Friday, January 18, 2019

Shredder and Motor Walkaround

And after that, I started shredding. Unfortunately I forgot to put keys in the coupler so that messed it up a bit. I took the shredder to the machine shop to get a key made, and brought the motor's key home to install. Ugh.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Motor works!

I've learned a lot from this project, and with the help of Ward got it all hooked up and running. The motor does pull a lot of current, but I'm hoping it will not have issues once load is put on it.

I also got a Lovejoy Coupler machined to fit the gearbox and the shredder. It has that black rubber part between the two halves, and allows the shafts to be slightly misaligned without causing bearing issues.

I took them all home and mocked them up on the table! Next is making a spacer to keep the shredder at the right height, then mounting everything up, cutting a hole in the table for plastic flakes, and mounting the controller.

More Deconstruction & Product Critiques

I have been collecting ever more broken products to recycle. Since we didn't get but one bike at the Fix-It Clinic this past weekend I ended up taking apart a Dyson vacuum there. Below I'll detail that and some of the other items I've been pulling apart. Some have been great, some have been horrible. Some have helped me learn how to efficiently disassemble products.

First up, the Dyson. I didn't get photos of this one during disassembly, but partial disassembly took approximately 2 to 3 hours. All the fasteners were hidden, and half of them were just plastic clips. This made it immensely difficult to just get the thing apart. And even when it was apart I found that the big yellow ball was a two-shot mold, which means one material was injected directly into the other, making them inextricable.

Additionally, one large portion of the main frame was created with two different types of plastic glued together. not usable. Actually, none of the yellow plastic was labeled for recycling either. Horrible.

The Eureka Maxima vacuum offered me a few parts including the red ABS head, but I didn't get to take that one apart. I believe the unknown black vacuum was the one that had a WOODEN brush roll. High five for natural materials!

The LG Model LUV300B vacuum was a treat to work on. Every bolt was easily accessible and changing a belt or even the broken motor would have been a 15 minute job. Unfortunately I got it partially disassembled, so I finished the job.

 You can see the brush motor here, held in by two or three bolts. The head cover was extremely easy to take off. There were very few plastic clips; almost everything was bolted in with Phillips head screws. The motors were large compared to the other vacuums I've taken apart. A well-made unit for sure, and probably easy to fix. Almost all the plastic pieces were marked for recycling, most being ABS or PP.

The HP Photosmart C5200 Printer lent a good amount of usable High-Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), some ABS, a little metal, and not much else. I will have to find a way to get rid of a few circuit boards from it too, of course.

This one started out looking promising. The entire outer shell was made of usable thermoplastics. I pulled the glass out of the scanner to hopefully use in a custom picture frame later- the third I've collected so far. But once I got into the printer things got grim.

The printer was very well-built with lots of metal, but part of the high build quality was also due to HP's liberal use of glass-reinforced ABS and polycarbonate (PC). Everything inside seemed to be made of the stuff, which is not recyclable as far as I'm concerned. Maybe someone could do it, but I'm not going to attempt it.

A few pieces were usable though. Here we have some POM rollers held by steel screws and unrecyclable roller carriers. The whole grey piece there is ABS as well. Below is a photo of all the larger usable pieces along with a small sample of the stuff I can't deal with, in red. I've gotten into a habit of marking things with a Sharpie to keep them straight.

Is it better to have a longer-lasting product which is less recyclable, or a more disposable product which has a higher percentage of its parts made of easily recycled stuff? I feel as if there may be a middle ground at the expense of size and weight.

Next is one product that someone from Facebook dropped off. I've gone through several vacuums from FB so far, but this the most annoying. It's a Shark brand vac. Everything is put together with either security torx screws, glue, or some form of two-shot molding. Several parts had paint or chrome plating which needs to be removed before recycling. Some parts were not labeled for recycling.

Below is the top of the canister, disassembled. You can see that out of six parts in this assembly, only three are directly recyclable as-is. I could try to strip the chrome off with oven cleaner as diecast car customizers do, but it's probably not worth the tiny piece of ABS.

Next, the canister itself. Only a small fraction of the material is actually usable.

Close-up of the screen. This had to be removed from the canister by use of a steel punch, a long piece of scrap metal, and a hammer. Anyway, the plastic was molded around the steel screen, making this piece unusable.

Here's the vacuum head with its GLUED-ON lighting windows.

