Build your own 3d printer filament factory (Filament Extruder)

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Too long, didn't read:

Make your own 3D printer filament !
Cheap and high quality at a decent speed of 150-190 IPM ! (4-5 meters per minute)

UPDATE: Now with wiring diagram !

Long read:

3D printers are cool and they finally start to drop in price. Kickstarter campaigns like the one from QB-UP or M3D are popping up and they are finally "affordable". And with affordable I mean affordable like 200 $ and not "affordable" like 2.199$ affordable. However, once you are a proud owner of a 3D printer you will soon realize that your wallet is far from being let alone. No ! You need plastic filament of course to print those super awesome coat hooks and wheel chocks. Since the price for these filaments tend to top the actual material costs, printing before mentioned life savers is kind of expensive and could become a problem to the development of the ever growing 3D printer community

BUT FEAR NO MORE !! Some clever gents came along - Hugh Lyman with his Lyman Extruder may be mentioned here or the guys over at - and saved the day ! YAY. And there was much rejoicing ! They have built plastic extruders everyone can build or buy at a decent price. However if you are a fellow user the first thing that should come to your mind is "I can build this by myself...and cheaper...". Building at lower costs is the nature of DIY after all.

And much more fun than putting together a premade kit, of course.

Special greetings go out to Xabbax and his plain simple but super awesome Low Cost Filament Extruder !

So how much money do I save when making my own filament ?

Good question ! A lot !

Depending on the pellets you get you can make your filament starting at 1$/kg.

How long does it take to produce 1 kg of filament you may ask ??

Using the build I describe here...roughly 1 hour. (for 1,75mm filament using ABS/PC pellets).

So, let's say on a Saturday in your next workshop session you start at 10 AM and batten down the hatches at 5 PM you could make 4-5 kg of filament, saving between 125-150 $ leaving you with lots of filament for hundreds of thousands of eggcups and phone cases and other useless needful things.

Oh yeah what about the build cost ?

Depending on shipping and local prices, I would guess around 130-150$.

Next step: List of Materials

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Hi thanks for the this instructables, can i use this PID controller and where you buy your pallets?

수유7 days ago

Thanks for your works.

swbluto22 days ago

I'm done creating this and it's producing filament. However, I noticed that occasionally bubbles come out from the extrusion hole causing a "snap", and this creates weakpoints in the filament that easily break apart with the slightest bend. I've installed the melt filter per your specification, but I still seem to get these filament-destroying bubbles. Any ideas?

Random guess: maybe your material is not completely dry and these are steam bubbles. I've read that PLA pellets must be completely dried (even in a dehydrator) before extruding.

Can we use the computer power unit instead of the mentioned power supply? It has a 12V output.

amirloplop1 month ago

can i use PID controller AC version instead of DC 12v?

The AC version has a 12v DC output to the SSR, other than that they are basically the same. It just uses AC for all of its temperature controlling. It does not pass the AC on to the heater band, that is done through the SSR. I base this info on the REX C100 PID.

carroty1 month ago

where can i find pellets that cheap? the only place i've been able to find are online and they kill you with shipping fees

Fragmaster1 year ago
Your list of materials calls for a 200W band heater, but only a 60W power supply. Why is this? What power output is your band heater running at? It must be less than 60W according to your list.

The power supply unit will only be powering your 12volt controls. It will not be supplying the primary power to the heater. The power to the heater unit comes thru the secondary on the relay, the relay is controlled by the 12v. And is a electromechanical switch that will have 4, 6, or 8 connectors, 2 connections are for 12v DC at about 0.5 - 2 amp the other 4 are pass thru contacts for hi AC voltage that you connect your 110ac to on one side and connect to the heating element on the other side.

BTW the 110v 300w element would work just fine as long as you set the temp correctly, it only the 300w heater unit will just reach operating temp faster.

I only see a 240W power supply.

He edited it to 240W after I brought the 60W typo to his attention.

Doh! Sorry I missed it.

ianmcmill (author)  Fragmaster1 year ago

Oh sorry this is a mistake. The power supply has 240W. Thanks for pointing this out.

TDWay1 month ago

Hi Vlad.

For the size of the heating element it couldn't be anymore than the power draw for a small element on an electric range top, and if properly insulated once it reaches it operating temp that will drop quickly..

Bob 25 1 month ago

Hi, Thanks for this design!

Is it normal that the band heater emit fumes? Thanks.

ianmcmill (author)  Bob 25 1 month ago
You're welcome
ianmcmill (author)  Bob 25 1 month ago
It's possible that it fumes in the beginning but should stop after some time. Maybe there is some grease or oil on the metal that it is wrapped around. However is should not fume constantly.

Maybe some cable insulation is affected ?

Thanks for your reply!

It should be that because the heater is brand new, I wasn't sure! I'll try to heat it a bit longer and check cables. Thanks a lot !

foul_owl1 month ago

I'm not sure you need the SSR if you have a PID that can switch 250VAC/3A. For example, the REX-C100. Can anyone confirm?

