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:
The original idea – combined Alternative Plastic Recycling – probably not actionable – details below
Alternative Plastic Recycling - at best prospect uncertain – details below
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.
THE ORIGINAL IDEA – COMBINED ALTERNATIVE PLASTIC RECYCLING AND 3D PRINTING
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.
ALTERNATIVE PLASTIC RECYCLING
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.