Project RE_ by Samuel Bernier




UPcycling with an UP! 
Personal and Portable 3D Printer.

This experiment of Project RE_ explores 3D printing as a DIY tool for upcycling. Customised lids are created using low cost 3D printing. They are then clipped or screwed onto standard jars, tin cans and bottles to create new and personal objects. In the first collection 14 objects were made : a watering can, an hour glass, a long pasta container, a bird house, a bird feeder, a mug, a rain catcher, a maple syrup bottle, a piggy bank, a orange juicer, a snow globe, a paint brush cleaner, a dumbbell and a lamp.

After finishing the content of a mason jar (pickles, mustard, jam...), I always clean it and keep it for later use. I quickly realised that I had almost no opportunities to actually reuse them unless I decided to turn my kitchen into a canning manufacture. These containers were going to be thrown away anyways and water would have been wasted for nothing. I remembered a design from Jorre Van Ast that could solve this problem by turning my jars into spice containers, but it seemed silly to buy objects just to reuse other ones. As a DIY'er, I had to find a better solution and 3D printing came to the rescue.

All is needed to reproduce these objects is a jar or tin can and a ABS FDM 3D printer (500$- 3000$)
After downloading any of these designs, people can calibrate the dimensions, choose the color, customize the shape and so on. What I provide is the main idea and a working assembly unto standard everyday objects. I hope that the DIY community will carry on with the idea and come up with more ideas for upgrading our daily waste. Let's hack all this trash!

I really really want this Objet 3D printer, so please, please, PLEASE vote for me!

Also, see how to UPgrade your UP! with 3D printing and other tricks!

Step 1: The Creation

Long before going 3D, I made sketches to determine what my empty containers were about to become. To test the volumes and function, I used paper models, then polyurethane foam models. I followed the same design process I use to create industrial goods. Once all the objects were determined, I used Rhino and Solidworks to make precise 3D models that I turned into .stl files, ready to print. In the next steps, you will find the specifications and the STL file for the selected open source product. 

Step 2: Pasta Box

You will need 3 small tin cans. 3'' diameter. Lips on both side, the bottom one being smaller.
Make sure that they were opened with a normal can opener. The ones that leave the can's lips intact. Both sides have to be open on 2 of them and one ove them keeps its bottom. 

Customize the name on the lid (linguini, spaghetti, capellini...) and print all parts, no raft, with the FDM 3D printer.

Clip all cans together and use the last can to close the container.

Step 3: Hour Glass

You will need 2 jars with a 2'' opening. (olives, sauce, cherries, baby pickles ...)
Print the part using ABS or PLA
Fill one of the jars with white sand, as thin as possible.
Reverse and adjust the quantity to have a precise timing.
Kind of an archaic object, but somehow very captivating to watch.

... Looks like I lost this file. I'll make an other one later.

Step 4: Watering Can

Clean a screw top wine bottle and print the shower.
Fill the bottle with water, screw the part and water your plant... it's that simple.

Step 5: Mug

Here is a cool and simple beer mug!
Just print the handle,top of the handle facing the heat table. There should be almost no support material.
It fits on 2.25'' jars, 4 treads standard. (spaghetti sauce classic container)

Step 6: The Mighty Tin Can Dumbbell

Step 7: Spill Proof Paint Brush Cleaner

Same old pattern : print, fill the 2.5'' jar halfway with clean water and screw. The cone inside stops the water from dripping out of the container in the case of an accident. 

Step 8: Orange Juicer

A cool juicer you just screw on a standard glass jar. Modern Upcycling.

Make sure you have the good jar. The opening should a standard 4 fillets lip, 66mm of diameter.
Most spaghetti sauce jars are this size. Just print and screw! This baby will rip your oranges in seconds.
I suggest you use food safe extrusion material.

Step 9: The Bird HOUSE

Oh my god, I almost forgot this one! 

Open a used 4 inch diameter tin can on both sides. Use a normal can opener, the ones that leave the lip intact.
Print both front and back part. Remove support.
Nail or screw the back part unto a tree or a wall about 1 to 3 meters above ground to attract eastern bluebirds.
More models for different type of birds will come.
I suggest to use ABS with a FDM machine to have a good clip!

Step 10: Garage Organizer

Customizable hardware containers for perforated boards ;) 

Step 11: Snow Globe

No fillets for this one, just a clip. The jar you use will still need its original lid. I used a nice and round honey jar that I filled with water and added aluminum sparkles for the snowflakes. You can find that in any craft shop. I inserted and glued a model of Hoover tower on the inside part of the lid and screwed everything together tightly, leaving a little bit of air. Air is important otherwise it wont mix the snowflakes!

Print the base and ad a notification on it if you want (a month in San Francisco, for example). 
If your jar was 2.25'' of diameter, everything should fit perfectly.

Step 12: Rain Catcher!

If your ceiling is leaking, you will enjoy this one. It is a funnel that you can insert on a masson jar. No fillets involved. What is great is that you can use the lines from the masson jar to see the quantity of water the rain catcher caught! A masson jar lid is a little bit larger than 2.5''.

Step 13: Piggy Bank!

My favorite one!

