Extrude your own 3D printer filament.
NEW - System adopts name FilaFab (Filament Fabricator).
NEW - Take a look at the new videos added to the Update page.
NEW - Be sure to check out the Updates for videos and info.
NEW - SPECIFICATION
- Extrusion Rate: 1.2 meters/minute (47 inches/minute) (ABS at 170°C)
- Power Supply: 110-240VAC 50/60Hz
- Maximum Power Consumption: 250 Watts
- Average Power Consumption: 210 Watts
- Temperature Range: room temp (heater off) to 240°C
- Extrusion Temperature: 160°C - 180°C (optimal temperature varies with material)
- Tolerance @ 1.75mm: TBC
- Tolerance @ 3mm: TBC
Extrude more than 280 meters in as little as 4 hours!!!
I have been developing a low cost plastic extrusion system for many months now and am nearing completion. I have designed, built and improved several prototypes and am now in the final stages before completing a production unit – that’s where you come in! I need your help so that I can specify parts and buy them in large enough quantities to allow for a low cost production unit.
The machine is primarily designed for those people who have a 3D printer at home and need a supply of filament. You can recycle old designs that didn't work out, use scrap plastic you can get your hands on or purchase plastic pellets, colorants, additives and mix up your own master batch. I am in contact with manufacturers of PLA and ABS pellets and am in the process of securing a supply.
Check out a selection of videos showing various stages of prototype:
To fit with the intended user base I had the following primary aims when designing the system:
- Low cost.
- Easy to assemble using only basic workshop tools.
- Easy to produce components- no welded parts here!
- Off the shelf and readily available components.
- Adaptable and upgradable.
- Large material hopper
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Ability to extrude various plastics including ABS and PLA.
- Fit for purpose - easy to use, useful, and money saving!
I want anybody with basic workshop skills to be able to build this machine, at home, without any special tools or equipment. Upon completing the campaign I will provide a complete build manual with step by step instructions and exploded diagrams.
Production ready kits will include precision made high quality components cut, drilled and milled to exacting standards.
I have extruded a huge amount of filament using the prototype machines and have printed several parts using it, both on my own 3D printer (MendelMax) and different machines owned and run by others. The extruded filament is of high quality and I very pleased with the results - I am sure you will be to!
What’s left to develop?
The motor drive train needs finalizing; the machine uses some considerable power! I have experimented with a number of different drive methods and motor types. I am considering replacing the low Voltage motor currently used with a high powered AC mains motor and suitable speed reduction. This will remove the need for a separate power supply for the motor and may offer a better torque/cost solution. I will test this solution and post my results for all to see.
The production machine will also feature a hopper lid to keep your plastic dust and contaminant free. This will also dis-courage people reaching into the machine, I contemplated adding a cut-off switch but this may prevent people filling the machine while it is running therefore I am still thinking this one over. One solution may be to have a filling hole which is too small for hands or fingers but allows filling.
I will also design a sleek enclosure for the machine which although is not strictly necessary for operation will prevent people from touching the hot parts. The control panel and enclosure will be CNC milled from solid sheet to a high quality finish.
I have also started work on a reeling system to gather and reel up the extruded material. I have already built a few prototypes and have several different ideas for how this could be done elegantly, preferably built onto the extruder itself and connected to the same drive system. Watch this space.
I will of course add videos and information as the project continues.
Thank you for all those who have read my campaign and an even bigger thank you to all those who pledge. I look forward to delivering on the pledges and wish you happy extruding. For those of you who wish to pledge without paying for the kit parts I have added a £5 pledge.
Several pledge options are available, I have tried to be as cost conscious as possible and have included separate pledges for different parts of the world; see postage costs to UK, EU countries and worldwide. This is an attempt to make it fairer for everyone; the cost reflects Royal Mail delivery costs for the expected weight of the completed kits/machines.
Legal bit: Safety is a primary concern and a lot of attention has been given to it throughout the design process however the machine uses mains electricity, has moving parts and gets very hot at the extruder head. For this reason please only pledge if you are confident with this type of machine, I will accept no liability for loss, injury, death or damage caused by the usage of this machine. If you are unsure please check with a professional.
Risks and challenges
I am a professional design and development engineer and so problem solving is something that I am well practiced in. I have been inventing and creating machines, products and processes for over a decade. I do not shy away from problems and will be as proactive as is possible to understand the problem and find a solution. That said the best strategy is to foresee potential problems and try and avoid them from happening in the first place, I will always try and avoid a problem before it becomes a problem. From time to time issues arise for which no immediate solution is apparent, I am a firm believer that a problem shared is a problem halved and communication between all parties involved is key to finding a successful solution. I will always be up front and keep all those involved updated regularly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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