July 10, 2018

kunststoffschmiede workspace 🇩🇪

Precious Plastic Version 3 was all about products. Enabling people to design and produce better products. A few workspaces around the world absorbed the new knowledge as good as the chaps at Kunststoffschmiede (I hope one day I will learn to pronounce it 😜). They are surprising us with new products, tests, and prototype every second day pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with plastic waste. This week I reached out to them to know more about the project, here is a recap.


Could you describe the project a bit more in details?
We started at the beginning of 2017, at the time we were about 6 people with some money from a competition and a lot of passion. It did not take long before more people started joining in. We work in a magic open workspace in Dresden, Germany. Many people drop by to learn about the project and some of them end up stay and joining forces. That’s how we could build a team of about 20 people with so many different skills ranging from designers, students, craftsmen, electrical engineers and so on…

Since November 2017 we are a funded project of the German ministry of the environment. This means we have to do workshops to show people how to recycle plastic, how to build recycling machines and moulds. Our underlying goal is to try to get people, politic and industry together to work on sustainable solutions to reduce and to prevent the global plastic problem on a local and a global scale. Through the partnership with the Ministry we can pay a team of 10 people. This are mostly mini jobs, about 10 hours a week.


What is your main goal? I mean you could be making bare money designing next year new espresso machine or something.
Our first goal is to create an appreciation for plastic. And get industries, politics and the people working together on tackling this plastic problem.
Yes, and second is to find ways to live on it. We are not funded forever and a lot of work we do isn’t paid. We put a lot of unsalaried energy into this project as we have lots of fun and it feels very good. But that’s the future 😀


Tell us about your workspace
We are based in an open workspace called Rosenwerk which is organised by the nonprofit organisation ‘Konglomerat e.V.’. There we have many different tools and knowledge available. The principle of this institution is to provide all these tools and knowledge open and free. Currently, we have 10 different crafts. From screen printing to CNC-Milling. (Almost) Everything is possible. Even plastic recycling 😆


About our recycling machines, we have two shredders and an injection machine. One is an old big shredder from a supermarket that was used to compress returnable bottles. We use it to precut everything. The second shredder is the “classic” Precious Plastic Shredder. Nothing new. To turn plastic into nice products we mainly work with the injection machine. We put much energy and focus on this machine. We build it once, learned a lot and rebuild it almost completely. Now we are pretty happy with this machine. When everything will be smooth we will share back all the updated files 😉


Lately, we also started to build the compression and the extrusion. The compression makes the first outputs. The extrusion still needs some time. But it slowly grows. To wash our plastic we bought an old gastronomy washing machine, we still have to fix it 😀


And tell us about the products you’ve been making
We do not really have a guideline in what we make, but we like to think products should be useful. There are mainly two different types of products we make at Kunststoffschmiede:

– Lifestyle (or something like that, can’t find a better word). We mostly think about what people really need. The Piranhaclamp is a good example as the product is kinda funny and useful at the same time. People are coming to our workspace to make their own clamps.

– Technical. These are products we design to solve problems. This mostly don’t look very nice, but they solve a problem.


I’ve seen on social media lots of events and workshops you’ve been creating, how’s that going?
Mainly we have two different kinds of workshops we make with different people depending on the event and context.

– Recycling and production
Shredding plastic
Produce some products, at moment mainly with the injection


– Building machines and making moulds
Build recycling machines with people from our neighbourhood
Mould-making-workshops for rapid prototyping
Development task force for moulds :))), in this dissimilar group we talk about product design and work on mould designs for the Kunststoffschmiede. Whenever we are going to invest a lot of money in a mould or the product is very complex we meet together. The #piranhaclamp was born out of those meetings. We’re currently working on a bicycle lamp.


Is there anything you want to add or tell the community?
We are super curious about where and what Precious Plastic and Kunststoffschmiede will be in 10 years. Did you think about that 🤣


You can be sure of that, can hardly sleep because of that 😅 Thanks for shedding light on the amazing work you do at Kunststoffschmiede. 


Connect and Support
If you enjoyed this article and like what the guys at Kunststoffschmiede do you can follow them on our forum, their website or Instagram. Press the ❤ if you like what they do and leave them a comment with products ideas you want to see coming out of their workspace in the future.