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Precious Plastic are working on a semi industrial brick making process that will be released in Jan 2020.
Do you have a budget for your project or s project proposal I could see? Might be able to help you further with this if you do.
Rory (V4 team)
Brick version two aimed to address the extrusion time = high costs. To do this we require a design that reduced the plastic volume of the brick but increases the surface of the brick. To do this we made the block hollow.
As a result, we’ve got a sturdy brick. However, we realised we could make the brick bigger using almost the same amount of plastic if we reduce the thickness of brick’s walls. This resulted in V2.1 Which actually took only 5 seconds more to make on the extruder despite being 500g heavier. This is to do with the better nozzle location on the mould.
A modified nozzle using a slot mechanism also helped us speed up the mould disassemble – brick removal – mould reassemble process.
Thanks @antoniocicotti This is actually quite similar to the direction we are now going in! Awesome design and really good project! Thanks for sharing!
Brick 1 Development – Machine Choice
After 3D printing miniature versions of all the methods highlighted in the case studies, we decided the easiest method to pursue was a brick that utilised the extruder. This is because compression is relatively slow and slow = high cost.
Injection was also an option but it is limited to about 100cm every 6-8min. (16g/min) when the V3.5 extruder has an output of about (200g/min). However, this doesn’t mean we have completely cast aside compression in the process. Perhaps after the item has been extruded into a mould it then would be compressed.
Conceptos Plasticos Brick
Conceptos plastics use large 20mm thick moulds, to inject large interlocking bricks. Due to their shape, they are easily extruded and pushed out of the mould using a hydraulic press. They utilise a mix of plastics to achieve the performance they desire and reduce shrinkage (more about this later).
We created a similar (but simpler mould) using a box section beam cut in half and 2 square section pieces with a plate at either end. To prevent the mould from getting stuck due to shrinkage this was a 4 part mould.
It produced a large durable brick, but at 12min to extrude one …the volume of plastic was the issue here to create a profitable option. So we moved onto V2….
After investigating the above case studies we deducted the following:
– Brick needs to be moveable by 1 person.
– Material Cost will likely be higher per m2 than standard brick methods, but labour cost will be lower due to rapid construction.
– Sorted material has a higher value than unsorted both in terms of demand & processing cost.
– There are two ways of making them, Injection or Compression.
We then as a group evaluated the key criteria that we wanted this brick to meet. To do this, we wrote over 50 possible brick criteria and voted for the 3 most import. The 3 are as follows:
1. Cheap/Profitable/Fast Manufacturing
To kick off let us take a look at what has already been posted on the forums.I will keep adding to this with new discoveries so feel free to mention anything that we may have missed or any other resources.
FabBRICK (Brick made from recycled textiles) featuring interlocking design (lego style) – https://www.fab-brick.com/
Conceptos Plasticos, interlocking blocks with a ridge. Made from a mix of plastics. – http://conceptosplasticos.com/ Which Unicef used to build a school 40% cheaper than usual construction methods. Unicef News
ByFusion, Mixed plastics compressed block. Interlocking – https://www.byfusion.com/
Rushabh Chhada an interesting form which is similar to the above construction methods. – Various Documentation
Forum Topics: Plastic Bricks
Mixed with Cement
Expanded Polystyrene Blocks & Cement (Instruction) – youtube
Eco Inclusion – PET shredded mix http://ecoinclusion.org/
Plastic Binder with Sand
Polycare, Utilises pouring into a mould 87% Desert Sand (Extra interesting as desert sand cannot normally be used in construction) and 13% Polyester Resin. – video
Other Material Forms/Types
Forum Topics: roof tiles from plastic waste
Huge Generic Playlist – playlist
Paving Tiles – WasteAid
TetraPak Roofing and wall panelling, utilising the PP layer to bind the card/Alum layers together – video
Compressed Earth Brick Press, Low tech solution to just press things together – video
Here are some photos of the material close up so you can hopefully copy the results. In the photo with the fibres, this was actually defect batch that we received. They came in different thicknesses and felt like Onduline (a thick roofing material you can find in some hardware suppliers in Europe) Fairly flexible and very good at insulating a building. Screws went in nicely and the plastic coat in the video gave the material a shine.
