The concept

The RNP (Recycle ‘n Print) is futuristic modular 3D printing system that creates a powder from your recycled material, either paper, plastic, glass, or aluminum, and lets you print a new 3D product from its open source app store.

The background

We’ve been recycling items like glass bottles, plastic, aluminium and paper for almost a century now. Over the last two decades, we’ve seen rapid prototyping technology evolution, and these 3D printers are now appearing in our homes. The next step is to start using a standard format (Material, Printing, Exchange system) so we could use basic material to print our own products directly at home.

How it works

You start with a clean item, say a plastic container. You use the RNP to shred it to powder using the machine’s built in processing system. (Shredding module). The RNP would then melt the powder to recreate new items such as a plastic toy for your child or a larger food container.

To choose what to ‘print,’ the process would be similar to buying a song, app, or game. You would browse products you’re interested in, download them, and the RNP would print them directly at home using your recycled power. You could also create your own designs and products and sell your creations. Instead of transporting used stuff to the recycling plant, you could re-purpose it directly at home.

The RNP would feature three types of shredding bays depending on the type of material being recycled. The output product (dry powder) would be deposited inside color-coded canisters and identified. You could trade or buy similar canisters from your neighbours using the RNP app. The material’s quality could also be evaluated by the machine.

The RNP’s fabricating bay could be used to inject multiple types of similar materials with various injectors. It would detect and heat the material and project it in small droplets into the printing bay to create your custom-built product. This bay could also double as a milling machine or painting room.

Some customers might only be interested in buying the shredding module and using it to shred their recycling material. They would use the RNP app to sell their canisters ($/kg). Others might be more interested in buying the RNP to print and sell new items.

What’s it’s used for

This is a vision for a futuristic home-based recycling and printing machine. If you tried this today, you would need specific types of plastic & materials. However, I am sure you can envision a day where such a machine could do this from home using standardized basic materials. A percentage of revenues would go directly to artists creating the items featured in the online open source product catalogue.

The RNP could be shared by four neighbours in connected back yards. Smaller models could also fit on your back porch or even become part of your kitchen like a regular appliance. I know it might seem farfetched, but if you start by processing one single material technology today, this industry (RNP) would evolve and one day this could become routine.

The Designer

The RNP concept was developed in collaboration with Sebastian Campos Möller, an award winning industrial designer from Mexico. Sebastian graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design and specializes in 3D modeling for additive and subtractive prototyping and concept development for human-centered products. Sebastian has also produced the concept images for the Paragon and Cosmos concepts.