Last January at CES, former Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am, now chief creative officer of 3D printing company 3DSystems, teased a printer that could make objects out of recycled plastic. Today 3DSystems officially announced the EKOCYCLE Cube, a consumer 3D printer that uses filament partly comprised of recycled plastic bottles. It will sell in the second half of 2014 for $1,199.
However, this doesn't mean users can recycle their own plastic bottles right into filament. Rather, consumers must purchase filament from 3DSystems, which is partially comprised of recycled bottles. 3DSystems hasn't yet specified a price for the filament.
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The EKOCYCLE Cube has a print resolution of 70 microns, which is on the finer end of average for recent consumer-level 3D printers. It can print objects up to 6 inches cubed in volume and has two extruders for multi-color printing. The Cube also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Buyers will receive 25 specially created print designs in the fields of fashion, music and tech, selected by will.i.am.
The special filament is 25 percent made from recycled 20-ounce PET plastic bottles. 3DSystems' spokeswoman Alyssa Reichental told us that it's difficult to get a high-quality material out of entirely recycled materials.
The filament comes in red, black, white and something called "natural, which they haven't shown yet. 3DSystems describes this selection as a "limited curated color scheme." Reichental told Tom's Guide that the filament is highly durable and flexible.
The printer is the latest in the EKOCYCLE brand, a line of consumer products made from recycled materials that was created by will.i.am and The Coca-Cola Company.
The design of the EKOCYCLE Cube is based on 3DSystems' own Cube series, specifically the Cube 3 that costs $999 and is set to start shipping later this month. The main difference is that the EKOCYCLE Cube will only print in the special partially recycled filament.
"3DSystems and will.i.am were really passionate about the idea of a 3D printer where all you could do was EKOCYCLE...It's kind of about the lifestyle," Reichental told us. She added that 3DSystems has no current plans to do make a printer that can use both recycled and standard filament, though she left open the possibility in the future.