Bike Turns Plastic Cups Into 3D Printer Ink

Bike Turns Plastic Cups Into 3D Printer Ink

The Mobile Fab is a beautiful example of innovative recycling.

Tiffany Nesbit
  • 16 april 2014

Any trip to the Museum of Modern Art is sure to include an exhibit that features waste turned into works of art. Like those artists, many of us are interested in creating beautiful things out of recyclable materials, but lack the time or the know-how to do so. Fortunately, Taiwanese design factory Fabcraft is making creative recycling a little more accessible.


Because 3D printers have become smaller and more affordable, the co-founders of Fabcraft wanted to find a way to bring 3D printing to the average person. They wound up getting some design plans and open-source software off the internet to build their own 3D printer, which they strapped to a bicycle and called Mobile Fab.

It has a workstation that grinds plastic cups (currently only No. 5 grade plastic) into a powder that is put into the 3D printer. The 3D printer converts the powder into an ink that is used to create gear-shaped tokens that are later fitted with LED lights and can be placed in bike spokes. The whole process takes about 2 hours.


The Fabcraft team bicycles around town asking people for their used cups and giving demonstrations on how the Mobile Fab works. They explain the many benefits of their creation, including reducing carbon footprints and pollution.

Fabcraft is hard at work on their next project, a larger Mobile Fab that they hope will be able to influence people to re-think how trash can be useful.

(h/t CNET)


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