3DBear Recycler Blog - Paul's Reflections - Entry #1

“He wanted me to build a machine.”

You should know right off that this is a long story, but I hope you'll find it interesting. There is enough of it, that I figured by breaking it up I could make a reasonable blog, talking about resources, DIY, dreams, and engineering. So I'll start this off by talking about how my buddy and I started working on the 3DBear recycler.

I'm Paul, and I became a student of engineering, because I was tired of watching poorly made and badly designed things break down, and become trash. It broke my heart to know so little about materials like the plastics that are accumulating in our oceans, and what to do about them. So I went back to school. The Arcada University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Finland has a program in material science, an engineering degree, so I spent the summer brushing up on my math, and tested in. I met Janne my first day at the school and we got along right away, talking about mechanics, and 3D printing, and possibilities.

Once I got started there I learned loads of reasons that things are worse than we thought they were, and loads of reasons that we can't do anything about it; but I wanted more, I wanted to know about the things that haven't been done yet, and the basics that could be used to develop new methods. So I applied for funding for a research trip, I wanted to better understand waste accumulation. So I went to Bali and convinced local villagers to participate in an ecological project where waste was collected and I did my best to see how quickly it was accumulating and what was being done about it.

 A pic of me sorting plastic waste during the Bali Ecological project

A pic of me sorting plastic waste during the Bali Ecological project

The project was a success. I got good data, and I learned a lot of practical skills in the process. Additionally I got the attention of a startup called 3DBear, they wanted to meet me to discuss an opportunity with them. Kristo Lehtonen, one of the founders, strode into the coffee shop where I had agreed to meet him. He is a striking sort of guy, his smile lights the place up and he seems to have an unlimited optimism, traits that are more common in my homeland of California than here in Finland. 

I noticed immediately that nothing was small or commonplace with him. Instead it was overarching vision and seizing this very moment. Usually I find that sort of thing a little cheesy, but when Kristo tells you about it, you can almost see it. So he told me 3DBear was all about changing the world starting with education, and I am all about that, but he went on. 

He wanted me to build a machine. An ecological device that would transform waste plastic into 3D printing filament. 3DBear was scouting both Janne and I to make something new and interesting. I was processing his plan just fine until he said something that threw me off. He said once Janne and I finish building the machine, the entire project goes open-source.

Open-source.

Now that guy who was tired of watching poorly made and badly designed things break down, me; well that guy knew for sure that companies don't invest in open-source. I also knew that startups, and 3DBear was a startup that was two or three months old, startups don't make investments in projects like this. But Kristo was adamant, he and his cofounders were set on doing more than just "changing the world", they wanted to do it responsibly.

So I hope you can understand that I had no choice in the matter. I was working with people who honestly wanted to do the right thing, and had assembled a team with the right skills and passion to meet those goals. I was making accessible technology that changes the way we look at waste. And I was working with one of my best friends. I could not be more grateful of the opportunity, and I have zero regret.

It has been a year, and the project is online, so come and check it out. 

I'll be blogging here, to talk about next steps, to talk about how the recycler can be used, to relate behind the scenes stories, and hopefully, to inspire you and those you know to redefine words like trash, waste, and possible.

 Imagine a more flattering pic of Janne and I, can't do it can you?

Imagine a more flattering pic of Janne and I, can't do it can you?

What would you like to know about the project? 

Write to me at Paul (at) 3dbear.fi   with suggestions, questions, etc.

And don't forget to check out the recycler page and our open source files!

Press release 29th November 2017: over one million in financing for 3DBear

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Miljoonasijoitus suomalaiseen koulutusteknologiaan – Esko Aho neuvonantajaksi

- 3D-teknologiaan erikoistunut 3DBear-startup kerää vauhtia kansainvälistymiseen

 Pedagogy Specialist Junyi Sun at 3DBear's stand at Slush

Pedagogy Specialist Junyi Sun at 3DBear's stand at Slush

Tiedotusvälineille 29.11.2017

Helsinkiläinen koulutusteknologian startup 3DBear on kerännyt yli miljoonan euron rahoituksen. Samalla 3DBear teki suomalaista koulutusteknologiahistoriaa olemalla ensimmäinen kotimainen kouluille palveluita myyvä edtech-yritys, joka on saanut yli miljoonan euron rahoituksen ja venture capital -sijoituksen Yhdysvalloista.