You need a big jar for this one. 2.75'' diameter. This time, standard 6 treads fitting.  I will try to make more sizes available.
-Print the lid,
-Print the legs
-Screw the nose
-Glue the legs depending of the position of the nose. Use hot glue or super glue.

Step 14: Crosstitch Vase

A vase you do needlepoint on! 
This one fits on most olive jars. 2.25'' standard 4 treads. 

Step 15: Your Turn!

Help the family grow! Print some stuff that upcycles standard containers and celebrate creativity with project RE_.

Make It Real Challenge

Participated in the
Make It Real Challenge



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    94 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Awesome!!! I cant wait to be at home to print!! :)


    3 years ago

    Awesome project...problem is some poor fellow don't have 3D printers or any fancy tools...we only have sweat tools and manual labor :)

    What materials are you using that are "food safe" ? Most filament suppliers in the US state that their PLA (the biodegradable filament) is not food safe.

    Makerbot- "we do not recommend our materials as food safe and they should not come in contact with mouths. However, these are non-toxic plastics that are absolutely safe for skin contact."

    So while non-toxic these should not be used as juicers/cups/food contact in anyway. Also, if an extruder is used with any died filament/other filament it contaminates all other prints. I have still found the only way to have food safe objects is by casting my prints in food safe silicon/resin. If you have any links to a food safe filament distributor, please share. Otherwise I would consider this instructable dangerous to people's health if they tried to use these on home 3d printers.

    That what I call RE_cycling !!! HAD to be said... Great instructable Thanks!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Ingenious!!!! I don't want to buy the machine that makes these. I would buy some of the pieces such as:
    The juicer
    The one you made that looks like a wide funnel (roof leaks was the reference)
    The paint brush one I really really really want.
    The plant water bottle...that is great.
    Ok so now you need to make them and sell them....

    8 replies
    Samuel BernierToffy

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Ok, I need to think of this more seriously. It's true that 3D printers aren't affordable yet. My idea was to get them 3D printed to the closest spot from the customer's home. Use FabLabs and hacker spaces as local factories and illiminate shipping cost and tooling. I havent built the network yet. Are you near a big city?

    ToffySamuel Bernier

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes I am in San Diego County. Foreign words to me are FabLabs and Hacker Spaces...??? LOL. You do have an excellent product (and I voted for one else) But that is besides the point. You can market these items, or hook-up with a website to do it that way.
    I genuinely love your ideas for Recycling glass jars and bottles. I thought of another one last night, and b4 I could get it on the site I got interrupted and not cant remember what it was....And what is the items made out of...rubber, plastic, polycarb....? Dishwasher safe, (no distortion or melting) or Hand wash only. I am just so curious. You have such good ideas. Thanks....Roni

    Samuel BernierToffy

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    He is on Instructables. He uses the name Lamedust :

    Very cool dude

    amartySamuel Bernier

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Your design and products are really amazing.Simple and most important FUNCTIONAL!As of your ideas of using FabLabs/hacker spaces... that would definitively be interresting.There is a company called Techshop that is trying to thrive on the DIY trend/3D printing and seems to be present in san Diego and heading to NYC(where i live).I've been trying to wrap my head around ideas how to use 3d printing in africa (where i am originally from) where this kind of simple products are sought and usually infamously expensive/or simply nonexistent.I do believe if in the USA 3d printing is a huge phenomena in 3rd developed countries it's going to be as big as bringing electricity to communities.But maybe i am a dreamer.We'll see.

    Samuel Bernieramarty

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    That's great! I live in Montreal, but I have a membership at the San Francisco Techshop. Every city should have one! I have a friend called Bilal Ghalib who's job is to start Hacker Spaces and Fab Labs in Africa. It is a great success.

    amartySamuel Bernier

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your answer.I went checking Fab lab international website and as you said they are very active and successful in Africa(south Africa like always pioneer, Ghana,Benin..) but nothing so far in Congo (that's where i am from) . I'll be really interested to get in touch with your friend Bilal Ghalib or anybody in charge of Africa at Fab Lab.I'll drop my contact and mails through instructables private message.Thks.

    Hey -- what license are your models released under? If they are a commercial-friendly license then other makers could start selling them online (if not locally). I run a print shop on Etsy to 3D print for those who don't yet have a printer, and I'd love to manufacture these too.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    There are 3 types of ideas: Those that people look at and say "Gee, that's great!", those that people look at and say "I wish I had thought of that." and those that people look at and say "Gee... I could have thought of that".

    The last type are the greatest ideas. They're also the most difficult to conceptualize, the simplest and most elegant in body and because the concept has never been thought of before, very few are creative enough to imagine them.

    Yours is a new and original idea, a great concept and a beautifully polished execution. Congratulations on your award.

    Now, I'm off to make a few coffee can bird houses.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    i love the simplicity in your 3d printer on the first page, is that one you have made or is it commercial, if you made that could you possibly make an instructable or upload the blueprints thatd be awesome thanks

    2 replies
    zaronasSamuel Bernier

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    yep just got done looking through your profile youve got some cool stuff
    but sadly affordable isnt free which is what affordable is for a unemployed 16 year old