When was the last time you used your computer's disc drive? What about your DVD player? E-waste is all around us, but as the brilliant Instructables user behind this $US60 3D printer proves, there's plenty to be done with it — if you've got some engineering chops.
Last week we wrote about the world's smallest 3D printer, which costs less than $US300 and prints resin. But an Instructables user named Mikelllc has gone way further, uploading his designs for a 3D printer made from 80 per cent recycled e-waste and costing roughly $US60. Part of the idea, he writes, is to "help us to be more conscious about the big problems related with e-waste generation."
So how did he do it? You can read the full post here, but he starts with two DVD disc drives and one floppy drive — which will supply the stepper motors for the printer. Then he grabbed a PC power supply along with other cables and a soldering iron, creating the guts of the printer by hand. The software comes from Repetier Host's free program, and the other hardware is made using cheap lasercut materials as well as a 3D-printed nozzle.
E-waste is a serious issue — no one's quite sure how to fix our electronic garbage problem, and all the while consumers continue to throw out tons of digital trash. And while this certainly won't fix it, it definitely drives home one issue at play here: The fact that we could be doing a lot more with what we already own. [Instructables, Prosthetic Knowledge]