No, you can't peel them off.

Wire cutter time.

Last was a Panasonic cordless land line phone from a Facebook person. I think I got more usable plastic parts off this little thing than I did the entire Dyson vacuum.

This glue might not come off without some work, though. Unfortunately construction like this greatly limits the item's disposal options.

Here is the e-waste. Quite a lot for such a small product.

 That's all the deconstruction I have for now. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Deconstructing Waste Objects & Identifying Scrap Plastics

Above: all the gears from a single Epson printer-scanner-copier. Most unmarked, but probably polyoxymethylene (POM).

While the shredder and oven work is halted I decided to keep myself busy for a couple days by disassembling some machines from the trash. At hand were an Epson printer-scanner-copier probably purchased at Target less than five years ago and a Bissel vacuum which looked about 15 years old.

With three screwdrivers and a little TV I ripped apart these two objects which people in my development had thrown out this year. I noticed that most parts were labeled for recycling, but some oddly weren't. Here are some examples of ABS plastics I got out of the pile, and photos of the identifying markings.

First up and one of the largest pieces off the vacuum was this blue brush cover. The complex stiffening ribs underneath make it hard to find information, but stuffed into one of the holes is the marker "ABS".


Next, a part of the printer. This used to hold long, thin rollers, probably to move paper. The marking here is quite obvious, and helpfully uses greater than and less than symbols to denote the plastic type. This specific one is marked >ABS KD15<. I do know that it's ABS, but the KD15 is a puzzle. I've Googled it but found no relevant results. It's probably ABS with an additive, and that additive probably isn't a toxic Brominated Flame Retardant (BFR). It may be something else toxic, but I can't find an MSDS so really have no clue.

Another smaller piece is natural colored ABS. The type is small but legible.

The printer actually had three different colors of ABS, this one being grey. I wonder why the material marker is so small when there are obviously quite large areas to potentially locate it. At about 11" (28 cm) long, there's enough real estate.

Next up was the Bissel's dust collector. This consisted of several pieces stacked on top of each other. Some pieces were ABS, like this one.

Others were polypropylene. The bottom piece, though, is a mystery. It certainly appears to be made of the same material as the one above.

But markings are elusive. I would assume it's ABS just like the other, but I can't afford to contaminate a bucket of ABS if it isn't.

  This is why it's important to mark every piece, especially pieces this large. If and when take-apart culture is more widespread, these markings will be the difference between something being turned into something else, and being sent to the landfill.


I encountered multiple plastic types as well. Here is a short list of them:

PC- Polycarbonate, I assume. Scanner light housing. The only piece of PC in the entire product. Didn't collect enough to be worth recycling it.

PP-FR- Polypropylene- Fire Resistant. Printer power supply box. Likely toxic. Trash.

PP-ND- Polypropylene ??. No idea what this means, and I don't remember what it was on.

PS-HI (aka HIPS)- Polystyrene- High Impact. Most larger printer parts. A combination of brittle PS and durable polybutadiene rubberizer, it's apparently used for many consumer products. I did find an MSDS for this and it is not listed as a possible or probable human carcinogen. Good news. I'm excited to see if this will work well for my shredder.

POM- Polyoxymethylene. Natural colored gears and small parts in printer. This was a mystery to me until I looked it up. It's a high-precision, low friction plastic with good dimensional stability. I believe that means it doesn't heat and shrink much. Most gears are not marked >POM<, but just like soda bottle caps it's just about a foregone conclusion so I'm going to go with it. I'm also excited to experiment with this one but will need many more gears to be able to make anything.

So far that's it for the deconstruction. I sent out a couple calls for plastic and machine donations. A few people have offered more printers and vacuums. The vacuums could be a pretty good source of ABS and large PP pieces. Wait 'n' see, I guess!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Motor Wiring and Shredding Table

 While I wait for the motor-to-shredder coupler (a Lovejoy coupler) to arrive at the machine shop, I stopped by at my mentor Wards' house to get help wiring the controller to the motor. The controller as an adjustable cutoff switch so I can make everything stop if the shredder binds up. Fancy.

I'm glad Ward knows what he's doing, because it's too much for me to make total sense of. Basically we are running power through an old extension cord, through the controller, and then through a reversing switch to give the motor the ability to run backward. I helped strip wires and stuff. He will poke around with it over the next couple weeks and I'll be back home to pick this stuff back up in early January.

