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FilaMaker: Turning landfill into filament
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What 3D printing filament is better for the environment PLA or ABS?
Common sense would say that it is the biodegradable, made from plants filament of PLA wouldn’t it? Well, what if you were able to recycle your ABS prints? Failed or now useless parts could be turned back into the very filament they were made from? Then it would most certainly be ABS as opposed to PLA, which albeit may be biodegradable but takes time to do so.
There have been a couple of attempts to create a closed-loop filament-to-print-to-filament system. Most notably the Filabot, which achieved three times its goal on Kickstarter back in January 2012 but despite that success it seems we’re no closer to the Filabot Core system. Instead we're being offered the pellet grinding stripped back Filabot Wee.
At Maker Faire Rome we were introduced to the FilaMaker the latest machine to attempt to bring recycling to our desktop. The reception they received was fantastic, including a glowing review from Joris Peels, no less, not something that is easy to come by!
The device has been created by Marek Senický, the working prototype on display at Maker Faire Rome is testament to the months of toil Marek has put into his machine. Simply charting the process on the Facebook page gives you an idea of how much research and development has gone into the invention.
The filament produced on the FilaMaker currently comes out at 3mm and has shown to have no air bubbles. 3D Hubs tried out some of the Filament produced by Marek on their Ultimaker and said “The print was perfect, could see no difference with normal material.”
The machine works first by shredding the ABS into a sort of granule, which is then placed into a funnel to be extruded as filament that can be used on many desktop 3D printers. This would significantly reduce the cost of 3D printing as well as significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the technology, something which will appeal to everyone.
Marek says on the Facebook page that he expects to have the first batch out by Christmas and that a price point of around €500 ($680, £420) should be expected. Considering a roll of filament costs around $30-$50 it won’t be long before the FilaMaker is saving you a shed load.
If it does all it promises, FilaMaker could be the machine that does make 3D printing as environmentally friendly as is hoped. Even if that is just stripping away the production and shipping miles (often overlooked when discussing the benefits of 3D printing on the environment) needed for filament to arrive on your desktop.
This is definitely one to keep an eye on, don’t worry we’ll do that for you.