Introduction: REBOTTLE: a Fun Way to Upcycle DVD Players!
Hello to all readers! Today in this quick and easy instructable I will show you how you can upcycle old DVD parts into your own plastic bottle-cutting system. This is a one-stop-shop concept that utilises as much of the DVD parts to upcycle plastic bottles into self-watering plant pots and will work for a majority of plastic bottles that you would drink from on a daily basis.
Before we get started, you may ask yourself: "Why would I make one?" Well, you're right, but I wanted to share one of the greatest things in life, and that's to explore the fruits of creativity and awareness for the environment, and this is a great example to shed light on the notion that not all plastic bottles are recycled. Plastic not only takes hundreds to thousands of years to decompose, but they're an every-growing danger to the flora and fauna! Of course, instead of taking life, why not use it to breed life, in the form of a plant pot...THAT'S RIGHT, this system is totally perfect for the job! Buckle up, as this project will show you how to turn the old DVD player you hardly use, into a system which helps breed new life!
Step 1: Preparation: What You'll Need!
Of course in order to make this project, you'll need an old DVD player that you wouldn't mind upcycling, but any old digital electronic devices would work as long as they have metal sheets.
For my concept, I salvaged parts from the Laser HD007, which may potentially be discontinued.
Other than the DVD player, much of the tools used were supplied from my university, where equipment such as hand drills, metal grinders, welding tools, band saws, drill bits, 3D Printers and whetstones.
Easier to obtain equipment could be seen in the use of adhesives (e.g. superglue, hot glue-guns), rulers, pens & pencils, paint stripper, gloves, brushes and spray-paints.
*NOTE* Don't be discouraged from not having exactly the same parts or tools from me, the main idea of this project is the notion of upcycling old things we don't use anymore into new creative objects! The best part about making things is the creativity and uniqueness behind every project, so feel free to design yours to your own liking!
Step 2: Step 1: the Design!
As seen in photos of the final product, the initial design of the product will be an "ideal" concept of how you'd like your project to look. For this product, The aesthetics were heavily influenced from the Scandinavian design style which tends to using more neutral earth-tones such as the browns, whites and blacks. Additionally, the shape of the design was more flat and angular with hints of roundness to it as you can see in the soft corners of the base.
Though you may want to adjust the concept to your own liking, this is an initial idea of how you would convey the main components of the concept into a real life product (don't forget this will be made from your upcycled parts too!)
Step 3: Step 2: Making Your Base
The base would essentially be the foundations for your whole concept, and would be what holds it altogether. For this concept, the shape was very rectangular, and was made from using the bandsaw to cut the metal top sheet of the DVD player into a square shape with sides measuring approximately 20cm x 20cm.
As the DVD player features metal coverings with edges that are connected to the top and bottom panels, I took advantage of this and shortened the top and bottom faces, all while keeping the same features everywhere else.
After cutting with the bandsaw, you should make sure to strip the paint so it could continue to being welded. This section requires you to simply brush paint stripper onto the surfaces you wish to weld on, and it will generally be able to strip paint after 20-30 minute of waiting. Paint stripper does contain poisonous ingredients, so make sure you wear latex gloves (or any other kind that will keep your hands safe), as well as a mask to avoid breathing it in!
Make sure you hold the metal parts altogether with welding (it works best on metal). I made a few tacks across the gap between the two sections to hold them together, but you can do as you see fit! Additionally, welding does require power tools that are dangerous, so ensure you will wear protective equipment as seen in the preparation step!
Once the parts are connected, make sure you can support any weight placed onto it. If the metal bends, this could be avoided by slotting in parts within to hold against pressure. As my goal was to upcycle as much of the parts as possible, I used the DVD tray's plastic components by screwing it in from under the bottom panel and it worked well to support the structure.
Step 4: Step 3: Building the Arm
The arm will form the main clamp in the concept, which will enable you to cut bottles in half.
This was created by first salvaging parts from the DVD player, such as the disk tray cover, then designing an arm extension out of the metal sheet to hold bottles in. As seen above, the metal sheet was used to cut metal parts as such which measures 12cm long and 2cm wide. The metal is somewhat thin and bendable, hence users in the future should be careful not to place too much pressure on it. The metal arm pieces were then drilled with a power drill and 3mm bits to create holes into the face. The arm extensions are also fitted into the disk tray cover by measuring holes where the arm extensions would rotate from, and this is followed by additional drilling, where a pivot point can be made from using metal rods (as seen above) cut and fixated with a round-headed hammer .
