Estimated lead time: 1-2 weeks.
INCLUDES 1lb of ABS plastic (Sabic MG94 resin) for free!
Are you frustrated with the high cost of filament for your 3D printer? Do you desire the ability to produce filament on demand, as it is needed, in the color and size appropriate for your 3D project?
The Filastruder meets these needs and more, because it is a filament-making machine. The reason for starting this project is simple - raw plastic pellets are cheap costing only a few dollars per kg, while filament for 3D printers is much more expensive - $40/kg and more. Others have tried to produce filament extruders, but have run into difficulties. We worked tirelessly to refine the design, and made it a priority to involve others in the process.The Filastruder has been beta tested by 16 users. They loved it, so we launched on Kickstarter where we were joined by 875 backers. (thanks again, guys!) We fulfilled all of the Kickstarter kits, so we're ready for prime time, taking orders and saving you money! Here's a short version of the Kickstarter video:
How it works:
After setting the desired temperature for extrusion and allowing time to warm up, fill the hopper with pellets and colorant of your choice, and turn on the gearmotor. Plastic will begin extruding from the Filastruder, forming a pile on the floor to be spooled up later. The resulting filament can be wound onto a spool quickly and easily using a normal hand drill, or through a printed spool winder.
Nozzles and filament sizes:
As seen above, the Filastruder comes with one of three types of nozzles: undrilled (you can drill this to the size you prefer), drilled for 1.75mm, and drilled for 3.0mm. You can order more nozzles from the "Spare Parts" section above. Note that for use with printers having a nozzle size 0.5mm or smaller, it is recommended that a melt filter nozzle is used with the Filastruder to remove any dust/debris from the polymer.
What about ABS/PLA/HDPE/LDPE/TPE/Nylon/other crazy polymers?
Here's the skinny: over 90% of the testing has been done with ABS. ABS is nice because it won't melt in your car like PLA does. It is also nice because it can be vapor smoothed. ABS works really well in the Filastruder. +/-0.05mm tolerances are no problem.
I've also had good luck extruding Nylon, using the same powder that Shapeways uses. Other users have extruder recycled Taulman Nylon.
PLA requires a little more care. The Filastruder extrudes it fine, but you have to make sure to completely dry the polymer before extruding. PLA also needs a lot of cooling, and ideally a winder like this one. Our users are able to do +/-0.05mm tolerances with only moderate drying and without a winder. Here's one user's experience with both ABS and PLA.
Finally, I personally have also extruded DuraFlex TPE, a thermoplastic elastomer. This extrudes great, but it is so flexible that most printers can't handle it.
One of our users has extruded LDPE: http://www.soliforum.com/post/28185/#p28185
Other polymers successful extruded by our users:
See our forum for more information on these polymers.
To my knowledge, HDPE and other polymers have not been tested. No reason they shouldn't work, though. Some polymers release toxic fumes at their extrusion temperatures, so be sure to read the MSDS for any polymer you try! Do not use PVC or other chlorine-based polymers!
What about recycling old prints?
There's a few hurdles in recycling printed plastic. They are as follows:
- Shredding/cutting the prints into pellets. The Filastruder needs chunks of plastic that are no larger than 5mm on any side.
- Contaminants. Any dirt or dust you get on your print, ends up in your filament. Same for whatever method you use to cut/shred your prints - any metal debris you get in the shredded plastic ends up in filament.
- Heat history. The more you heat cycle a polymer, the weaker it gets as each heat cycle breaks the polymer chains. You will want to mix in virgin material to maintain strength.
As far as contaminants, this should be a non-issue if you wash and dry the plastic, and use the melt filter we provide on the site. The other two issues are left up to the user. There are some hobbyist shredders beginning to be made, but we have no experience with them.
Typical Extrusion Rate: 2.2lbs (1kg) per 12 hours (6-24in/min, depending on diameter, material, and temperature)
Extrusion Temperature: Room temperature to 225C. Limited by heater power for safety, to prevent thermal decomposition of polymers.
Noise: 45-50dBA @ 3ft
Power: 110-240VAC, 50/60Hz, 60 watts peak, 50 watts average (electrical cost: 10 cents per kg extruded)
Required: basic hand tools - screwdriver, wire cutters/strippers/crimpers, allen keys
Recommended: drill, dremel with grinding stone or hand file
User Provided Parts: To save on shipping and total cost, the following parts are to be provided by the user:
Hopper (STL available in the forum, print on your 3D Printer, or add-on as an option above)
Wooden base (available for a few dollars at your hardware store)
Optional: Hopper funnel, electronics enclosure/faceplate
Everything else is provided - down to each washer and zip-tie.
The Filastruder takes 2-3 hours to assemble. At-home polymer extrusion is certainly in its infancy; while the Filastruder has been tested by thousands of users and run for tens of thousands of hours, there is a learning curve involved that is similar to 3D Printing. Be sure to read the cautions and warnings in the assembly instructions before use. The Filastruder is targeted to makers and tinkerers, the types of people that have used basic hand tools and have performed electromechanical wiring/assembly before. However, there is a very active community on our forum, located here:
The creator of the Filastruder (elmoret), is active on the forums and will try to address any issues you may have.
Also, be sure to check out our testimonials for real results from real people!