The high cost of 3D printer filament is a pain to all printer users. It limits also the development of FDM technology. How to drive down the cost of filament?
HLyman uploaded a Lyman Filament Extruder on Thingiverse, a machine that extrudes filament from fine pellets for use in a 3D Printer. This device can extrude 1.75mm and 3mm filament with easy nozzle exchange. HLyman managed to keep his materials cost under $250 and submitted his device for the $40,000 DFC competition.
Kauffman Foundation launched a filament extruder competition in May that each team is required to design an open source machine to extrude ABS or PLA filament from pellets for use in a low cost 3D printer. The first person to upload a solution using less than $250 worth of materials wins. The winning team will receive $40,000 from the Kauffman Foundation and a Desktop Fabrication Lab including a 3D printer, an FS Laser Cutter, and a Shapeoko CNC Mill.
Another Thingiverse user Bradley (aka: bottleworks) posted his derivative which has larger hot end with 350 Watt heater, automatic timing, fan ducting and adjustable motor speed on the control panel. This nice-looking device is actually not so expensive as it looks. Bradley says the parts that he used were mostly from his collections that would have been thrown away.
He uploaded the design files to give some ideas to those who are making an extruder. Filament is running about $40-$50 dollars which is 5-10 times the cost of raw pellets. If successful this kind of extruder is going to drive down significantly the cost of filament and eventually benefit the industry and all users.
Posted in 3D Printing Materials
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