Dec 7, 2015 | By Benedict

The Green Engineers has developed a simple, expandable, mod-able filament extruder and multipurpose fabrication tool called the “Multistruder”. The 3D printing tool, which enables makers to produce their own filament, is currently the subject of a $6,000 Kickstarter campaign.

The "Multistruder"

It’s no secret that the price of 3D printing filament remains a bugbear for many amateur makers. Many newbies naturally baulk at the cost of the 3D printers themselves, but filament, which needs to be purchased over and over again, can also leave a hefty dent in the wallet when large quantities are required. Since filament materials such as PLA and ABS are themselves fairly cheap, makers are often paying for the convenience of having their chosen material delivered in a 3D printable, 1.75 or 3mm diameter thread, which has been neatly wound onto a spool. But what if there was a way to cut out the middleman in the 3D printing filament supply chain? If makers could turn the raw materials into filament themselves, would they save money in the long run? Mechanical engineering student Steven Mosbrucker, who runs a startup called The Green Engineers, certainly thinks so.

To enable makers to produce their own filament using either virgin resin pellets or recycled scrap plastic, Mosbrucker created the “Multistruder”, a multi-purpose plastic extruder which turns plastic into new shapes. The inventor found that, when using conveniently available brands, making filament from pellets is around 2.2 to 4.3 times cheaper than buying readymade filament. Using his machine, regular makers could save large amounts of money in the long run by using either virgin pellets, or simple scrap plastic such as plastic bottles—the latter being, of course, totally free.

The comparitively cheap pellets alongside readymade filament

The Multistruder is made from rigid pipe, and stands upright in order to use minimal desk space. Its stand allows it to be mounted to a desk or hung from a wall, giving makers a flexibility in their filament feng shui. To function precisely and efficiently, the 3D printing tool uses an Arduino controller, which also allows for easy modification and potential for expansion. The Arduino brain of the machine makes it incredibly user-friendly, and can be easily controlled using a TFT Full Color Touchscreen. The extrusion speed can be precisely controlled thanks to the Multistruder’s Drive Motor Control, with speeds of up to 3 feet per minute easily achievable. This impressive speed means that a 1kg spool can be extruded in less than 8 hours. Mosbrucker is already planning to develop an automatic spooler expansion module for the machine, which will automatically roll up the produced 3D printing filament onto a standard spool.

To bring the Multistruder to production, Mosbruckers has brought The Green Engineers over to Kickstarter, where the 3D printing tool is the subject of a $6,000 campaign. More than half of that goal has already been raised, with the campaign wrapping up on December 23. Backers can secure one of the first fully assembled Multistruder 3D printing tools with a $150 pledge. Backers ordering now will receive their product in March 2016, provided the project meets its target figure.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Accessories

 

 

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