PET Palace

English & (Deutsch)


PET Bottles To PET-Palace

English: Many PET-Bottles have bottoms like star-shapes. If you press them bottom to bottom these stars interlock, they can’t slide off each other. This makes it possible to build some kind of Lego-Bricks with them. Screw together 2 bottle caps back to back and you have a connector. Use water to make the bricks a bit heavier, so they interlock. The system is inspired by Bottle Lab but replaces the 3d printed parts with drilling existing caps and connecting them with little nuts and bolts.

On this page you can find some uses cases of it, construction hints and a general discussion if we can recommend working with it.

Full PET-Palace Photo Album


Connection Tech

English: You can either connect the caps to each other using M4 nuts and bolts with an E14 wenches in between or you can screw the caps on to little plates. The perfect distance for the holes in the plate is 12cm – the system works perfectly with the 3erlin Grid. You get some cardboard and use a 22 drill. This drill will make a hole in the perfect size in the cardboard to screw the neck of the bottle through it and use the cap on top to fasten the bottle to the cardboard (see below the PET-Pedestals for OSCEdays)


PET-Pedestals @OSCEdays Berlin

English: We discovered this when we needed for the OSCEdays Berlin 2018 pedestals (see their FAQ in Methodology). These pedestals were supposed to work as the overall “physical language” of the event trying to connect different projects for circularity. The picture shows an early prototype. Final pedestals are under the first picture.

The final pedestal consists of:

  • 3 nuts with bolts (M4) and 3 wenches (M14)
  • 1 piece of cardboard (cut in two pieces)
  • 9 PET bottles

that’s all : – ). It is tested to hold 4kg+ !

MORE: Here is how it looked at the event. | Here is the overall documentation of the OSCEdays Berlin 2018 event | Just the pictures from the event. | Pedestal communication concept


PET-Palace @Maker Faire Berlin 2018

English: Since we had all these bottles for the OSCEdays we turned them into Lego Bricks to set up an OSCEdays booth at Maker Faire Berlin. We won a prize for our booth. Find pictures and the german text for the program about it below.

Deutsch: Da wir die Flaschen wegen der OSCEdays schonmal hatten und wir eine modulare Bauweise hatten, haben wir sie gleich genutzt, um bei der Maker Faire-Berlin einen großen OSCEdays-Stand aus PET-Legosteinen aufzubauen. Für den Stand haben wir direkt einen Preis gewonnen. Hier ist der Ankündigungstext dafür:

“In allen deutschen Supermärkten gibt es eine Sorte Billigwasser. Die Flaschen sind zwar verschieden etikettiert und haben auch mal verschiedene Farben, sind aber alle im Prinzip gleich groß und haben den gleichen sternförmigen Boden. Hält man zwei Flaschen mit dem Boden aneinander, “rasten” sie in gewisser Weise “ein”. Damit können die Flaschen in eine Art übergroße Legosteine verwandelt werden. Die Flaschen bleiben dabei als Flaschen komplett erhalten d.h. wasserdicht und können hinterher bequem wieder ins Pfandsystem zurückgegeben werden.  

Damit liegt hier ein fertig nutzbares modulares Baussystem vor, für das sogar in Deutschland schon ein Recycling-System besteht (PET ist theoretisch fast zu 100% recycelbar). Die Etiketten lassen sich ohne Werkzeug leicht entfernen und genau so schnell und ohne Werkzeug oder etwa Leim wieder aufbringen.

Bei der Maker Faire Berlin werden Mifactori und die OSCEdays einen interaktiven Palast aus solchen Lego-Steinen errichten aus über 600 Flaschen.”


PET-Palace @Palast der Projekte

EN: We used the same bottle collection for our project “Palast der Projekte”. For this we developed the system a bit further and turned it into a shelf adding other materials and Pre-Use techniques. A description of this you can find here. [LINK PdP4] Some Images are here below.

More Info Here


Construction Discussion 1: Modularity & Pre-Use

EN: PET-Palace is a good example for hacked modularity: use things that aren’t supposed to work a modular building system as one!

And it is a good example for Pre-Use either. The bottles are recyclable and in Germany – where we made this – there is a deposit system for them in place. Before we returned them we added another in between use. For the last construction “Palast der Projekte” we also used different clips and clamps to put everything together as well as wooden beams we didn’t cut, drill or paint – they still are as they were when they came out of the hardware store.

The plates for the Lego-Bricks are made with the 3erlin Grid – which luckily was the perfect distance for stable Lego-Bricks.

More about Modularity and PET-Palace you can read here at the bottom [LINK PdP4]

[IMG Deposit Bands?]


Construction Discussion: Does It Really Work?

EN: We can’t really recommend this system. Here are some reasons for it:

  • No standard size: On first sight it looks like the bottles have all standard sizes but this is not the case. Even within the same brand sometimes the height is different. This will make the Palace unstable.
  • To fragile to scale it up to large numbers: While building one or two very stable pedestals or Lego-Bricks  is very easy it becomes a whole different thing when you try to scale this to 10 or 60. The bottles are to fragile to be used as a building material in a larger, more hectic, collaborative, complex environment.
  • Time: The work takes a lot of time. Not just the production: drilling the 3erlin Grid plates, all the caps, screwing everything together, put water in the bottles (and release it for transport), find, cut, drill cardboard, assemble the bricks or pedestals etc. If you have a lot of time you can go with it. But if you haven’t this will raise some extra issues.

But it was and is still an incredible fun project! The problems, ideas and opportunities it shows are inspiring. Collecting hundreds and thousands of plastic caps in different colours for example is fun and opens up a lot of other paths.

Because the system did not really work greatly we did not put up a detailed documentation. But if you are interested in learning more don’t be shy and send us your questions.

Not really all the same height all the time. 

Preparing Lego Bricks


“Lego Brick” Tests

Key Mifactori-Designers: Lars & Hülfe