Instructables member Ian McMill shows how to make a filament extruder for less than $150.
Despite the cost of acquiring a 3D printer having dropped dramatically over the years, device owners will soon realize that 3D printing filament – the thermoplastic feedstock for fused deposition modeling 3D printers – can be rather expensive and adds considerably to any DIYer’s total expense.
For example, PolyLactic Acid (PLA), which is the go-to 3D filament for most printers, costs around $40+ per kilogram. Materials such as Carbonyte which offers superior strength start at $100 per half a kilogram.
That is why inventors such as Hugh Lyman have previously set out to develop machines which can turn inexpensive plastic pellets into filament. The Lyman Filament Extruder is a home-built machine by the retired engineering enthusiast which upon the flip of a switch turns on a heater that melts the plastic pellets and then presses them into filament.
Lyman told Time Magazine in 2013: “After I retired in 1996, I started doing some inventing. I designed a few products, and I had them made on a 3D printer […] and then I forgot about it.”
However, Lyman returned to 3D printing a few years later and began to build his own. “Every time I buy a couple of pounds of filament, it costs me forty to fifty bucks,” he added. “I was burning through it pretty fast.”
Making your own filament has a dramatic effect on costs, setting designers back just $10. Per minute, you can expect a 4 to 5 meters of filament.
Although the plans for the Lyman Filament Extruder have been download thousands of times, Instructables.com has just revealed an even cheaper way to build a filament extruder – courtesy of forum user Ian McMill.
But beware: It’s not exactly a kit you are assembling. You have to be an experienced maker and have access to many tools if you want to build your own filament extruder system.
It costs just $130 to $150 to make the Low-Cost Filament Extruder and takes around one hour to make one kilogram of filament with the extruder. Check out these instructions.
License: The text of "Make Your Own Low-Cost Filament Extruder" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.