Wash Plastic: Washing Machine
Different steps are necessary to make plastic clean. First is the prewashing after the plastic can be shredded, but it will still contain some oils, glue remains or even paper. To get rid of this we need water, soap, heat, and friction. Building a machine, which can do all of this takes time and costs a lot of money. So instead we are going to use a washing machine. It is accessible, cheap and integrates with a few modifications perfectly in an existing sand filter system. —
Step 1 - Why a washing machine?
Step 2 - Get your materials
- a 120 liter HDPE barrel
- a washing machine with a rather big drum capacity
- a sand filter 👉 https://community.preciousplastic.com/how-to/wash-plastic-sand-filter-
- 1” 24V solenoid valve
- flexible pipes (also according to the sand filter)
- relay 240V
- 240V to 24VAC Trafo
- 3 Switches
- cables etc.
Step 3 - Removing everything we don’t need
Step 4 - Modifications on the machine
First, attach the solenoid valve to the drum inlet and tighten it well. Here we will later connect the water pump.
Second, we need to connect to a signal from the machine to control when the pump will turn on and off, so it doesn’t have to run nonstop. In this case, we found the signal in a cable going to the machine’s small solenoid valve. Split the cable and connect your own.
❗Careful here, this signal can be 220Volt! 💀
Now we guide out the cables from the valve and signal so we can connect it later to our electronics box. Once that’s done we cut a hole in the lid of the machine and put it back on.
Step 5 - Electronics
What we are doing is:
The main switch which turns on/off everything, this means we also lead the power cable from the washing machine into this box. We have a switch that changes the state of the pump between always on and on on-demand. When the pump turns on, also the solenoid valve needs to open, so we reach that with a 220V to 24VAC transformer, which also interacts with the relay. It doesn’t open when the pump is in the function always on. I also moved the electronics from the pump into my box, to keep everything together.
If you also have a Pre-Washing Station with a heated water barrel going, then you should also move the PID controller and a switch for it into this box.
❗Again to emphasize, this is not a professional setup and you should act with care and knowledge.
Step 6 - The washing bag 1
Step 7 - The washing bag 2
Step 8 - Put everything together
Step 9 - Run your washing system
Step 10 - Turn it into something new!
Though as mentioned this is not finished development, but already works and can give you a good starting point. Feel free to test and modify and share back if you find other good solutions!
❗Be extra careful with the electronics as everything runs on 220 Volts and you have to deal with a lot of water.❗
But if everything works you have a very efficient system to process large amounts of dirty plastic for your workspace.
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