3d printer for TechShed?

Hey guys,
see email thread from Anna below.

How would you like us to respond

@Al_B @Ed_S @p.j @qscons @Will

Thanks for this Raj, does sound interesting. I’m copying in Danny Hearn from Frome Tech Shed as they have a couple of 3D printers they currently use and might have some ideas on this. I’ve also got friends who use a 3D printer and they can be quite tricky to use but perhaps if a few people were trained up they could help others use it.

Also just found this open source version – perhaps we could apply for funding to set one up there?!



From: ->
Sent: 30 July 2020 10:35
To: -(mailto:>
Cc: ->
Subject: Re: 3D printer

I’m thinking having the printer specifically only there to use the right type of plastic - you print something, and when you’re sick of it, you bring it down, have it chipped and print out something else.

Sent from my iPhone

On 30 Jul 2020, at 10:21, -](mailto:-)> wrote:
Hi Raj

Interesting idea!

Will give it some thought. I’ve copied in Anna who may have some views on the plastic chip recycling idea.

Kind regards


Peter Wheelhouse

Economic Development & Regeneration Manager & Deputy Town Clerk

Frome Town Council

Frome Town Hall

Christchurch Street West

Frome, Somerset

BA11 1EB

T: +44(0)1373 475573

M: +44(0)7714 587127

E: pwheelhouse@frometowncouncil.gov.uk

W: www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk



-----Original Message-----
Sent: 30 July 2020 10:09
To: ->
Subject: 3D printer


I’m having discussions with some photographers with a view to them taking space at the station.

They want to have a communal A0 printer (very big), scanners and other extremely expensive equipment.

It strikes me that this would be the perfect place to have a communal 3D printer and chipper for used plastics that can feed it (I don’t know if this works yet but it seems to make sense).

Do you think FTC would invest in a large 3D printer that was made available to everybody?

Just a thought.

There are some hurdles IIRC - impurities and plastic properties degrading with user, UV heat cycles etc.

Haven’t looked in a while, but “Precious Plastic” had done some work in this area (looks like they may have moved away from 3d print as a recyling tool, but have working tooling all described on their site):

Also coincidentally, this video on renewing the properties of recycled plastic popped up in my YouTube recommendations:

With some links to research projects for renewing plastics:

Please indicate your willingness to participate in a Zoom session to discuss this opportunity. I suggest next Wednesday at 8pm, immediately after the general Tech Shed meeting, if people have the stamina - maybe there should be a short break first.

For people new to the Tech Shed, here is a summary of how things stand as I see them.

The opportunity can be explored in three directions:

  1. The original idea – combined Alternative Plastic Recycling – probably not actionable – details below

  2. Alternative Plastic Recycling - at best prospect uncertain – details below

  3. 3D Printing perhaps to include 3D scanning – already under way – details below

The ‘station’ means the area next to Frome Railway Station called Station Approach. It is becoming popular (Rye Bakery, Lungi Baba, Hesperian Fishmonger and Kitchen, Tytherington Farm milk station, maybe others) ? How much space is available ? What restrictions will there be on access and use ? How much general public “footfall” will there be ? How much will it cost ?

The Tech Shed team working on the Clean Air project don’t have much time to spare on taking this opportunity forward. They can give and have given expertise and advice. The Alternative Plastic Recycling and 3D Printing opportunity could help us recruit new members to the Tech Shed, and renew the involvement of members who have fallen away since lockdown.

I love the idea of people bringing their “waste” somewhere and seeing it made into useful objects – but for 3D plastic objects the technology is not yet established. The 3D printer shown is only a “proof of concept” model. If a Tech Shed team were established they would need to acquire space to build it, and the shredder. Any organisation taking it on needs the necessary premises, equipment and expertise … the Frome Shed doesn’t, but maybe other sheds in the South West might. There are other ways of making useful objects from plastic waste, including low-tech ways – for an example see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-igxhoGEQFU , brought to my attention by Patrick Abrahams.

