July 9, 2015 | By Simon

Although we’ve seen how e-waste and other discarded plastics can be repurposed into usable filaments for creating new 3D printed objects, we’ve been yet to see anybody who has made efforts processing the material into a usable 3D printed object in the same location that it was found.  For Swiss designers and avid surfers Jennifer Gadient and Fabian Wyss though, this is a part of everyday life.   

The couple - who have backgrounds in both fashion design and product design - have been traveling extensively over the past year across Europe in their van with the goal of settling down somewhere to surf and create 3D printed objects under their Project Seafood brand.

Currently, the pair have set up shop on the coast of Morocco where they are currently living and working out of their converted fab lab van, which features and Ultimaker 3D printer which was donated by the company.  

“Equipped with a plastics shredder, an extruder and a desktop FFF 3D printer, we drove our mobile upcycling fablab along the mediterranean coastline of Spain all the way down to Morocco to collect household plastic waste beachside and transform it into 3D printed objects,” explain the pair on their website.

Currently, the designers are focusing their efforts on upcycling HDPE waste from bottle caps into usable 3D printed objects that they create using their Ultimaker 2 3D printer.  In order to make use of the bottle caps - which are both washed up on the beach from tides as well as left behind by local tourists - they are sorted by material and color before being washed thoroughly and shredded into small granules.  

Once the granules have been created they are then fed into a slightly modified Noztek extruder which melts the granules and turns them into usable filament.  Once the filament has been manufactured, it can then be used in the Ultimaker 2 3D printer.  According to the pair, every object that they create uses no additives, no color and includes no virgin pellets; everything is made from pure waste.  

Like other initiatives that we’ve seen that seek to explore what’s possible with 3D printing, the experience of the process is just as important as the results.   

“We decided not to cheat,” said Gadient. “We didn’t print anything before we left, we wanted to print the first things with the products we found on the beach.”

Currently, the designers are only focused on selling a few creations to people they meet on the road or through their online store.  Among other objects they are selling include wax combs for surfers, wave decorations and charms that feature a recycling logo.  

“We never expected to make a lot of money,” adds Wyss, “but there was this hope to find a way to make it sustainable. What we gained is human experiences, technical exchange, and meeting great people.”

To find out more about the designers and their process, head over to Project Seafood.  


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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