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Making A 3D Treasure Out Of Trash

recycle-OWC-300A printer. About three keyboards. A handful of motherboards sporting cutting-edge AGP graphics ports. Oh look, a 60GB 3.5” hard drive … and I’m pretty sure that’s a PS2 Plug-sporting keyboard shoved in the back.

Obviously, I really like computers, and because of that, I’ve accumulated a cool collection of these “vintage” computer parts. While these items may not serve me any sort of practical purpose, I just can’t seem to toss them away.

I know. Typically, I have a sarcastic video game review on the OWC Blog for your reading pleasure. However, sadly I seem to have misplaced my iPhone 3GS, more than likely lost in this pile of miscellaneous electronic devices. Perhaps if I attached a Tile to it … but then I wouldn’t have a phone to search for my phone… hmm. Maybe if I recycled these devices, my phone wouldn’t get lost among them. But who could part with such historic devices!? Oh well…

Many people do opt to recycle their old devices, however, and these tossed-aside items sometimes get an unexpected second life.

I came across a really awesome project online recently. A man by the name of Kodjo Afate Gnikou, has created a 3D Printer made nearly entirely out of commonly found e-waste. Drive servos, scanner parts, and what looks like a common beige tower metal frame, complete with a washed out Windows XP key sticker on it!

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Gnikou’s goal was to create a 3D printer that was very easy to reproduce using a majority of recycled parts. And boy did he succeed, ending up with only a $100 price tag plus scrap garbage. Though printing neat, cutesy things is fine and dandy, printing something useful – such as a plastic fitting for a dishwasher or refrigerator – would still require some AutoCAD knowledge to be able to print anything precise enough for this sort of use. But it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Personally, I would print all sorts of Dungeons and Dragons figurines and dungeon walls. A 3D printer would definitely solve all of my table top needs! But there are much more important things that ideas like this can accomplish not just technologically, but also environmentally. And we here at OWC can truly relate to this eco-friendly philosophy.

With our LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Platinum facility, we try to lead by example. From water purification to powering the building with our very own wind turbine, we’ve done our best to minimize our environmental impact. So it’s easy to commend Gnikou on this awesome job of putting together a 3D Printer from nearly all trashed parts. This is a fantastic step in the right direction toward creating amazing eco-friendly things. One man’s trash is clearly another’s treasure.

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