Some people feel that 3D printing produces a lot of plastic junk, but here’s a project uses those same 3D printing tools to make other junk useful again. The creator calls it “upcycling” and we love it because then end products are useful, whimsical and endlessly diverse. By adding a bit of plastic here and there a discarded jar becomes a juicer, or a barbell or even a birdhouse, seeing another life beyond the landfill. – Rob Faludi
Many 3D printed objects fall short of the lofty aspirations operators have to print useful things to use every day. I like how these designs use 3D printed “plastic junk” (as Rob calls it) and non-plastic junk to make well-designed household objects that I would actually want to use. – Becky Stern
The potential of 3D printing and the sharing of printable designs is undeniably huge. Yet, designs that are “fit to print” are not exactly overflowing in the cornucopia of free and shared designs. Project RE bring traditional Industrial Design skills and sensibilities to the maker community, and it this case it really pays off. Regardless of the materials or processes used, the juicer, hour glass, and birdhouse delighted me at first sight. These houseware accoutrements can hold their with anything found in the MOMA Store. They are designs that are “fit to print.” I think they advance the art and tacitly invite more design professionals to share their abilities in the maker community. – Yury Gitman
This experiment of Project RE_ explores 3D printing as a DIY tool for upcycling. Customized lids are created using low cost 3D printing. They are then clipped or screwed onto standard jars, tin cans and bottles to create new and personal objects. In the first collection 14 objects were made : a watering can, an hour glass, a long pasta container, a bird house, a bird feeder, a mug, a rain catcher, a maple syrup bottle, a piggy bank, a orange juicer, a snow globe, a paint brush cleaner, a dumbbell and a lamp.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
After finishing the content of a mason jar (pickles, mustard, jam…), I always clean it and keep it for later use. I quickly realised that I had almost no opportunities to actually reuse them unless I decided to turn my kitchen into a canning manufacture. These containers were going to be thrown away anyways and water would have been wasted for nothing. I remembered a design from Jorre Van Ast that could solve this problem by turning my jars into spice containers, but it seemed silly to buy objects just to reuse other ones. As a DIY’er, I had to find a better solution and 3D printing came to the rescue.3. The Intent: What is the personal backstory; why did you create your DIY project? What point of view did you bring to the project?
It was time for a digital shift. I wanted to reuse these containers in an unfamiliar way. I wanted to use my industrial design knowledge in the making of my upcycling projects. I met the good people, asked the good questions and ended up with my own UP! I love using already existing products as raw material for my projects. 3D printing makes it incredibly easier for me to hack my environment. I made sure that my designs were using a minimum of support material and manual adjustments. In the end, my empty and useless jars became a family of original and useful objects. Sustanaibility isn’t the main argument for this project. The goal is to promote a limitless tool for makers around the world.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
It started by writing the first draft of my book : Project RE_, DIY in the digital age. While doing the research, I fell in love with the Makers community. I wanted to be part of it so much that I started publishing my own designs on Instructables. I got a great support from them to bring Project RE_ forward. I also had Philippe Lalande, as a teacher and school director. His 3D printing project Metacycle, made in 2005, was a main influence for me. I had the idea, but not the hardware. I got lucky to get free access to an UP! 3D printer, otherwise the project would have stopped to early paper models. Project RE_ assumes that additive manufacturing will keep getting cheaper and faster. I made my point by creating fully functional 3D printed objects for less than 2$ a piece. What is great with the idea of personal 3D printers is that you considerably reduce the cost for tooling of an object while eliminating all kind of transport outside of the raw material. It is, in a sense, object teleportation.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
- Sustainability : Giving value to trash. No transport for the objects. No need for moulds and tooling.
- Education : Bring people to use the 3D printing technology to produce real working objects, not visual models. Vulgarise the digital design. Make the Digital DIY community grow while teaching some basic rules of product design.
- Optimistic : Bring 3D printing to the world.
- Social : All 3D models, step by step, experiences, models and failures are shared on Thingiverse, Instructables, 123D, and the Project RE_ blog. People from around the world can then download, hack and appropriate the designs. It is 100% open source.
- Economic : A hole new business model could be possible with such low-cost machinery production (an UP! cost 1 500$). The cost for the 1st unit is the same than for the 1000th one.
EVERYTHING is shared. Paper models, foam models, 3D models, .STL models, sketches, videos…
All is needed to reproduce these objects is a jar or tin can and a ABS FDM 3D printer (500$- 3000$)
After downloading any of these designs, people can calibrate the dimensions, choose the color, customize the shape and so on. What I provide is the main idea and a working assembly unto standard everyday objects. I hope that the DIY community will carry on with the idea and come up with more ideas for upgrading our daily waste. Let’s hack all this trash!