We missed this one earlier this year, but it’s still a terrific idea: The Filabot is a “plastic filament maker”. The idea is straightforward, obvious when you think about it – and necessary.
Any home 3D printer will tell you they end up with many unusable prints, perhaps due to printer failure of some kind, or perhaps the object is one of many iterations developed on the journey to the final version. What does one do with all these items? We keep ours in a box or on display for visitors, who are fascinated even seeing failed prints.
But now there’s another option. Filabot will grind your used prints, leftover short lengths of filament and any plastic scraps you may have lying around and melt it through a heated extruder into a brand new filament. It’s 3D printer recycling!
The Filabot can produce either 3.0 or 1.75mm filament from leftover ABS, PLA or even HDPE from milk jugs (just ensure you’ve used the milk first, please!) In fact, the Filabot can process HDPE, LDPE. PETE, Polymorph, Nylon, ABS, PLA, PVA and probably more once users start exploring. The device has three stages: Grinding the input material into tiny bits; extruding melted bits into a filament; finally spooling up the new filament for future use.
Filabot was a Kickstarter project that closed earlier this year, raising over USD$32,000, far past its goal of USD$10,000. Dozens of supporters will receive do-it-yourself kits or assembled Filabots. We presume with this level of interest designer Tyler McNaney will take the product to market – and it appears so by looking at the Filabot website, which will offer the device for pre-order once the Kickstarter orders are processed.
The Filabot could become a near-essential accessory for any filament-based home 3D printer, and not only for recycling plastic filament. Imagine the idea of mixing colored filament to produce new shades for specific applications.
Finally there’s a way to make that Tartan Filament!
Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!
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