Technologies usedCasting & moulding Metal working tools CNC milling
-What’s the project story?
After the earthquake in 2016 which damaged many villages in the West cost of Ecuador, the University Yachay Tech decided to participate to the solidarity support by using the competencies and knowledge of the school. They launched a contest to offer to victims solutions designed by teams of students. With 7 friends, we won the first prize with the idea of building a machine to recycle plastic so that people can recover by making and selling plastic objects. During a year, we got a financial support from the University which enabled us to build a machine in 5 months inspired by Precious plastic but adapted to our local ressources. If the design and development of the machine was a success, we spent more time to design plastic objects that can be sold. After a year, the school didn’t extend their financial help so 4 members left the project. With the 3 remaining we had the idea of building plastic trash that can be used by the University to encourage and enable people of sorting their waste. Indeed, in addition to the design of objects, we faced the challenge of finding clean and appropriate plastic. We are now in a testing phase to test the interest of plastic objects and the type and quality of plastic that we can gather and use.
-How the workshop was useful ?
We discovered the Fablab during the tour of the Cuidad Yachay we got when we arrived in the University. When we won the prize, we immediately though to work there and it was a great idea : the team guided us from the design to the production of the machine. They also supported us in the investigation part. They offer us the access and the support so that we can make this social project come true.
-What’s the project’s greatest success so far?
We had two successes. First, thanks to our team complementary specialities (physics, maths, nano technologies, …) and the Fablab team, we succeeded to design and to build the machine in a record time. Then, the difficulties we got to collect clean and sorted plastic and to create plastic objects created the opportunity, with the plastic trash, to start sensitizing students about recycling. The impact we have is not yet the one we imagined but still it is a good one :-)
-What’s your greatest failure(s)& lesson(s) so far?
Each step was a step into the unknown where we learnt a lot (technically and personally) with an iterative process.
-What’s your vision for the project & next steps?
Our objective is to test our project of transforming plastic waste in plastic trash to sort waste in the University during a semester. If we succeed to get better plastic quality and if the use of trash is confirmed, we are already in discussion to sell a final version to cities in the damaged coast. We are involved in a program with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network to get contacts and ideas for the next steps.
-How can anyone interested can contribute to the project?
We are looking for ideas to produce plastic objects that can be sold and to find a way of getting a low-cost mold and efficient and safe lubricant. Of course, we will be pleased to exchange with you about your experience in such machine or recycling experience!