Large Scale 3D Printing From Recyclables


Introduction: Large Scale 3D Printing From Recyclables

About: As a challenge seeker and continuous learner, Samantha is passionate about human space exploration and social impact. Her professional and extracurricular experiences include marketing, biotechnology, social...

Odds are if you heard about this challenge, you like Jack Daniels. And, if you like Jack Daniels, you like hanging out with your friends and celebrating life. Which makes you pee, giving you plenty of time to check out awesome Instructables and to think of ways to combine your love for community and doing something big. 

What’s My Big Idea?

Hack a device to create 3D Printed Composting Toilets from Recycled Materials

Why do it?

• Trash is a huge problem in developing countries
• Millions of people lack access to toilets or latrines
• Current solutions, such as composting toilets, are expensive and often require materials to be imported
• Creating jobs is a benefit to anyone
• Composting toilets boost hygiene without impacting water supplies and creates fertilizer for better crop production
• Solutions managed by locals for regional needs have the most success

Our 3D printing project will allow for the rapid production of affordable, customized products made onsite from recyclables.  However, this solution requires access to plastic trash, a team of makers to create one of the first large-scale 3D printers and filament makers, in-country capacity building, and end-users who are willing to test our stuff with their stuff. So, I enlisted my friends, who enlisted their friends.  To build a team of creatives, scholars, and makers to hack a plasma cutter using milk jugs, plastic bags and other garbage we have on hand. Preliminary designs and prototypes are underway, but in order to create robust prototype to travel to Chile, where we have already identified a strategic partnership with a local recycling program, potential buyers of the recycled output, and a community that has committed to becoming trained in 3D printing, we need YOUR help!!

Our first traveling prototype will cost approximately $15,000 + travel expenses.  Winning this challenge will give us just enough working capital to convert trash to cash.

Here’s to the Jack Daniels Independence Project and the ability to make a difference!

Jack Daniel's Independence Project Contest

Finalist in the
Jack Daniel's Independence Project Contest



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    17 Discussions

    I am not sure how much prototyping you guys have done printing from recycled plastics (quite a few hurdles in the process I have heard) but figured I would share this anyway. These guys know quite a bit about printing from recycled milk jugs as they did just that and printed a full on boat:

    They could be a good resource if you are still working out some of the printing kinks (like shrinkage... "Like a frightened turtle!"). If you are already way past that stage, congrats and good luck with everything!

    2 replies

    Wanted to give a quick follow up:
    Thanks again for your support!!


    Thanks for posting...we love this project and the commentary! If we win and can finance a traveling version of our system, we hope to meetup with such like minded groups all over the world to share challenges and solutions!

    While I was disappointed not to be included in the finalists for this competition, I REALLY think yours is the best idea out of the lot!

    All the other projects, when searched on Google, come back with tens of thousands, to millions of results, and many of the finalists have either tried to get Kickstarter funding or are already working businesses.

    I truly hope you win! GOOD LUCK!

    3 replies

    Awww, thank you so much for sharing your support, it means a lot to us! Prototyping our process is super expensive, so we could really use the prize money to transition the idea from a backyard project to a pilot program in Chile. Sorry to hear your were not selected as a finalist. The Wasp and Grass Resin Egg on your Instructable page is really cool!


    The Wasp and Egg instructable was a long time ago and I never managed to put the tutorial together.

    Let me know if/when your project gets underway if you ever need an art director/photographer/graphics person!


    Hi Jolene,
    We might be needing your services soon: :)

    Using waste as a solution for waste, really creative. I have been telling people for years that some day we will mine the dumps we are filling today. This might actually be the thing that makes it a reality. I really hope this gets funded (and I can eventually make one myself)

    2 replies

    Hi Jengu! We have completed the first step towards our vision! You can check out our large format printer, the Gigabot at:

    Thanks for your support. Our goal is to open source all of our designs. If/ when we get funding we will be sure to let you know how you can get started to create your own Independence Project!

    I see the Independence of life you will be giving those people in the third world countries. My vote is with you!

    Without a doubt this is the best idea and deserves to win!

    Brilliant idea -- a trifecta of waste repurposing, sustainable local manufacturing, and addressing sanitation needs in the developing world. The permutations of 3D printing/recycling applications around the globe are endless. See picture of the La Chureca landfill in Nicaragua below...

    La chureca.jpg
    1 reply

    Wow! Thanks for sharing this image and for illustrating the need for technologies that can leverage plastic trash!

    Such an important project with so much potential. This project could easily ignite an industry.

    1 reply

    I bet this could evolve to composting bins, vehicle parts, home repair, etc. very easily once a town got a printer and knew how to use it!