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Introducing the Filabot Video
3D printing, as we all know, has a million and one amazing uses, but it could also pose us with a few difficult questions. One of those questions is: 'how can we justify making more plastic to make things with?' We all know that with incredibly long half-lives plastics are able to accumulate in ecological systems over time and cause environmental damage. Making more of the stuff seems illogical.
Enter the Filabot. Brainchild of Tyler McNaney the Filabot takes household plastic waste — such as milk bottles or empty detergent packaging — and turns it into filament for your 3D printer. As Tyler explains in the video from the recent Kickstarter project plastic grinding and extrusion is nothing new (in fact it is one of the things I used to cover when I worked on www.eppm.com) but it's generally not something you see on the desktop.
By processing a number of common plastics, including PET, HDPE and ABS, the Filabot saves two marine birds with one stone. Instead of throwing away your plastic packaging or transporting it across the country to be recycled, you can now process it into new material right at home. Or at least that's the dream.
With a target of $10k Filabot went on to raise $32,330 for ongoing development and production work. With the aim of getting the system to be compact enough to sit alongside a 3D printer on the desktop the team will be employing a variable speed feed motor (as different plastic will need to be extruded at different speeds) and a variety of nozzles to allow the filament to be extruded at different diameters.