Startupiin sijoittivat Venture Capital -rahasto Rethink Education VC New Yorkista, Keski-Pohjanmaan Kirjapaino Oyj, Baswaren hallituksen puheenjohtaja Hannu Vaajoensuu sijoitusyhtiönsä kautta, yksityissijoittaja Tero Lehtonen ja yhdysvaltalainen koulutusteknologian huippuosaaja Mitch Weisburgh. Yhtiön nykyisistä sijoittajista rahoituskierroksella olivat mukana Spinverse Group, brittiläinen enkelisijoittaja Glyn Eggar, SSH:n toimitusjohtaja Kaisa Olkkonen sekä Tekesin entinen pääjohtaja Veli-Pekka Saarnivaara.

”Tämä rahoitus mahdollistaa meille tuotekehityksen skaalaamisen sekä kansainvälistymisen isommilla resursseilla. On ollut huikeaa huomata, miten hyvin suomalaisten opettajien kanssa kehitetty koulutusteknologia ja pedagogiset ratkaisut toimivat esimerkiksi Yhdysvalloissa”, toteaa 3DBearin toimitusjohtaja Kristo Lehtonen.

Rahoituskierroksen yhteydessä 3DBearin uutena neuvonantajana aloittaa entinen pääministeri ja Nokian entinen johtokunnan jäsen Esko Aho. Hän tulee auttamaan 3DBearia kansainvälistymisessä.

”Sijoitimme 3DBeariin, koska näemme, että tarve markkinoilla on ilmeinen ja kasassa on huipputiimi, joilla on hyvät näytöt”, sanoo toimitusjohtaja Vesa Pihlajamaa Keski-Pohjanmaan Kirjapaino Oyj:stä.

3DBear on ohjelmisto ja verkkoalusta 3D-tulostuksen ja lisätyn todellisuuden (AR) hyödyntämiseksi opetuksessa.  Se on saatavilla kaikkialla Yhdysvalloissa Junior Library Guildin kautta. Suomessa 3DBearin ohjelmistoa käyttää yli 100 koulua ja kirjastoa.

3DBear on käynyt läpi opetusteknologian alan parhaan eurooppalaisen yrityskiihdyttämön xEdun. Yrityksen kasvun ovat mahdollistaneet Tekesin, Finnveran ja Teknologiateollisuuden 100-vuotissäätiön rahoitukset. 3Bear on kehittänyt tuotteitaan yhdessä lukuisten koulujen kanssa Suomessa ja Yhdysvalloissa sekä muun muassa Espoon kaupungin KYKY-yhteiskehitysprosessissa ja Opetushallituksen innovaatiohankkeissa.

3DBear on tavattavissa Slushissa torstaina 30.11. osastolla C1.

Lisätietoa:

Kristo Lehtonen, toimitusjohtaja, 3DBear Oy
+358 40 8032638
kristo(at)3dbear.fi

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Press release 29th November 2017: 3DBear raises over one million US venture capital -backed financing – former Prime Minister of Finland as Advisor

Helsinki-based edtech software company 3DBear Ltd has raised over one million euros of seed funding. Investors are New York -based Rethink Education VC, a publicly listed media and publishing company Keski-Pohjanmaan Kirjapaino Oyj, chairman of the Board of Directors of Basware Hannu Vaajoensuu through his investment company, angel investor Tero Lehtonen and an edtech investor and founder Mitch Weisburgh. From current investors Spinverse Group, Glyn Eggar, Kaisa Olkkonen and Veli-Pekka Saarnivaara made additional investments.

“This investment enables the scaling up of our R&D and implementation of our internationalization strategy. It has been incredible to see how well educational technology and pedagogy developed in Finland has worked in the US for example”, says Kristo Lehtonen, CEO of 3DBear.

Former Prime Minister of Finland and former Member of the Executive Board of Nokia, Mr. Esko Aho has started as an Advisor for 3DBear. He will help in expanding business abroad.

”We invested in 3DBear because we recognized the demand for its product, the strength of the team and their execution ability”, says Vesa Pihlajamaa, CEO of Keski-Pohjanmaan Kirjapaino Oyj.

3DBear is an online learning tool and platform for 3D printing and augmented reality (AR). It is available all over the US via Junior Library Guild.