The real unknown here that affects viability is heating time, pressure and temperature. If these are known we can replicate fairly easily if we can assume the mix has no additives.
Good question, however I never saw any bloating of the material after exposure to moisture. Maybe an additive is added to the pulp? or the Plastic ratio is high enough to restrict expansion/deterioration of the bonds.
When building eco-buildings in South America I used recycled Tetra Pak cartons which had been converted to sheets for the roof.
The process looks a lot like the new sheet press being developed by V4. Unlike most plastics, Tetra Pak is not widely recycled in Europe and often discarded.
Does Tetra Pak get recycled in your area?
This is an interesting question and depends on the way the PET is shredded.
The closest thing we can use compare to compare the effects of adding plastic to a material is with PET mixed with Plastic Crete. If the ratio of binding vs aggregate gets too low a significant change occurs in strength. 1:2 seems best (Cement : Aggregate) However that aggregate can range with <10% PET to sand mix increasing strength and with 50%-20% gradually decreasing the strength.
In this paper here the source shows the trend between shredded size, and strength with size making a major difference. Another paper does use smooth PET in strands which is too interesting and better effects.
I guess the real question is how long are the fibres we can create, and how rough is their surface by using PET. Because what we want to create are a copy of these plastic industrial standard fibreglass reinforcement for cement. Thus ensuring an improvement in strength rather than a reduction.
Hola, lo siento, ahora vivo en Dominica, no en Perú!
They are made from steel normally. So melting temp is about 1500c. Tricky to work with but it can be melted if you have the right kit.
Is their no recycling system in the Netherlands for this kinda thing?
Recycle Rebuild have also the capacity to make products in high volumes from beach collected plastic. PM me if you need help.
Hey @jaklatt thanks for including us! We like it, but it doesn’t quite address some questions that we are often asked.
1. What is the cost of the machines if we build them locally? (Itemised calculator)
2. What tools do we need to repair/build the machines?
We love the simplicity of your calculator and a completed one from one of the major PP businesses would be interesting I think for many future PP community members!
I wonder if there’s a way that we could streamline the process to make it more efficient…
Im thinking either an injection style machine that allows the bottles to screw on while they are filled or something more manual like this Columbian idea?
2.2 | Alternative to conventional concrete aggregate
Firstly thank you for tagging me into this conversation,
To contribute a little I completely support this direction and would like to make some points from my time in Eco Architecture.
This solution (2.2) is the easiest to implement from my experience compared to creating solid plastic blocks mainly because it utilizes basic technology that most countries understand fully, and are trained to work in (Concrete work). Concrete is based on ratios to acquire different strengths and those mixes can be edited to use different aggregates (no extra tools required). If clever we could also come up with a mix to make hollow blocks, using standard hollow block machinery.
Have you by any chance investigated Biocrete? (Hemp Crete, Coco Crete, or Rice Crete?) all substitute the 3/4″ gravel aggregate to utilize a waste fiber or material. In some cases, lime is also added, this allows the material to hold moisture. So that in tropical climates moisture is collected at night and evaporates during the day to create naturally ventilated buildings through evaporative cooling.
The fiber or waste also tends to provide a certain level of tensile strength, not found in standard concrete. This could be a good selling point when pitching the idea of inserting plastic into standard concrete to communities. Cheaper & Better….always a good pitch.
My only comment about plastic in this method of construction is that we would need to ensure that it is not exposed to the sun. Solar degradation will cause the surface layers to decay, and create a fine plastic dust. This can be avoided by plastering the surface layer.
While we are on the topic of utilizing waste materials, the island I am currently running our project on doesn’t have any glass recycling. Could we not take this one step further, Cement, fine glass (Sand), Plastic (Aggregate)?
