P17432: Plastic Bottle Rope Machine


Project Summary Project Information

Project Statement

The objective of our MSD project is to design, develop and manufacture a prototype plastic bottle to rope upcycling process. The system is composed of three critical subsystems being bottle reshaping, string cutting and rope weaving. The weaving machine is to be deployed to developing countries, such as Haiti, where it will empower recycling efforts and generate income for the poorest citizens. Due to intense environmental operating conditions and budget constraints, the systems are designed to be as robust as possible while utilizing cheap common components for ease of repair. The social intentions of the project are twofold, to reduce surface waste associated with plastic bottle disposal and provide disposable income to the operator with the generation of a polymer rope project.

The project targets are to integrate the design of a current plastic string creation device into a rope generation machine. Emphasis will be placed on ease of use, operational robustness and product quality. The cumulative result is to be a functional prototype including the plans to be scaled for manufacture and implementation in the field. The design and prototype will be marketed to NGOs who emphasize in recycling empowerment and trash distribution solutions for developing nations.

Stake Holders

  • Operators
  • Purchasers of the rope product
  • Waste Management Organizations
  • Sponsors
  • Manufacturers
  • Governments
  • NGOs
Recycling Environment

Recycling Environment

Imagine RIT Proposal

There are several plastic bottle string cutters on the market, however, to our knowledge, there are no economically accessible plastic rope weaving machines. Our weaving machine design is based on a horn-gear drive which allows for continuous braiding of plastic rope from eight interchanging spools. The horn gears are concurrently driven via a bicycle chain linked to commonly found chain rings and sprocket tensioners. The system is designed such that power can be provided from a multitude of sources ranging from electric motor to hand crank in the event of electrical power disruptions. In the final machine design emphasis was placed on ease of use, operational robustness and operator safety. The plastic bottle string cutter feeds the spools that are then transferred to the weave machine. This system consists of razor cutting surfaces and vertical supports mounted to 80/20 aluminum, allowing for adjustment to a variety of bottle sizes. We have also designed an end-cutter system to slice off the ends of the plastic bottles to ensure a clean cut. The string cutter is powered by hand cranks that wrap the string onto the interchangeable spools. Bottle reshaping and cleaning will be done via water pressure using a standard hose and attachment nozzle before the bottle is sent down the process line.

Our exhibit will consist of a live demonstration of the bottle cutting and weaving process. Our weave machine has a footprint of roughly 3’ x 3’ and requires an electrical source. The cutting machine has a footprint of around 2’ x 3’ and is hand powered. Participants can take part in the exhibit by recycling their own plastic bottles and powering the hand crank to turn their plastic bottles into string. Portions of polymer rope will be distributed to the participants as a representation of the end product.

MSD Logo

MSD Logo

Imagine RIT 2017

Imagine RIT 2017

Project Name
Plastic Bottle Rope Machine for Developing Countries
Project Number
Project Family
Start Term
Fall 2016
End Term
Spring 2017
Faculty Guide
Michael Zona, mfzddm@rit.edu
Primary Customer
Erinold Frederick in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti erinoldfrederic@yahoo.fr
Secondary Customer
Sarah Brownell, sabeie@rit.edu
Sponsor (financial support)

Team Members

Koby Kubrin - Jordan Reynolds - Colin McGlynn - Albert Lin - William Hollomon

Koby Kubrin - Jordan Reynolds - Colin McGlynn - Albert Lin - William Hollomon

Member Role Contact
Koby Kubrin Lead Engineer kwk5085@rit.edu
Colin McGlynn Project Manager ctm4639@rit.edu
William Hollomon Communication wch3473@rit.edu
Jordan Reynolds Mechanical Engineer jsr1801@rit.edu
Yi Po (Albert) Lin Mechanical Engineer yxl6619@rit.edu

Table of Contents


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test with Customer Demo

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation