ReDeTec is looking to impact desktop 3D printing in a big way, by making it a more environmentally sustainable and cost-efficient process. With its all-new ProtoCycler machine, the Toronto-based startup is offering makers an efficient way to reuse and make their own 3D printing filament at home. Initially launched through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in 2014 (which raised 146% of its $50K goal), the ProtoCycler is nearly ready to ship.
Once you have a 3D printer at home or in the office, the only real costs that follow you around are for 3D printing materials. And while filaments range in price significantly, having to buy new spools regularly to keep up with your making needs can really put a dent in your bank account. In addition to costs, physically seeing how much plastic is used for your prints (especially failed ones or rough prototypes) can be disheartening from an ecological perspective.
Of course, buying filaments made from recycled materials is a good solution for your environmental concerns, though perhaps less so for your financial ones. That's where ReDeTec comes in with its ProtoCycler: the only desktop recycler system in the world that includes a built-in grinder, diameter feedback, and automatic spooling.
According to ReDeTec founder Dennon Oosterman, the ProtoCycler is also the only desktop filament recycler with a third-party safety certified extrusion system. Called MixFlow, ReDeTec's patent-pending plastic extrusion process does away with the problematic drill bit/wood auger system that many extruders use and instead integrates a "proper extrusion grade screw," which allows for the recycled plastic pellets to be melted consistently and smoothly.
Oosterman and the ReDeTec team were inspired to develop their own desktop filament recycling device at university. As he told 3Ders, "We first became interested in 3D printing when our lab at the University of British Columbia got some 3D printers. We used them quite a bit for our engineering degree and thought it would be a good class project to recycle some of the waste back into 3D printer filament. It turned out to be far more difficult than we'd hoped!"
Aiming to fill a gap in the home 3D printing market, the dedicated ReDeTec team set about developing the ProtoCycler. Now, in the final stages of readying its product, the startup is hoping that it will help to make desktop 3D printing more sustainable. So far, the UL Certified ProtoCycler is equipped to produce ABS and PLA filament, though its developers have suggested that more types of plastic materials (printable at 260 degrees or lower) will soon also be extrudable.
Excitingly, ReDeTec was recently recognized for its work at Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) 2017, the world's largest startup competition, judged by Sir Richard Branson. While Vantage Robotics took home first prize for its innovative flying camera, ReDeTec was awarded third place for its ProtoCycler device.
The experience at XTC 2017 was incredible, says Oosterman. "The people we met and the publicity we've gotten since have been incredible," he told 3Ders. "And it's generated some fundraising interest as well, which is always helpful. I would highly recommend applying to XTC for anyone starting a business that will impact the world in a positive way, as the network of people you meet is truly the best I've come across in my time with ReDeTec!"
ReDeTec co-founders Dennon Oosterman (left) and Alex Kay (right)As the Toronto-based startup prepares to launch its product, it is also looking forwards, continually thinking of ways to improve its technology and to have a positive impact on the 3D printing community. According to ReDeTec, it is aiming to scale up its technology, and is hoping to develop a more modular system for its technology, as well as a motorized grinder.
"Ultimately we want people to be able to create whatever they want, in a way that's so affordable, sustainable, and safe that children can do it in grade school year after year. ProtoCycler and FDM printing get pretty close...but there's still some limitations we'd like to remove once we have a chance," commented Oosterman.
Source: This article was curated form the original written by Tess for 3ders.org and can be read here: http://www.3ders.org/articles/20170224-protocycler-the-desktop-filament-maker-aiming-to-make-3d-printing-more-sustainable.html