Recycling has become a bigger and bigger thing over the years and will be of even greater influence in the future. Not only are we trying to clean up the oceans, but this left over plastic needs a place to go. Where the current philosophy is that the separation of the household garbage happens at home and the recycling is being done by someone else, the shift is going to where the household can do the recycling themselves and create household or useful items from left over plastic at home.
This instructable is made for the TUDelft university course; TFCD
Step 1: Collect
First of all you need plastics.
If you want to make a product from recycled plastics, make sure you save all your plastic bottles, caps, buckets and more. Instead of throwing it away, make sure to keep it all together.
There are many different types of plastics, which all melt on a different temperature. The best is to use plastics from the same melting temperature.
The plastic which could be used best for the plastic tile is HDPE, this is worldwide one of the most used plastics and easy to find. Next to this it is strong, though, easy to melt, and non-toxic.
Step 2: Washing
It is very important to clean the plastic before use. When there are still solvents attached to the plastic, these solvents and impurities will cause problems in the melting by creating excess smoke and will prevent the plastic from sticking to each other.
Step 3: Cutting
After collecting all the leftover plastic, the next step is to cut it all into small pieces. Small pieces will melt easier and it helps with being able to get all the plastic into the the right shape before melting.
Cutting could be done by hand or you could use a shredder or an food processor. To cut the plastics into smaller pieces.
Step 4: Draw Shape
We are now making a tile for in the street which will replace an existing stone tile. Because of this we are using a 30x30 cm mold. The thickness will be 4 cm. The best is to create a side wall a bit higher than the thickness you want to be sure the plastic does not go over the edge.
Draw the shape on paper and calculate the right messurements.
Step 5: Cut Material
Cut the material, in this case aluminium in the right shape.
For the tile we used a 40x40cm sheet and took out small squares in the corners form 5x5cm. After you cut out the squares you can bend the sides to create a box.
Step 6: Cut Out the Top
After melting the plastic needs to be pressed into the mold and therefore you need a top, on which you can add pressure. Cut out a 30x30 cm top.
Step 7: Fix the Mold
In this case we welded the mold together on the edges.
Note; if the material you use is stiff enough, and there is no big gap between the edges you can leave it open.
Step 8: Heat Up the Oven
Heat up the oven till 200C degrees.
Step 9: Add Baking Paper
The melted plastic could stick to the mold if you put in the plastic directly, so put in baking paper to keep it from sticking, just like baking a cake ;) .
Step 10: Put in the Plastic
Take al the clean, dry and cut up plastic pieces and put them in the mold in the way you want it is your imagination that will eventually decide the outcome of the colors.
Step 11: Let It Melt in the Oven
Place the mold with the HDPE pieces in the oven. Make sure the oven does not exceed the 200C degrees, as you could burn the plastic. Now you wait, until the plastic becomes shiny
Step 12: Take It Out
After about 90/120 minutes, Depending on the thickness of your tile, take the mold out of the oven. When the plastic is melted and shiney it is ready!
Step 13: Pressure
Use the top, and place this on top of the melted plastic and press it down firmly. You can also use klamps to push the top down, and make sure the HDPE is pressed into the corners.
Step 14: Demold
When cooled down, take the tile from the mold. This could be done by turning it over. When you use baking paper this shouldn't be a problem!
Step 15: Finish
To nicely finish the tile you can use an iron or a heat gun at the end to quickly heat up sticking out elements, and press them into shape. (be careful to not burn it!)
Step 16: Ready!
The tile is ready to use! take an old tile and replace it with your new recycled HDPE tile!