3D Printers Made From Copiers

Two new e-waste centers in Australia have collected tons of old printers and copiers for recycling and built 3D printers out of these e-waste.

According to 3Ders.org, the E-Hub Mackay and E-Hub Sarina (E-hubs) are social enterprises in Queensland, Australia established to provide technological training for the people in the community. The E-hubs collects and dismantles the e-waste in order to reuse parts and transform them into new technologies. Their current project is to build functioning 3D printers from old printers and copiers.

Frank Mason, a project supervisor at the E-Hub, explains that the main parts of the 3D printer are sourced from office copiers, while other small parts of the overall build such as extruder and controller are harder to find second hand. Additional components for the 3D printer’s structure can be designed and 3D printed themselves: “The 3D printer will help make the next 3D printer,” Mason explains.

The enterprises claim that E-Hub Mackay has collected more than three tons of printers in its first weeks, indicating that those three tons of waste have been saved for reuse and recycling.

The team intends to donate their 3D printers to local schools to help promote STEM and electronics education at early ages. “In the old days you used to do wood work, metal work and dress-making,” Mason commented. “Well, what about 3D printing, coding and making your own filament? What a great exercise to teach people how they’re made.”

Photo by: ABC Tropical North, Harriet Tatham

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