2015 April 21

More RepRap Recycler Updates

So, it has been a while since the last update on the filament recycling project. Quite a bit has happened since then.

For starters, we came up with a name for the project, but later found out it was taken by a similar project. In the end we decided to just adopt the name of our senior’s old research project prototype “RepCycler”.

When the team heard that I had my blog they asked me to set one up dedicated to the project. Problem is, my blog lives on a virtual private server that I mess around with, and I didn’t feel like the project’s website should be affected by my shenanigans. While I felt that WordPress.com was the better blog system/host, I didn’t want to hassle them with managing so many accounts just for the project, so I decided to set it up on Blogger, since we were already using Google Drive for sharing documents. You can find the project site here.

Anyways, to start with, we decided to work backwards from the price we could sell the machine at to get the approximate cost making our machine should be. We looked at the competitors’ products and compared various characteristics, such as the extrusion speed and how fine the tolerances are. We rated those characteristics on a relative scale and by weighting those ratings, and came up with a performance index for each machine.

So, to make something that is actually competitive, we could either make something

  1. low-end at a really cheap price;
  2. high-end at a reasonable price; or
  3. much better than the competitors at a premium.

We decided to go with the second choice. Which meant that our target was to make something that could be sold for around £500, and had the same performance of something like the ProtoCycler.

Yeah, I’m not sure how well we could achieve that, but hey, that was what we were aiming for.

Next up we had a look at the functions the machine had to do. There were stuff such as the breakdown of the old plastic parts, getting the optimal mix of old and new plastic, melting and extruding the mixture and controlling the final diameter of the filament. I picked the extrusion part since I did a quite a bit of initial research in that and had a good idea of what to do.

That’s all for now, I’ll write-up about the rest later.