Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis


Mechanical Engineering (MECH)

First Advisor

Dr. Brendan Smith


This project aims to assist the community of El Cercado in the Dominican Republic in turning their plastic waste into useful products. The design team developed a first iteration shredder, injector, and aluminum mold which future design teams could further iterate in order to make products out of waste plastic. Different products were researched to ensure that they can be sold or used in the community. The goal of producing these items is to stimulate economic activity in the community by creating economic opportunity. The design shall also be sustainable in three ways. It shall reuse plastic waste while also ensuring that the energy used is sustainable. Additionally, it shall be designed to have long term impact in the community. The first iteration machines were modified versions of schematics published by a non-profit organization called Precious Plastic. The design team borrowed a shredder from LA Precious Plastic for experimental testing, which successfully shreds the plastic waste into small pieces. For the team’s shredder, all of the metal, all of the acrylic, the motor, and the reducer were bought, and manufacturing was completed on the teeth, spacers, shaft, and partial casing for the team’s shredder. For testing on the first-iteration injector, plastic chips were melted and injected into a mold. For the shredder, future teams should first find the optimal motor, and then design the parts in the following order: teeth, spacers, comb, motor, reducer, bearing, base, housing, hopper. Better heating and increased pressure are two clear paths that would lead to a more effective injector and ultimately expand the amount of plastic that can reach the mold.