Precious Plastic (see https://preciousplastic.com/ ) offer guidance and products (buy or build-your-own) for community plastic recycling schemes, including how to make a bicycle-powered shredder (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxz3nAcZquY ) . Technology from Precious Plastic is the basis for the 3D printer. If there wasn’t a manufacturer of products from “waste” plastic right here in Frome I would be in favour of doing something along these lines. The manufacturer is Stormboard – see https://www.stormboard.net/ , supplier of noticeboards to Frome Town Council. They accept plastic bottle tops from the general public, but told me the Environment Agency does not allow them to take anything else from the public – I don’t know whether we would be restricted in a similar way. The cosmetics chain Lush collects and sends bottle tops to them – see https://uk.lush.com/article/what-do-plastic-bottle-tops . Interestingly, Lush converts the bottle tops to “pellets” first.

Since March 2017 I have been promoting 3D printing in Frome – see the Frome 3D printing page at https://www.facebook.com/zanitie/ . This has been boosted over the last year by my joining the Tech Shed – members of the Tech Shed fixed my old printer (twice), and helped me build a new one – we have shared expertise, and Tech Shed members have designed and printed housings for the clean air project. Plans for a 3D printing event at the Frome Share Shop were put on hold because of the Covid-19 virus. We’ve done one community project (feet for chairs for Frome Community Hospital being refurbished by the Frome Shed). I’ve 3D printed brooches for Frome Writers’ Collective and worked with three local artists/craftspeople, and we’ve participated in the 3Dcrowd project making anti-Covid-19 visors for the NHS and others. We could probably do much more given more exposure – that was the objective of the Share Shop event. The crucial issues are premises and volunteers.

Reflecting the Tech Shed team’s current interests, most of the previous Wednesday’s discussion centred on 3D printing and such like. Points raised include those above and:

  • what about a laser cutting/etching station ? Schools/college’s with both 3D printers and laser cutting/etching seem to find laser cutting/etching more popular, easier to use, more reliable, easier to maintain.
  • cooperation from 3D printer manufacturers/suppliers/importers?
  • make it self-supporting with revenue from something like: https://www.treatstock.co.uk/ (they seem to put people who want stuff printed with people who can print it, all online)
  • make it like an internet café.
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A possible suggestion.

We can also do a 15min Tech Shed checkin 7-7.15pm then breakout to different groups in zoom, and reconvine at 7.50pm to share and wrap up. You can of course also continue on…

Let me know if that is of interest

@qscons good idea, I think, to have a separate meeting, and certainly a good idea to have a break!

I up for discussing a few of these points

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In 2014/15 ASDA installed a 3D Scanning Booth “on a permanent basis” into 10 stores - see https://www.artec3d.com/news/asda-starts-roll-out-artec-shapify-booth-supercenters-across-uk
It seems the service is no longer available - if you click on the booking link you get nowhere.
Follow the Artec Shapify Booth link and click on Scanning Points you discover just one location in the UK offering 3D scanning - see http://www.my3dimage.com/

Raj’s reply to my enquiry as to how much space would be available, under what conditions, staffing arrangements …
From: Rajan Russell [mailto:rajan_russell@icloud.com]
Sent: 25 August 2020 11:26
To: Paul Fine
Cc: Tom Hull; Anna Francis; Peter Wheelhouse
Subject: Re: Station Approach 3D Printing

Hi Paul

There isn’t room in Toms unit for a printer so, if it works, it’s going to have to be ina. Different part of the building.

Can you estimate how much space you need and what the staffing needs are? I’ll see if it works based on the input necessary.



Sent from my iPhone

I think the Tech Shed is a long way from setting up a community 3D printing/scanning, laser-cutting or whatever facility. Why don’t we see if Edventure want to consider it for one of their courses in setting up community enterprises ? I believe that’s how the Frome Share Shop started. Tech Shed could happily provide support, volunteer staff even, but I think someone else should be running it.