Foundation University Precious Plastics Initiative (FUPPI) is a project based on the Precious Plastics program of Dave Hakkens. He has posted blueprints of a shredding machine, extrusion machine, compression machine, and an injection machine. The idea is that we can collect plastics and transform them into something; be it a pot, a top, a vase, a plate, or make it into a thread of plastic which you can manipulate into whatever you want. Foundation University, being national champions for best eco-friendly school in the Philippines, our team feels that this is a logical step forward. This is our small contribution to our school’s thrust in creating a cleaner, more livable community. The community in Banilad can benefit from this project because they will see how these machines are built and they can create something from an otherwise wasted material.
Having access to the blueprints made our team very excited, we were confident that we could build a shredder and an extrusion machine. We got what needed for building the framework from metal cut offs from the construction site in our north campus. Then came the question of the electric motor, shredding blades, and heating elements. It turns out that low RPM motors cost a lot of money… too much money for our budget. An alternative was to to get a 2-3 horsepower high speed motor and connect that to a reducer/converter to get it to turn at 40-60 RPM. This would cost us 1/3 of the price of a low speed motor. Then, we had to find suppliers for the blades and heating elements. As it turns out, there isn't one in Dumaguete. We had to find them in Manila or Cebu. Unfortunately, quotations took several days to come. We started to worry. At first we were afraid, we were petrified, thinking how we could ever build without blades and heating elements by our side. But then we spent so many moments thinking how it all went wrong, then Clint grew strong, and decided how to move along. So now we're back, we got quotes for the shredder and the heating elements. Only worry is if they can arrive in time for us to install and test before the big day in May 7.
In case the blades, heating elements and motor will not arrive in time, we have two fallback plants. The first is we will make a plastic bottle stripper; this makes a long, narrow, strip of plastic from plastic bottles. The second fallback is to melt plastic bags and mix it with sand to make “bricks”. Plastic bags and sand are two things that are quite abundant.
So, May 7th has passed. All the groups were able to show their respective projects to the community and the guests. The great thing about that event was that we got to meet with people were interested in our project. There was a couple that was very glad that we were doing the Precious Plastics. They were glad to see this project because they are also planning to do a similar project. This was great for us because this means we can share experiences and learn from each other, especially from each other’s mistakes.
Now, let us go back to reality; back to our reality that we are still missing crucial components for our machines. First, the bad news; the parts for the shredder are expensive. We mentioned that already but as it turns out, it is even more expensive that what we originally thought. We are now looking for other sources of funds so we can get those parts. But, there is some good news; our heating elements are coming in this week. When (and if…fingers crossed) that arrives, we can assemble our extrusion machine and test it.