You’ve got a personal filament-based 3D printer, like a MakerBot, BFB or BotMill. You need filament to print with. What do you do? You shop online and find the best color and price and have it shipped to you. The price of filament varies considerably depending on where you’re buying, but generally the price has been gradually declining.
However, did you know that the price of ABS or PLA filament, typically ranging from USD$10-40 per pound, is quite a bit more than the “normal” form of plastic, which is in pellet form? When buying in quantity, plastic pellets are as little as USD$2 per pound. While you might not be buying in quantities able to command that low a price, if one were able to convert pellets into filament there would be savings available.
The problem is making pellets into filament. There’s a new competition on iStart to design an inexpensive machine to do just that. Put on by the Desktop Factory Competition and sponsored by the Kaufmann Foundation, MakerFaire and Inventables, the competition requires a usable design for a filament factory and will award the winner with a huge USD$40,000 reward. (Note – this competition has no relationship with the former Desktop Factory company).
Inventables will be providing small sample bags of ABS and PLA pellets for experimentation.
The device must meet a number of requirements, the most important being that the bill of materials cost must be USD$250 or less. This will be verified by judges who will attempt to construct the device using the instructions with parts sourced through normal channels.
There is no project deadline; the prize simply will be awarded to the first submission that meets the criteria.
We think this competition will spur the development of filament-making machines that could easily be a popular accessory for most 3D printer operators, particularly if the design is open sourced. We foresee makers not only reducing their production costs, but also mixing their own custom colors. Could this be damaging to existing filament suppliers? Perhaps, but most sellers also sell other items such as printer kits or parts.
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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Welcome to Fabbaloo, one of the world’s oldest online news sources for 3D printing news. We’ve been in operation since 2007, where we first started examining the state of 3D printers. These devices are now relatively common among some circles in today’s world, but years ago it was extremely rare to see a 3D printer or even a 3D printed object.
At that time it was challenging to find any 3D printing news, so we decided to make our own site that covered 3D printer news, and even associated technologies like 3D scanning and 3D modeling. Today it is common to find 3D printers in schools, workshops and makerspaces, and you probably have been using 3D printed objects without even knowing they were 3D printed.
Today’s industry has finally taken up the challenge by installing thousands of industrial 3D printers, each producing previously impossible 3D printed parts that make today’s society far more efficient. The aerospace industry in particular has been producing many 3D printed parts, some even for flight critical purposes.
If you want to learn about 3D printers, then there’s no better place than Fabbaloo’s 3D printer news to see the latest happenings.
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