The extruder takes plastic flakes of any combination of colors through the hopper and spits out a stream of plastic, like a big Play-Doh extruder. This allows me to produce consistently colored plastic for more professional-looking products. I will still be able to get the cool confetti look (below) but now can make solid colors as well, without worrying about collecting recycling material of the exact same color.
Some people have been experimenting with the extruder as a way to create filament for 3D printers as well. I am not planning to do this, as I would prefer to work on production-oriented solutions made from molds. I believe 3D printers are best suited to complex prototyping work which does not fit my project well.
Photo: Precious Plastic
In addition to that grant funding, bringing me to a total of $7,000 I just received another $500 from a family member who thought the project is cool! The result: A whopping total of $7,500 so far, $4,500 of which has been earmarked for machines alone.
And one more quick update: the shredder has been completed and is in the mail! Should be here by early next week. I'll be working with the local bike shop soon to figure out a way to modify that exercise bike to send a chain up to the shredder input. Then it's mostly bracket building for the shredder. I'm very excited!