The high (fixed?) pricing of plastic filament for an FDM/FFF 3D printer is a known issue in the industry, preventing it from being a more suitable solution for more cost-effective purposes (read: has limited budget) – especially in the education and private sector usage. Another major problem is the lack of new 3D printer parts and technologies to use as a basis for naming a new product. The Kickstarter project introduced here today doesn’t tackle both of these issues, but fortunately gives a very interesting approach on the first matter.
The man behind it is Mark Dill and the project is called ExtrusionBot. It’s probably sleek enough to fit on your desk at 7” x 10”, made mostly out of metal and uses plastic pellets (of different colours) for making the filament, which is extruded neatly, straight into a spool in either industry standard sizes of 3mm or 1.75mm. These are all relevant factors, but not exactly groundbreaking per se. However, the most impressive feat of the ExtrusionBot is definitely the speed – it can produce up to 4 feet of filament in a minute and not just on paper either. If the quality of the output is also on a par with the needs of a picky printer – with ±0.10mm tolerance promise – the ExtrusionBot definitely has a real advantage over the other at-home filament manufacturing devices that have been brought to the market (or to Kickstarter). At least many people believe so – the project has already reached over $40,000, well over its initial $10k goal.
Watch Mark’s pitch video below – if you’re in a hurry and just want to watch the ExtrusionBot in action, drag the slider to 2:15.
Last and not least of course comes the issues of pricing. If you hit the source link below for more details, you’ll also find that carving out $365 gives you the complete ExtrusionBot kit at the lowest. Fortunately all the other options are reasonable (and still available) as well, so no “pledge $10,000 and receive the kit plus spend a day with me and my family” type of options.
If proven to work in the real world as well – meaning not just the end-product feats such as the build quality and operating the machine itself, but also company-oriented factors such as logistics, tech support etc, – the makers and other 3DP tech enthusiasts are very likely to also adapt a solution such as the ExtrusionBot to their own needs in addition to the public and potentially also the third sector. At least, this certainly has the specs to be the definitive ABS/PLA filament maker. Let’s just hope that after making your own filament becomes a standard, the industry norm of overcharging for the materials doesn’t also smoothly transition to pellets from the ready-made spools