Hi foul_owl. You could use the internal switching of the PID if it's capacity meets the load. However, if you look at some of the reviews of these PIDs, their external contacts on the back of the unit are screw terminals, but they can have spring-loaded contacts internally. Over time, these contacts can become intermittent, or arc, especially with a full load.. In addition, the circuitry can leave a lot to be desired.. It can be safer to route the full load through a SSR and have a much lower loading on the PIR. If I was using a $100 industrial PIR I would switch the load directly.. I am planning to use a $15 Ebay PIR and I will choose the safer option and use a SSR. I have just finished building a thermostat control with the REX C-100FK02-V*AN, a 25A SSR and a K-series thermocouple. It is controlling a 1500W element very well, with a slight 4 degree C overshoot during initial ramp-up. Hope this helps.

ayyappadasK1 month ago

hello, i want to compound blend nylon and aramid and thus extrude a 3mm filament of the composite . is this possible with your set up ?

Bindie1 month ago

Right now I'm trying ABS, I have recycled old prints, extruded them and cut them to 5-7 mm pellets of about 2 mm diameter. I have tried to print at 190, 210, 235, 245 and after a little while there's bubbling and it looks rough. Is there some solution to this?

I will lower the temperature now and try.

I haven't tried real ABS pellets yet, hopefully though around monday.

I have a 2 mm hole and extrude around 2.5 mm filament.

neodymium1 month ago

Can anyone link to the band heater they used? I'm having a bit of a hard time figuring out which one to get.


Would this one do it?

That is the one I have, works here.

The Axial ball thrust bearing you have linked returns a lot of bearings of different sizes. I don't want to buy the wrong one, what size should I be looking for?

It depends on the auger bit. You need to match the OD of the shank to the ID of the bearing.

Pretty straight forward, thanks.
Bindie1 month ago

I'm done. Extruding at kind of 225 degrees (pure abs) with a nozzle diameter of 1.8 or 2 mm and 3/4 speed. What do I do when it starts to bubble?

will you please elaborate your step "Nozzle"? what material you have used an the drilling process thats all,


how to drill 1.75mm hole please anybody tell me im nearly done.


swbluto2 months ago

I also found that 16mm was a bit loose for the 3/4inch UNC fitting. The inner diameter of the pipe measures between 19.9-20mm, so a 19mm or 3/4-inch auger bit works best (Tried the 3/4-inch auger at Home depot, a tiny bit loose, but the best fit I could get among the Bosch augers there. Definitely better than the 16mm, or 5/8-inch, auger.)

ianmcmill (author)  swbluto2 months ago

Yes. Sourcing of specific parts is always a big mess. 'Just' try to get things that fit together. This is what I did. I went into my local hardware store and started to put things together to see if they fit. Then I incorporated it into my build.

All measurements I stated here can basically be exchanged with what you have available. It is not my intention that you have to order simple parts like augers or extenders for big money online. Grab on what you can get your fingers in local stores and adapt them. Just like you did with the water tap extender. This is DIY style.

swbluto2 months ago

Also, had to buy the Faucet filter online (Home depot hasn't had them for years.). They're called 'faucet aerator screens' just in case anyone else is trying to find them.

swbluto2 months ago

Found that for the impossible-to-find part of the water adapter (At least in the United States), a 3-inch nipple along with a coupler created pretty much the same thing.

Now I'm just having trouble finding an appropriately shaped auger bit in the shape that apparently the author uses in the USA. Guess I'll have to improvise? Or maybe I'll just order the makita from Syndey tools.

Xonbie2 months ago

Has anyone tried this design with shredded recycled water bottles?

ianmcmill (author)  Xonbie2 months ago

I have tried to shred some PP flower pots but couldn't get it small enough.

But this should work.

Dave Hakkens has build some machines for plastic recycling as well. Check it out:

TylerB112 months ago

ATTENTION! The wiring diagram is DANGEROUSLY INCORRECT right now!!!

It shows the blue wire going to "L" (Live) and the brown going to "N" (Neutral). THIS IS NOT THE COLOR STANDARD!

The color coding most of the world uses is BROWN=LIVE, BLUE=NEUTRAL. In the U.S., it's BLACK=LIVE, WHITE=NEUTRAL. Right now brown and blue are reversed coming from the outlet!

If you wire it like this, it will probably work, but the power supply will be in an unsafe state! Parts of it may be energized with mains voltage that weren't designed to be!

AC mains voltage is nothing to play with -- if you are unsure, consult a knowledgeable electrician!

ianmcmill (author)  TylerB112 months ago
Ok. Then switch the brown to live and the blue wire to neutral. My wall socket outputs AC actually, so I must be own of the lucky guys.

If you are consequent in color coding and not just stupid copying stuff blindly from the Internet you should be good.

Fun aside...
if you are unsure contact an electrician or leave it be all together.

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