Desktop 3D printers have hit price-points that make them as affordable as color laser printers. But they also share the same problem – replacing the printing medium costs an arm and a leg. A kilogram of plastic filament costs about US$50, meaning the cost of turning your ideas into reality can quickly add up. But now the Filabot, a miniature plastic recycling plant, will provide a wide variety of plastic filaments from scrap.
Invented by American college student Tyler McNaney, the Filabot can make new 3D printing filament in 3.0 or 1.75 mm (1/8 or 1/15 in) diameters using nearly any household plastic, from PET and polypropylene to Nylon-101. A two-liter soda bottle (PET) weighs about 50 grams, which will be converted into about $2.50 of 3D printing filament. The Filabot can also recycle failed, broken, or obsolete 3D printed parts, making prototype development far less costly. McNaney has even developed an extrudable conducting plastic from scrap.
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