3DBear has been incubated from the best education technology accelerator in Europe, xEdu. The growth of the company has been enabled by funding from Tekes, Finnvera, and Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation. 3DBear has been co-developing its products in schools around Finland and US, as well as in KYKY-process by the city of Espoo, Finland and in national innovation initiatives funded by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

3DBear has a booth at Slush on Thursday 30th of November in area C1.

For more information:

Kristo Lehtonen, CEO, 3DBear Oy

+358 40 8032638

kristo(at)3dbear.fi

www.3dbear.fi

..

Press release 29th November 2017: 3DBear raises over one million US venture capital -backed financing – former Prime Minister of Finland as Advisor

Helsinki-based edtech software company 3DBear Ltd has raised over one million euros of seed funding. Investors are New York -based Rethink Education VC, a publicly listed media and publishing company Keski-Pohjanmaan Kirjapaino Oyj, chairman of the Board of Directors of Basware Hannu Vaajoensuu through his investment company, angel investor Tero Lehtonen and an edtech investor and founder Mitch Weisburgh. From current investors Spinverse Group, Glyn Eggar, Kaisa Olkkonen and Veli-Pekka Saarnivaara made additional investments.

“This investment enables the scaling up of our R&D and implementation of our internationalization strategy. It has been incredible to see how well educational technology and pedagogy developed in Finland has worked in the US for example”, says Kristo Lehtonen, CEO of 3DBear.

Former Prime Minister of Finland and former Member of the Executive Board of Nokia, Mr. Esko Aho has started as an Advisor for 3DBear. He will help in expanding business abroad.

”We invested in 3DBear because we recognized the demand for its product, the strength of the team and their execution ability”, says Vesa Pihlajamaa, CEO of Keski-Pohjanmaan Kirjapaino Oyj.

3DBear is an online learning tool and platform for 3D printing and augmented reality (AR). It is available all over the US via Junior Library Guild.

3DBear has been incubated from the best education technology accelerator in Europe, xEdu. The growth of the company has been enabled by funding from Tekes, Finnvera, and Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation. 3DBear has been co-developing its products in schools around Finland and US, as well as in KYKY-process by the city of Espoo, Finland and in national innovation initiatives funded by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

3DBear has a booth at Slush on Thursday 30th of November in area C1.

For more information:

Kristo Lehtonen, CEO, 3DBear Oy

+358 40 8032638

kristo(at)3dbear.fi

www.3dbear.fi

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Press Release: Recycler

3DBear and Arcada University built a revolutionary innovation that recycles plastic into 3D-printable filament

- Now anyone can make this open source device themselves, and they can make old plastic toys new again

 

Press release 28th November 2017

 

3DBear, a startup in Helsinki, has created a plastic recycler that produces 3D-printable filament, in cooperation with Arcada University of applied sciences. The complete design is open source and is available to all consumers, libraries or educational institutions around the world free of cost.

Global accumulation of plastic waste is a big environmental problem. It is estimated that around 8 million tons of plastic waste will end up in the ocean every year. 3D printing has the potential to change the situation and improve the availability of raw materials.

Now with modern recycling technology, household waste plastics or unused toys can be converted into 3D-printed dolls, building blocks, or useful items.

"From the very beginning, our vision has been that plastic is not a waste but a valuable raw material. We decided to open up our technology globally for anyone so that everyone has the chance to benefit from this innovation." says Kristo Lehtonen, 3DBear CEO.

3DBear's recycler is part of the overall move toward the digitalisation of objects that has the potential to disrupt key sectors of current markets.

"Few people buy their music from the store on a physical disk anymore. We want to offer a similar, creative channel for children and give them the tools to design and make their own toys. It also saves parents money in the long run, when there is no need to buy overpriced brand name toys." continues Lehtonen.

Combining different types of plastics in recycling is technically challenging. For this reason, the recycling of small batches of plastic is rarely technically possible or commercially sensible. In addition, the decline in oil prices has led many recycling companies to financial difficulties.

"With our recycler, small amounts of plastic material can be efficiently recycled and made into new 3D prints. Now all the information needed to make the recycler is assembled in an easy-to-use package. Hopefully, this will generate more interest from industry, too." says Mirja Andersson, principal lecturer at Arcada.

In an interesting twist, 3D printing itself also becomes cheaper and more attractive. Currently a new roll of 3D printer plastic can cost tens of euros per kilogram, raw material is one hundredth of this cost. Consequently, the recycling of 3D plastic and local production save money for consumers. At the same time, consumers no longer have to worry about old or failed prints as they can be reprocessed.

