IDDS Summit: Update 3

Here is the final update for my time at the summit. Most of the remainder of my time focused on constructing the prototype. I ended up getting assigned to this project:

Plastic extruder
Creating new things out of plastic such as objects that can be sold or 3D printing filament is possible through melting and re-shaping certain types of plastic. Participants will propose ways in which plastics present in the waste streams could be extruded and made ready to be transformed into new objects such as 3D filaments.
We focused on PET plastic which is used in the construction of plastic bottles. The  bottles are cleaned and shredded and the resulting plastic pellets can be introduced into our prototype through the hopper. It is pushed through the pipe by the power drill. At the end of the pipe there’s a nozzle and heating element. Through this process the plastic is converted from pellets to filament which can then be fed into a 3D printer. The process is very similar to how a glue gun works.
Team Photo
Team Photo
Plastic pellets get placed in the hopper and the drill pushes it along the pipe and out the end.
Plastic pellets get placed in the hopper and the drill pushes it along the pipe and out the end.
First prototype of the heating element. We took apart a soldering iron and attached it to a copper pipe with a point on the end.
First prototype of the heating element. We took apart a soldering iron and attached it to a copper pipe with a point on the end.
A team member working on the extruder nozzle.
A team member working on the extruder nozzle.
Working on the heating element
Working on the heating element
Our tools laid out.
Our tools laid out.
Part of the conference revolved around classroom lectures.
Part of the conference revolved around classroom lectures.
Our project getting filmed for local TV
Our project getting filmed for local TV
Took a break from working to have an international pot luck.
Took a break from working to have an international pot luck.
As part of the pot luck, several entrepreneurs from around Cali presented what they work on.
As part of the pot luck, several entrepreneurs from around Cali presented what they work on.
Took a break from working to have an international pot luck.
Took a break from working to have an international pot luck.
Shredded plastic bottles
Shredded plastic bottles
Photo I took just after I finished my first photography class, 1.5 hours, completely in Spanish
Photo I took just after I finished my first photography class, 1.5 hours, completely in Spanish
Our finished prototype. Several local team members will continue the project and I will try to assist from abroad.
Our finished prototype. Several local team members will continue the project and I will try to assist from abroad.
Presenting our project in a local park.
Presenting our project in a local park.

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IDDS Summit: Update 2

Time for another quick update. I’m still rather brain dead but I’m feeling a bit more energy… maybe I’m building a resistance. To continue with the format for my update from last time, I’ll post pictures and filer text chronologically.

Wednesday was absolutely exhausting. It started with several hours of lectures in Spanish, which is draining enough in English. In the afternoon, it was several hours of brainstorming for our project. Speaking and thinking in Spanish while also trying to brainstorm is a bit challenging. By 6:45 my brain had completely exhausted itself, something I’ve never felt but since having talked to several others Americans realize it’ll happen many more times. I then spent the next 45 minutes attempting to restart a car that was completely lacking gasoline.

That challenging day led into an exciting trip to visit some locations in the city of Cali.

Headed to Cali
Headed to Cali
Interesting graffiti throughout the university.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FARC
Interesting graffiti throughout the university.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FARC
Interesting graffiti throughout the university.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camilo_Torres_Restrepo
Interesting graffiti throughout the university.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camilo_Torres_Restrepo
Visiting the 3D printing lab at University of the Valley.
Visiting the 3D printing lab at University of the Valley.

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IDD Summit: Update 1

After trying to power through two attempts at a first paragraph, I’ve realized I’m absolutely exhausted after a full day of workshops – completely in Spanish. Therefore, I’m going to stick to pictures with descriptions and leave it at that as a summary of my activities.

Welcome!
Welcome!
Amy Smith of the D-Lab at MIT introducing one of the successful projects that has been developed to combat an issue in developing countries, in this case, sustainable fuel for cooking.
Amy Smith of the D-Lab at MIT introducing one of the successful projects that has been developed to combat an issue in developing countries, in this case, sustainable fuel for cooking.
For a team building and ice breaking exercise, we built containers to safety carry our eggs through two penalty kicks in football. Each team was given different starting materials and a budget and were able to purchase items such as string or tape.
For a team building and ice breaking exercise, we built containers to safety carry our eggs through two penalty kicks in football. Each team was given different starting materials and a budget and were able to purchase items such as string or tape.
...our ball, while successful in the trials, failed at the competition.
…our ball, while successful in the trials, failed at the competition.

The next day, we got placed into our groups for the next two weeks. My focus will be on how to turn plastic waste into usable material for 3D printers. We’ll interview waste pickers in the city of Cali, plan, design, and hopefully prototype a solution in the next two weeks.

After we were assigned our projects and teams for the duration of the two weeks, our teams were split up to join up with members of other teams to work in various workshops. I choose cup making...
After we were assigned our projects and teams for the duration of the two weeks, our teams were split up to join up with members of other teams to work in various workshops. I chose cup making…
... others chose brick making from newspaper, egg cartons, and other materials...
… others chose brick making from newspaper, egg cartons, and other materials…
... used cardboard to make chairs...
… used cardboard to make chairs…
... turn bottles into string...
… turn bottles into string…
...and turn a microwave into a welding machine.
…and turn a microwave into a welding machine.

Pre Colombia Update

First of all, thanks again to everyone that donated, I greatly appreciate your help!

For those that don’t know, I applied for, and received an invitation to attend IDD Summit in Cali Colombia for three weeks in June. The purpose of the summit is to investigate solutions for waste management. This will be a great opportunity to be able to apply my engineering skills to develop new appropriate technologies for combating waste. I’ll be heading out in a few days and I’ve got my bags packed and I’m ready to go!

There’s not much else to report at this point but I was asked to select which projects I’d like to work on during breakout sessions during my time in Cali and these are the three projects I selected:

Transportation carts
In his project, participants will look out alternatives to solve some of the challenges waste pickers face moving waste materials at an urban and peri-urban level with prevalence of hillside terrains. The focus of this project will be (but is not limited) to human-powered vehicles.
Rubble repurposing
Construction waste is usually an overlooked stream. In this project participants will look at possibilities for reusing construction waste. Some recovering alternatives include but are not limited to floors, bricks or construction materials.
Plastic extruder
Creating new things out of plastic such as objects that can be sold or 3D printing filament is possible through melting and re-shaping certain types of plastic. Participants will propose ways in which plastics present in the waste streams could be extruded and made ready to be transformed into new objects such as 3D filaments.

That’s all for now, I hope to have regular updates during my time at the summit so follow this blog if you’re interested in updates!