At this point of the arm's construction, you can paint it whenever you really want, though it would help to spray after all pieces are checked are perfected.
Part of one side's arm is also the blade, the main component used to cut into plastic bottles. The blade is created by sourcing from the DVD player's metal sheets, which is then sharpened against a metal grinder, sharpener and finally whetstones, where the blade was sharpened to a point where it could cut into skin very easily (I can confirm from first hand experience. The blade is then cut with tin snips into a triangular shape, where it is ultimately placed into the side's DVD tray cover.
Finally, with all the main components of the arm prepared, you can connect with the metal rod rivets, where conjoined sides will feature a beaten-in metal button to hold the arms together and use as pivots.
With leftover sections of the metal rod I used in the rivets to hold the arms together, I grinded one end into a sharp pin which could be used to poke a hole into the caps of plastic bottles, which would then act as the entrance for the wick in plant pots to transfer water into plants. The pin was superglued with a washer and also functions as the pin which holds the clamp together while bottles are being cut.
Step 5: Step 4: the Backbone
The Backbone of this project serves its main purpose of holding the structure altogether.
Of course, its key component is from the DVD player (the rear end), though extra materials are also used in the production of the backbone, such as 3D printed rods I used to improve the overall height and structural integrity of the concept.
The backbone does not require any additional help as it is able to keep all the stock together and on hand, and could be easily fixed by stripping the paint and welding onto the back surface of the main body.
After this, a spine consisting of the rods, washers and 3D printed parts was included to hold each arm, and fixed into the base through superglue. This part of the structure is held back by wires so it can stand straight up and the arms would not be bending towards one side, compromising the system's ability to cut bottles.
Step 6: Step 5: Spray Painting
Spray painting the project would require you to ensure the paint on the DVD player is entirely stripped in order to be able to spray another colour. In order to strip the paint, refer to before, and hence ensure appropriate clothing is worn to protect yourself from fumes.
For my project, I sprayed each side with 2 coats of spray painting (with 20 minutes between each layer to dry) and this resulted in a fabulous finish that was satisfying to run your finger across due to the patience behind the production. Parts from the DVD player were originally black, hence i will spray it white in order to continue sharing my ideals of minimalism and Scandinavian art.
Step 7: Step 6: Final Assembly
The final assembly of this project is constructed fairly quickly after all the preparations of the parts left a very easy task.
The backbone would first be connected to the base, where it can be done through superglue or welding (only if paint is stripped in the area), and following it would be the rod which acts as the spine, where it could be stuck onto the top surface of the base, or fitted into a drilled hole.
While installing parts of the spine, the arm clamps should be fitted with a gap (you could use a washer) in between each layer to avoid any friction built up by the rotating parts grinding against each other. After both arms are stuck in, the 3D rod at the top can be fixed on the very top, where a combination of superglue and hot glue was used. As the weight of the arms were slowly forcing the spine to bend forwards, I used wires from the inside of the DVD packaging as a part of holding the spine straight against the backbone, thus allowing the blade to stand upright too.
Once you've ensured all the parts are constructed and combined well, the model should be able to be used immediately!
Step 8: REBOTTLE in Action!
If you've built your own rendition of the REBOTTLE just like ours, you should definitely give it a try, and this is how it would work!
1. First you place the bottle onto the base
2. Then close the clamps around the bottles as far as you can, making sure the blade pierces into the bottle
3. Next you need to place the pin into the hole within the arm extensions to hold the bottle in place
4. Using your hands, spin the bottle against the blade's edge to ensure a consistent, straight cut through the edge.
5. Once the bottle is cut entirely, all you need to do is place the top with the cap into the bottom half!
As you can see, this works for a variety of plastic bottles of all shapes and sizes, and just like that you're easily able to not only give old DVD players a new life, but also use plastic bottles in new and interesting ways, such as a self-watering plant pot!
Step 9: Acknowledgements
As this project was a group effort, I would like to thank all my group mates who have consistently worked with their greatest efforts alongside myself in the best interest of upcycling DVD players to help change other's views of plastic bottles.
Many of the photo documentation and ideas were credited to them for their assistance, and I believe our hard work has paid off with the creation of this instructable to help educate society about the impacts of plastic bottles on our environment and what we can do to breed new life!
Til next time, everybody! <3