Ekocycle 3D printer uses recycled plastic bottles as component in filament cartridges
July 2, 2014 by Bob Yirka
Cubify has announced that it will be selling a $1199 printer later this year called the Ekocycle Cube 3D Printer—it will be using recycled PET plastic bottles as one component in its filament cartridges—a single cartridge will hold the equivalent of three 20oz. bottles, making up 25 percent of its content.
Entertainer Will.i.am, chief creative officer for 3DSystems, designer of the printer (in collaboration with Coca-Cola), is serving as a promoter to drum up support for the printer and for the creation of eco-friendly technology in general. In a supporting video he suggests that the path to creating eco-friendly technology products is though making the idea "cool" to consumers, which in theory should create demand for them. "Waste is only waste, if you waste it" he notes dryly. He's also at work creating designs for 25 accessories that can be printed with the cube. Initially, at least, the printer will be able to create objects with just four colors, natural, red, black and white. Objects created with the printer will be flexible, similar to that of plastic bottles. The printer exemplifies, the company claims, environmental sustainability and innovative recycling. 3DSystems has also announced that it will be designing another printer in collaboration with Hershey's to print chocolates in interesting shapes.
With the reasonably low price, the Ekocycle Cube will be aimed at home users or hobbyists who may wish to create art, an iPhone case or whatever their imagination conjures. The cube comes with designs for guitar picks, rings, and many other items (for a total of 25), and can print objects as large as six by six by six inches and has a resolution of 70 microns. The plastic bottles used to make the cartridges will apparently come from a recycling partner.
The design of the printer takes a cue from Star Trek's replicator, with a simple yet elegant cube design reminiscent of products from Apple. Objects are created in the open interior—a touch screen on the side features an intuitive user interface and there are just two buttons on the front, Print and Stop. Connectivity is via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The Ekocycle Cube 3D Printer will be available for sale on the Cubify website sometime later this year.
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