Apr. 30, 2015 | By Simon

Perhaps it can be attributed to a surge of new 3D printer offerings we’ve been seeing over the past year or maybe it’s just simply the fact that people want more options for their projects, but regardless, the amount of filament options for 3D printing have never been as expansive as they are today.

Less than a month ago, Made in Space - makers of the first 3D printer that was used in space - started selling their “space-approved” 3D printing filament for makers who want to be able to create space-ready designs.  We also saw how a Washington-based e-waste company is turning discarded CDs and DVDs into a line of recycled filaments.  Now, a Netherlands-based company has announced that they’re releasing a filament that’s 100% made from old car dashboards.

In an effort to help reduce worldwide plastic waste, Dutch startup Refil has just introduced their fully-recycled filament made from plastic dashboards (mainly from discarded Volvo and Audi cars) that they’re calling “Refilament”.  Already, the filament has been awarded the “Best Material Development for 3D Printing in 2015” at the recent 3D printing Europe event in Berlin, Germany.

The new startup was founded by the Rotterdam-based design agency Better Future Factory (BFF), which consists of five alumni from the Delft University of Technology.  The agency is a multi-disciplinary design, environmental and engineering company that finds and develops solutions for current environmental issues.      

“Using our Refilament  instead of ordinary filament instantly makes everything you print recycled,” said Refil Co-Founder Casper van der Meer.

“From vases, toys and jewelry to architectural models, prosthetics and other products…they (are all, already) recycled products when you print them with Refilament.”

In addition to using old car dashboards, the company also recycles PET bottles to be used in the filament mixture.

To produce Refilament, the company starts by sourcing the old car dashboards and PET bottles, which are then thoroughly cleaned and shredded into tiny plastic flakes.  Once the flakes have been filtered from all contaminants and are deemed usable, they are melted and extruded into clean 1.75 or 2.85 mm diameter strings before being wound onto fully-recycled cardboard spools.   


“At Refil, we don’t add any toxic dyes to our products and this has been our biggest challenge,” adds lead product researcher Laura Klauss.   

“After lots of research, we can finally develop Refilament so that it has the exact same quality as ordinary filaments, without adding any toxics.”

The final, recycled filament materials are available in both Dashboard Black and PET Translucent colors and can be used on any FDM 3D printer that normally accepts non-recycled 3D printer filament.  The cardboard spools each feature 750 grams of filament and start at 32 Euros per spool.    


Posted in 3D Printing Materials


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Dr Narsimhan Raghunathan wrote at 12/1/2015 3:27:51 PM:

Very interesting. I am exploring 3d printing for structural components. Would you be willing share the information on your fiber materials. My email is below nraghunathan@schroederindustries.com

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