How does the recycler work in practice?

The shredded waste plastic is guided into a metal extruder where it is heated. The plastic diameter is measured with an optical sensor to ensure quality. Often, the recycled plastic is indistinguishable from the quality of virgin material.

Watch the video at www.3dbear.io/recycler

How can a recycler be made?

The file package and design instructions are freely downloadable at: www.3dbear.io/recycler

Parts are mostly standard parts and cost-effective, many parts are 3D printable. In this way anyone can build their own recycler. The prototype recycler was manufactured as a student project, and is located on the Arcada campus, in Arabianranta, Helsinki.

For more information:
Kristo Lehtonen, Managing Director, 3DBear Oy
040 8032638
kristo(at)3dbear.fi

Mirja Andersson, Principal Lecturer/ Department of Energy and Materials, AMK Arcada
020 7699570
mirja.andersson(at)arcada.fi
 

Recycler can be found at Slush on 30th November at demo booth location C.1.


3DBear
3DBear is an educational technology startup, founded in Helsinki in 2016, to help teachers and library staff use the latest technology in teaching. Their primary goal is to provide pedagogic learning modules and an online learning platform for teachers for 3D-printing and Augmented Reality (AR). 3DBear has over a hundred customer schools and libraries in Finland and the United States. www.3dbear.io



Working with the professionals: the students

We at 3DBear love to work with the professionals, and during the development of our newest app 3DBear AR we were lucky to work again with the best of the best: the students.

We have been collaborating with Kaisaniemi elementary school and few weeks back we visited with the 4th graders for few lessons.

The lesson was build up with few parts: first we went through what the augmented reality is (almost everyone knows the Pokemon Go-game). After this the students were split to pairs, and they got tablets or smartphones. The assignment was to improve the school surroundings, making it more pleasant.

When we asked the students what they like the most in their school yard, the answer was something like the swings and the climbing frames. We wanted them to think by themselves without any influence by the teacher or other authority.

IMG_0794.JPG

Later we gathered again in the classroom where students were able to show their products to others. They had created places to sit, a climbing track and even a classroom with a bed for the courtyard. Also the passing bicycle path got a disincentive to slow down fast bikers.

Innovative and creative students also developed the assignment forward: one student made a cartoon-like story where the hero ventured in augmented reality.

Same time when the kids had a good time, they learned to use their mobile devices and social participation, working in pairs and increased their creativity.

Feedback from the students is very valuable to us and it is really fun to work with them and see how they use their ingenuity.

 

Written Anna Mäki

Think Big and Achieve Bigger, a Wonderful Journey with Eight Schools

One of our greatest enthusiasm is to work with professionals who are passionate about bringing new technologies to schools. From the start of September 2016, we have been working with Hanna Niemelä, an innovative teacher from Espoo Christian School. At the moment, Hanna is leading the Pänttäyksestä Printtaukseen Project, a project co-funded by the Finnish National Agency of Education aiming at opening up new learning paths for children who will need new technologies such as 3D modeling, AR or VR skills in their adulthood.

In total, eight schools between Oulu and Espoo are on board, they represent both private and public education sectors. Different learning modules are developed to teach the new skills and they are carried out in all of the schools by the local teachers. In a bigger picture, the project intends to set an example for schools in Finland and around the world on the applicable methods that can be adopted in teaching latest technologies to the future generation.

junyilta.jpg

On September 5th, we went on a trip to Oulu Christian School with Hanna. There the local teacher Samuel Halonen was giving a course themed create your favorite board game piece. In the class, students formed groups and learned to use Tinkercad modeling program to execute their ideas and inspirations. During the design process, the students exhibited great enthusiasm and engagement, and were even more excited about presenting their final works in front of the class.

While gathering course feedback, Samuel Halonen commented: “It was not just my students that got excited about the topic, so did my co-workers who got involved. I believe everybody has obtained a share of encouragement. The lesson was clear instructed; and of course 3D modeling and printing can be simple, useful and fun.”

From the start of 3DBear’s journey, we have been working hard to help our teachers in taking the terror out of teaching new technologies. We believe that many students will take on jobs that do not exist at the moment but will emerge in the future. We are very thrilled to be an accelerator in achieving this great task.

Written by Junyi Sun
3DBear Pedagogy Specialist