Tipster Jean-François Allie points us at a couple of very interesting projects that exploit 3D fabbing in a way we hadn't considered: ReFabbing!
The idea springs from observation of tremendous waste deposits of unused manufactured gear. For example, what happens with that old toothbrush, cell phone or other non-functional plastic thingy? They get thrown into the trash, often in a non-recyclable way.
The Meta-Morphose and MetaCycle projects have a very different idea. They propose ways to create a "second life" for these objects by ReFabbing. These objects are non-functional - for their original purpose only! They are still solid objects with some capabilities. Here's what happens:
Create ideas for reuse. This is done by social networking using the Meta-Morphose service. Common object descriptions and images are uploaded and reuse ideas are socialized. Sometimes (maybe often, we'll see) the ideas require extra parts added to the object for new functions.
Where do these extra parts come from? Common 3D print services!
They envision a service where you could look up your non-functional object, select a new use for it, press a button and then wait for the necessary added parts to arrive. When they do, simply snap them together and you have revitalized your broken object. This movie illustrates how it could work.
This is still at the experimental stage, but we believe this could form an important recycling layer in the future, especially once 3D printers are commonly found in homes.