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[Engineering] Precious Plastic I- Research

One of the projects that I've benchmarked for the Penguin Village Project is, of course, the Gwangju Penguin Village, but there is--in fact--one more project that I wished to benchmark from long ago, which is a project named Precious Plastic.


Precious Plastic, an international project initiated by environment activist Dave Hakkens, combines the skill of an engineer and the genius of an artist to produce beautiful products from melted plastic. The project mainly uses four of the different machines below--all of which have been specially designed for the aim of recycling.

The shredder (leftmost) cuts down plastic into small bits, where they are either extruded into a thin filament (second left), injected into a mould (second right), or pressed into a sheet with the press machine. (rightmost). All of these are then milled to have smooth surfaces and clean edges, which are desirable qualities of a product.

If you are thinking that nothing can remedy plastic into beautiful products, see some of the examples below that were produced with only the four machines above.

More can be seen in the website:

Ever since I saw this website, I was utterly shocked at the ingenuity of this solution to the plastic problem, and I made numerous attempts at participating in this project myself.

2019 October, I tried contacting Precious Plastic Shanghai and Slovenia (I believe the headquarters are in Slovenia?) if I could set up a Precious plastic workspace in Jeju Island, but the plan failed unfortunately due to lack of budget.

2019 December, I visited Bangkok with my parents, and noticed in the Precious Plastic Bangkok workspace's Instagram account that they will be holding a workshop right when I am at Bangkok! I attempted to participate in the workshop during my family trip, but I couldn't because we just didn't have time.

2020 March, I found that there actually were several precious plastic workspaces in Seoul, but COVID struck.

But 2020 October, I came across this topic while conversing with someone in MIT that I recently befriended, and he asked me, "Then why don't you make it yourself?"

I felt as if I was hit hard in the back of my head. Why didn't I think of making the machines by myself? After all, I have all the relevant knowledge from physics, and eventually, the end goal of leaning is to apply it in real life!

Thankfully, many of the machines were open-source, which meant that I was able to gain Precious Plastic's blueprints which were based on years of expertise and trial and error.


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