Precious Plastic 17-12-18

The group had planned to source a sufficiently heavy-duty cutting assembly and motor for the plastic shredding machine. However, our attention has shifted to evaluating an alternative machine to chop up waste plastic! We have been experimenting with an old office paper shredder to see how it performs when fed old milk bottles etc.

On the face of it we did not expect it to do very well but we were pleasantly surprised. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been given that it was advertised as being able to handle old CD’s but initial results were positive.

Several passes were required to achieve a consistent size of shredding causing attention to move to focus on how a mesh could be incorporated to retain large pieces to be fed back, through the mechanism a second time.

Safety is of course a major consideration of ours with extensive discussion taking place over the relative merits of design suggestions for a hopper to feed waste plastic items into the blades whilst keeping fingers and anything else well out of the way!

Buoyed by this progress the group have started to look at the next machine in the process so that we can start to process the shreddings into something useful. Consensus was in favour of concentrating on an extrusion machine rather than one that feeds the melted plastic into a fixed mould. This is the more complex and demanding option but being able to output a plastic filament offers a more flexible range of future uses – particularly if we can create a material that can be utilised for 3d printing.

The Precious Plastic Group meet on Monday mornings between 9am and 12 noon afternoons from 12:30 at 6 Milner Street, Whitworth. If you want to get involved you are welcome to come along. You don’t have to be an engineer or technically minded to be part of the group and there is a need for people who can help with fundraising and other support roles.

The Shed is also open for a brew and a chat so if you don’t want to get involved with this activity you are more than welcome to come along and watch!

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