Filabot: turn scrap plastic into 3D printer filament

Filabot, "The Personal Filament Maker" is an ongoing open-source hardware kit project that aims to perfect a plastic grinder/melter that you can use to turn scrap plastic (including failed 3D printouts) into filament that can be fed into 3D printers. It's a promising step towards the blunderbussification of 3D printers, turning them into devices that can use any random junk as ammo for useful work:

The Filabot Reclaimer, is our flagship system, that allows for the already innovative 3D printing movement, to become more self sufficient, experiment with new materials, and recycle bad prints.

The Filabot Reclaimer includes the grinding, extruding, and spooling systems. The Grinder will tear up bottles and can handle up to a good 3in by 3in chunk of plastic. Material from the grinder can either be stockpiled or fed directly into the extruder. From there the extruder will melt and pressurize the molten plastic to push it thought the interchangeable dies. There are two dies included with the Filabot Reclaimer, a 3mm and 1.75mm, depending on the filament size needed. The spool system will automatically roll the filament onto a spool after cooling and sizing.

Filabot Personal Filament Maker for 3D Printers - Desktop Extruding System – Environmentally Friendly


  1. It would have been 100x as interesting with a video about how it works and is operated. The utility is obvious and the key know how are probably recognizing feedstock, washing it, quality testing the filament and how to neatly use feedstock with non-uniform properties and colours. And it would be very good if people stopped buing crap that cant be recycled.

    1. Some of the feedstock should be pretty easy to recognize. PET, LDPE, HDPE – modern items made from those already have recycling symbols on them that tell you what kind of plastic they are.
      I agree that the video was useless, though.

  2. If a efficient one of these came with every 3d Printer, it would help push 3d Printing into the minds of Joe Sixpack. Instead of Recycle & Reuse, we could say, Recycle & Print.

    1. I would be amazed and disappointed in Makerbot or someone else wasn’t already working on this as a partnership.  Whoever does will win the 3d printing startup race, or at least get a bit headstart.

  3. This isn’t really complicated.  Anyone that’s seen an extruder in action has the general idea of what’s going on here.  Grind up the stock, place in extruder heated to appropriate flow temperature for that type of plastic and force it through a die.  That works great when you are using raw/virgin plastics, but here you’ll need to wash/clean and probably dry anything before it goes to the grinder (and you might even need to pre-cut it to size…thinking like gallon milk jug sized stuff.)  That’s not really bad, but it is a lot more manual steps that are introduced.  That and I imagine the whole thing is much larger than any of the printers.

    On the super cheap DIY end of things you could hack together an extruder using some iron/steel pipe, a 12 to 24 inch arguer bit, various end caps, motor (with various pulleys and belts), and an arduino to control/regulate temp….It wouldn’t be pretty, but it should work-ish.

    1. Actions speak louder than words. Filabot was first. Better Future Factory does it but isn’t in it for money. Good luck to you.

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