Creating filament for 3D printing with the Filabot Wee

Add a sustainable dimension to 3D printing

Posted on 17 March 2014.

What if you could print beautiful 3D objects from your household waste?

Filabot is a small machine that can transform some types of plastic waste into a raw material to produce objects with a Makerbot-type 3D printer. It allows you to recycle your plastic at home, while reducing the cost of 3D printing. All you have to do is introduce pieces of used plastic into the Filabot. It will then grind, melt and extrude the plastic filament. Project creator Tyler McNaney estimates that a milk bottle could create up to 2.5 meters of filament.
Creating filament for 3D printing with the Filabot Wee
An emerging technology presented by some as a revolution, 3D printing nonetheless has several disadvantages: the printer and the raw material – mainly resin or plastic filament, sold in reels – are expensive, and widespread use of the technology could represent a new source of polluting waste. There are a number of possible solutions: using more environmentally friendly printing materials (such as PLA or even seaweed, or recycling the objects created to make new ones (ABS can be reused an unlimited number of times).

Filabot and other filament extruders (PlastiBot, FilaMaker, etc.) are well on their way to making 3D printing more affordable, simple and environmentally friendly. One of the next steps is to expand the list of materials that can be used in these fantastic devices.

Main picture: Creating filament for 3D printing with the Filabot Wee, credit : DR