re:3D, a social enterprise aiming to decimate the cost and scale barriers to 3D printing, has delivered the first Gigalab to Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Supported by funding from the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, this retrofitted shipping container manufacturing lab contains hardware to process plastic waste to be transformed into functional goods using a Gigabot X2 3D printer. The Gigalab also serves as a mobile workspace currently connected to the Engine-4 Foundation via shore power to support community-driven innovation.
“The Engine 4 Foundation and its innovation lab, in collaboration with the company re:3D, envision the use of Gigalab as a platform to foster community-driven innovation. By utilizing 3D printing technology with recycled materials, they envision exploring potential projects centered around agrotechnology as a part of future research and development endeavors. This collaboration is poised not only to advance technological solutions in agriculture but also to promote sustainable practices that are crucial in the face of climate change. Through the amalgamation of community involvement, cutting-edge technology, and an emphasis on sustainability, they aspire to create a positive impact on the environment, establishing a precedent for future eco-conscious technological endeavors,” said Luis Torres, Founder of Engine 4.
The Gigalab is climate-controlled and insulated. The re:3D team is also working with safety leaders to ensure the layout and operations are optimized with the operator in mind. Final construction is underway, and a formal demonstration is expected in June 2024, during which re:3D designer, Michael C. Pujols Vázquez, will test waste on the island for printability using designs made in collaboration with Puerto Rican communities.
“re:3D’s Gigalab is a significant step towards innovative community solutions by repurposing plastic waste through 3D printing technology, crucial in Puerto Rico where waste management is a challenge. This initiative fosters sustainability and innovation, addressing local issues and setting a model for other regions with similar challenges. As a proud member of the design team at re:3D, the Gigalab allows me to turn creative visions into tangible solutions, positively impacting the community. The collaborative environment at The Engine 4 Foundation amplifies this mission, aiding the development of community-centric, technologically advanced, and environmentally responsible solutions. This setup is a gateway for exploring projects aimed at enhancing local sustainability. By merging creativity with action, I am well-placed to inspire change, lead impactful projects, and drive innovation aligned with community needs and environmental sustainability,” said Michael C. Pujols Vázquez.
The final steps include coating the Gigalab with a special paint to reflect heat, installing lettering to the container, and optimizing the workspace for efficiency. In anticipation of the formal launch, Michael has been designing and 3D printing goods using a recycled PET pellet. re:3D is also receiving suggestions/introductions to manufacturers in Puerto Rico seeking a more sustainable option to reuse their waste locally, as well as suggestions for objects that should be 3D printed from ground-up plastic flakes. Suggestions can be emailed to email@example.com.