelet as a reward. That can make ANYONE get involved into recycling and creating valuable objects from “garbage”

15/06/2018 at 20:38


IDK if you are planning to process PET but it would be a interesting development in your extrusion machine, When I heard about this project i started to imagine what would happen if we can upcycle all of that bottles that we can find everywhere. I did my research why we cant heat the PET and produce again something precious, and basicaly we need to redesgin the screw to create a descompresion chamber in the middle so then we can encrease the preasure again avoiding thermal-oxidation and hydrolisis created by the water that could absorbe the PET, or another alternative that could happen is introduce a new a machine to dry and clean the PET before the usage into precios plastic Machines, But It would be nice to speak it with a Chemical engineer too.

I would love to help in the process
So feel free to contact me

15/06/2018 at 22:02

This home-made hydralic press (image down below) I found in abadoned car service could not only serve for compression, but for whole workshop. I would like to make the injection machine into a tool that you put inside, achiveing higher pressure with less effort.
Talleresferica already tried to build similar machine:

16/06/2018 at 13:12

@unratonloco, I’m machine builder, with clients intending the recycle bottles, could you please open a dedicated forum topic on the subject ‘extrusion screw design for PET/plastic bottles’ ? thanks!

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