This motor is a lot easier to haul by bike than the bike shredder! It pulls beautifully on my newly completed trailer.

And to house everything I made a table yesterday. Everything is used, repurposed, or just found in the trash, except for the screws. The paint cans show you roughly where the motor and gearbox will sit. The shredder will have a hole under it to drop plastic in a 5-gallon bucket, though the table fits two of them comfortably on a shelf made of trashed Ikea mattress support slats. The wheels and axle are from a Coleman barbecue grille so I can roll it around the garage and demonstrate it around town. I'm pretty happy with the table and will leave it unpainted to demonstrate what can be done with next to no money if you have access to tools. (Tools used: drill, screwdriver, Skil saw, miter saw, table saw, glue, clamps- although you could make it happen with just a hand drill/driver and hand saw and clamps)

There probably won't be more updates until January. I just want this to be done!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Shredder Plans Scrapped, Flipped!

This shredder cost way more than I was anticipating, and quite honestly I started with the wrong platform. It probably would have been easier to have the entire front half of the frame custom fabricated at this point.

The chain tension issues were more trouble than they were worth. We were looking down the barrel of moving the dropouts to the front of the frame, adding a shredder brace to the downtube, adding a bracket for a chain tensioner, adding another bracket for another chain tensioner, and then STILL not being confident that the flywheel would be heavy enough to not just stop when it plastic bunched up inside the shredder.

So I took the oven back over after having worked on it for a few days and took the shredder back home. If it were around town I would be tempted to use the bike trailer- in fact it's possible, if not fast. But the shop is eight miles away! It's ok. The truck needs exercise anyway.

The shredder came back with me. But not in a good way. I settled up with the shop and picked up THIS on the way home!

That's right. I'm cutting my losses. Sure, the bike might be workable within a few hundred dollars. But what if it isn't? What if I pour $600 more into it, and it still struggles? I'll shelve the bike shredder idea for a later date. With a custom front frame it might not be bad. I might even keep part of the old frame just in case.

For now, I want to do it the way everyone else has, and just start shredding.

PS- Here's a photo of the oven as it sits at the shop. I realize I didn't have a good photo of the front since the modifications. Next item for them is welding up a mold- and I still don't have a shredder.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Oven Control Box

First up was building a small shelf. I wanted to house all the accessory stuff in the area formerly occupied by an oven drawer. This conveniently has structural members running through now, so it's an ideal place to put things.

I did get my new friend Jordan to help me with the oven this time! He is also into Precious Plastic and graciously lent a hand and a camera for a few hours during this process.

I unfortunately didn't foresee so many problems mounting the thing! To get screws through the left/back side of the structure, I had to make an access hole through the rear sheet metal. First attempt was with this antique and fantastically appropriating "Sioux" brand 1/2" drill. Google the name to check out the old logo. Hint: it's got a longbow.

The 1/2" hole would have been useful if I'd had a longer screwdriver bit. But alas I did not, so I had to Dremel out a large rectangle of metal wide enough to fit my DeWalt's chuck.

Finally got the thing in after messing around trying to get those two rear screws in.

 Then came the box. I measured very carefully and conservatively, then Dremeled out a hole for the temp controller and a hole for the oven light. The controller hole needed to be widened a little later, but that's better than being too wide from the start. Dust mask because of peer pressure and probably leaded paint!

All mounted up. Two screws hold it down.

Since the controller mounts from the front unlike the switch, I had to pull all the wires out, install it, then reinstall the wires. Big pain- make sure you keep this in mind if you're building an oven!

Additionally, I seem to have lost the little metal clips that hold the controller in place. Cleaned half the garage and didn't see them so I'm wondering if they made their way to the welding shop.

On the back side I made a notch and protected the wires from abrasion with some wire insulation.

I realized there was a lot of room under the control box, so I resized a crate from the trash and mounted it. This time I mounted it with bolts from the INSIDE to avoid the access hole issue from earlier. This crate will probably hold a respirator, any extra molds, or other stuff that I need to keep with the oven.

I found a dead speedometer that came on one of the exercise bikes, so I mounted that too. It just looks cool. :)

  Last, a vinyl decal.

Stay tuned for more! I'm hoping to get the shredder back soonish, then the oven goes in to have a mold made.