Another method is Eco Brick, they use a standard bottle and pack it with NRP, however, this is very labor intensive, and most developing countries will stick to traditional methods with a limited adaptation of the method.
Keep up the great work, if you have any questions I’ll be happy to help.
PS. We are building a few walls in a recycling center in a few months, it would be great to pilot these methods if we get the facts straight. Then we can create an instruction video?!
From our experiences with machine building and recycling, purchasing a lathe is a little overkill. The only time we really need one is for making the hex bar, however, we work with local machinists and they sell them to us for about 30euro.
What I do agree on is the purchase of a CNC Router, we have found the Shapeoko 3 XL/XXL perfect for our use in the occasional creation of moulds and post processing our products. It’s not the best ever, but its a solid midlevel system that is easy to repair in developing countries. Setting us back $2000usd including router bits and shipping to the Carribean.
I guess this rate card is all about the scope of the project, if you want to be a machine builder and you are going to make a lot, then invest in these expensive machines, however, if you are instead trying to make a recycling/design space then a Mill, Aluminium Welder and Lathe are not essential for 90% of the projects.
@anne-barbier What do you weld that is aluminium?
Let me break down your insane message one exaggeration at a time.
15,000EURO To Set Up Shop
This is just ludicrous, most people do not need to buy a Lathe and Mill. Most lathe services are available locally and don’t require the investment. Get someone else to do it and save your time.
Our real-world price for this is around 6000euro, including a nice CNC and a full set of machines, plus all the tools you would ever need.
I quote in your own post you even wrote
“All the machines are rather an assembly of expensive parts, always done with the same tools : angle-grinder (30 E), drill-press (250 E) and a welder (50E second hand). In 1-2 days only you will see how it works! You won’t regret the invest since you will need them anyway as soon your follow up ideas will take shape.”
15,000EURO to Build Machines
Dude, Seriously? Even in your own posts, you mention that the machines shouldn’t cost more than 500-1000euro a machine. Let me quote:
“Often you see prices like 1700 Euro for an injection machine [on the bazar], whilst it’s only 100-200 Euros for the materials, and 1-2 days for labor. “
Our real-world prices for the machines is 2400euro for a full set, and like I said it was included in the 6000 euro above.
12,000EURO for Labour.
Maybe this is correct for central Europe, however, this doesn’t apply globally, wages and costs of living change hugely from one country to the next. That’s why we can sell handmade tshirts in Europe for 10euro. The minimum wage (that a lot of people live on) in the Philippines 400php a day. That’s 6.40euro a day. Let’s say we doubled their salary to 12euro a day, 6-day work week. For one month is 313.20euro.
This means for your 2000 euro, we could hire 6 staff to work in the space, not one.
For rent I can make the same point as above, every country is different. Also like we have seen people put this in a small garage or other small space.
I think you missed the point of this document, and again as I have seen on many of your other posts throughout the forum, you go straight to blind attacking mode instead of creative development and improvement.
The point of this document is to allow other potential PP builders and designers with the right tool that includes all the potential costs for their project scope. It is intended for use in ANY country, and will hopefully display the financial investment involved based on that country.
From my work around the world, and also from what I have seen on these forums. The plastic problem is a global issue. Euro has a well-established system, however, parts of the developing world do not. It is in those locations PP is best suited, and is developed to create a new sustainable economy in waste management where there is none.
Large industrial machines shipped from China do not suit these allocations, if broken, they are expensive to repair and the parts are not easily sourced. However, PP tries to tackle this issue by using easier to obtain parts and simple methods of repair. I support this approach and so do a lot of people. Maybe you don’t agree, however you are outnumbered on this forum.
We have no problems with items sticking to our sandwich press and that has a Teflon non-stick surface so I assume a tray would act the same.
But have read that time and temp are huge factors of this. Too hot for to long = sticks.
@dplasto Have you watched his other video where he explains the nozzle for 38mins. It’s in Russian I believe, however you can turn on Youtube Subs.
In the video, he explains the problems of using a filter with fine holes to create strands. However goes into detail on the Nozzle,
– 4mm hole that connects to the extruder.
– custom made (but looks like pipe fittings to me.
– adjustable to control the thickness of fibres by changing the air pressure
– Air is compressed to 2-6x atmospheric pressure (2-6bar) 2.8 showed good results.
– Output fibre is between 3-15 microns
– The barrel is heated to 285c
– Air is heated to 300c before entering the nozzle
– Air is heated using conventional electric air heaters (heat gun?)
– Nozzle needs a temperature reader to monitor air temp.
– Nozzle consists of 7 parts. At 25min in they take it apart. It seems that the 4mm hole runs through the centre of the nozzle with the air running around the outside.
Most interestingly for me is that he mentions building insulation properties and the fact it is not highly flammable.
Hopefully, this is something the team in the Netherlands can look at in V4.
Looks like a simple air compressor is connected to the end. Wouldnt need much of a modification however the pressure from the extruder would need to be larger than created by the air. I suspect angle is also key here.
We could potentially try it out in a few weeks however I am unsure what we would do with the fibres at this point?
Your project seems very interesting, I wish you all the best, and congrats on the funding. I will be closely following your progress. Make sure you post regular updates to this forum as well as your blog! 😀
I currently have an exercise bike I too would like to convert, but for now, the hand-cranked version is what we use.
We are currently running a solar experiment in the UK with PVC, PP and HDPE to record the effects of UV on recycled plastics. It has now been one year since starting the test. Our test was set up to understand how the thickness of plastics affects the UV process and what thickness would be required to provide a 15-25year lifespan.
Do you mind providing me with the dimensions of the tiles?
I’m glad to hear that the tiles remained in place if vandalised, what was the spacing between the wooden elements and the length of self-tapping screw?
Very impressive piece.
There is also the option of creating your own moulds using silicon (Calk Gun). This means you can give it thick walls that deform less. A group in Singapore I believe have had good results. Our results were a bit Meh….
I have updated the forum to include a Rate Card Template that should include a list of items to build every machine. Any missing items would be appreciated from other builders.
Hey, Love the idea, Do you have any idea how long these shingles would survive in the sun? (UV) for an extended period of time? Also how vandal proof is this system? Can the tiles be ripped off the wall by hand?
and thanks @leflora for the mention.
As mentioned I used to work for All Hands and Hearts, who are now in Lombok. My job was to go to disaster zones and find opportunities for AHAH to start a project by assessing the needs, designing the project and then budgeting the project to search for funding. I too have seen the first-hand devastation after personally going through Ecuador’s 2016 earthquake and working after Nepal 2015 earthquake. They have a wealth of experience, and I have direct contact with the team on the ground if you wish to pursue this further. However, AHAH is currently in the Response phase, not the Recovery phase and will be focusing on temporary shelters at this point.
Bottle bricks fall into Recovery (post 6 months). We did investigate the method for Nepal and Ecuador, however, it was decided that the projects were too labour intensive. Thus increasing the cost. Construction follows the project management triangle, Time, Cost, Quality. Something that takes a long time, and is high quality cannot be cheap. Because of this, the focus was to change the building material that was quicker to construct. From my travels, however, I understand that Labour is cheap in Indonesia correct?
What regards to kids games, try coconut bowling with plastic bottles filled with water.
To answer your original questions, you will need to fill the plastic bottles with plastic & paper wrappers or sand/soil. There is no need to shred unless you really want to make your job easy. but the problem is it’s another time stage of work (labour cost goes up).
In terms of PP machines, nothing creates a large block fast…
As also mentioned I am now the Co-founder of a natural disaster/plastic waste charity, currently in the Caribbean.
if you have any questions, fire me a message.
Hope this helps,