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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Hey, iam working on it but I have a problem such at that the other end of the auger I dun know how to fix it to be able to put a load on it it is not stable any help ?
ianmcmill (author)  nader.elhosseny4 hours ago

Hey, which side of the auger do you mean ? The auger just needs to be fixed by the axial ball thrust bearing and because it fits snug into the barrel it should be stable, too.

Good day!.. Im building this one, but im using 24V, 10A supply, wiper motor seems to work fine with the motor controller (According to my research wiper motor is 12V - 24V. The other thing that I'm at doubt is the heating band, can I use 100W heating band here? is it enought to heat the filament?. Please reply. Thank You!

ianmcmill (author)  marcangelo.bonielyesterday

I am not sure if the 100W is too weak. I used a 200W heater band. This can mean that you need longer to heat up to the desired temperatur. If you already have the 100W heater band just give it a try and report back here. This would be really cool as others could adapt this.

Thank you so much!... About the barrel mount is it really the name of that? or there are alternative names?. I cant find barrel mount, the one you use to insert the 1/2" fitting.

barrel mount.jpg
ianmcmill (author)  marcangelo.bonielyesterday

No this is not what it is really called like. I just used this term for the build process so that one knows what it's function is.

Search for "flange 1/2 inch "

Thanks! :)

rgillary14 days ago

Here is the water tap extender I found bought which is also in UK. I saw the other one but wasn't sure about the chrome. One small point to note is that this one has a raised ridge running down the length which I had to sand down to let the heating element fit neatly.

Where can you get the water tap extension in the USA? or maybe a substitute? I've looked all over and can't find it.

also is it 3/4" to 1/2" or both ends should be 3/4"?

both ends 3/4" but it really depends on the end cap you purchase

dbardroff21 days ago

For those of you struggling to find a "water tap extension" here is one on ebay (UK). It is a big pricey but ships worldwide. After searching Lowes, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Walmart, and Bed Bath and Beyond, I am more than happy paying ~$22 for this unobtainable part.

BrotherX851 month ago

Great tutorial, nearly finished building it.

I'm in the US and I'm running into the same problem as fred_dot_u; there is a very loose fit between the 16mm auger and the 3/4" pipe as the inner diameter of the pipe is nearly 22mm, leaving a 3mm gap on all sides. I will try to see if a 1/2" pipe fits better or possibly get a thicker auger.

Hi BrotherX85,

I'm in mid build and spotted the large gap and have used a 19mm auger bit. For my part, I'm in the UK and I strongly suspect that the U.S. inch is smaller than the UK inch. If you can find smaller pipes I would say that is a better option cost wise.

both are the same: 25.4 mm

MarkL91 month ago

What is the variance of the extruded filament with this setup?
+-0.1mm? less? I've heard it gets bad (0.5mm) after 10 minutes of extrusion with
PLA. Is that true?

How consistent is it with ABS if anyone has tried?

ianmcmill (author)  MarkL91 month ago

Hey Mark

havn't tried PLA yet as I simply cannot find a source that sells it at a decent price. Most resellers I've seen sell it at such a high price that it is not profitable to extrude it yourself.

The consistancy of ABS however greatly depends on how you

1) wind up,

2) cool,

3) tune the nozzle and motor speed,

the extruded filament. Also it requires lot of trail and error get used to how your specific machine performs.

If you would like to dive more into the process you should definitely study

the forum of the Filastruder over at

A lot of capable folks is active there.

I've been in the forum, which is moderated by Tim Elmore (seller of the Filastruder) and it's too biased.

Check this:

Someone was building your extruder and the problems experienced by the user were immediately claimed as a design flaw of your hotend by Tim: "It has an L/D ratio of about 1, whereas the Filastruder has an L/D ratio of about 15".

Filastruder takes about 10-12 hours to produce a kg of ABS filament...

Eventually the user figured out the problem which was badly positioned bearing. So yeah, not the best place to ask this.

ianmcmill (author)  MarkL91 month ago

I don't know what a L/D ratio is. Also it showed that it was better I did not know (and still don't know) else I would have had several thousand hours of work along the road.

LD ratio is just length/diameter ratio. He
was wrong though, the issue was misaligned thrust bearing. He keeps
making claims like this all the time, then proven wrong, and at times
even closes and moves threads as a moderator.

That is just unacceptable and
against the spirit of the RepRap community, so Solidoodle forum for
Filastruder is definitely not the right place do discuss this.

alan.phan11 month ago

Hi all, If you having problems finding a screwed flange in Australia, here is where I found the cheapest one from ebay.

MarkL91 month ago

Never heard of a ABS/PC mix filament. Whatabout standard ABS? Anyone tried that?

konto892 months ago

Hello, I would like to ask you, the 1.5mm hole gives you a 1.75mm filament?

ianmcmill (author)  konto892 months ago

Yes. Depending on the speed of extruding plastic and pulling forces applied to the extruded filament the diameter contracts / expands. Extruding temperature is important as well for the speed of extrusion. The hotter the filament at the nozzle, the more likely it contracts due to the pulling force. You can play with the cooling to achieve the diameter you need.

alan.phan12 months ago

Would I have to purchase a heat sink for the SSR?

MarkL92 months ago

Anyone tried PLA with this?

drewk253272 months ago

Does this really make high quality filament that works well?

NRG4UandMe2 months ago

hi, i had started building a much simpler one, the plunger type (vertical ), which of course i think the pricey thing (thing u cant easily make) is the auger , those arent typical, a heater , i scrapped from an old 'george foreman' grille that was being tossed, it was a pain to get the electric elements out of the aluminum clamping - it has a built in on and off thermotransducer for 350 .. so no expensive electronics but then again u cant tweak heat much ... i suspect the plunger type is a lot less consistent as u are pushing the piston downinstead of having a smooth laminar flow from a motor control ...

pspuria2 months ago

what kind of insulation?

fred_dot_u3 months ago

I'm collecting the parts to build this project. I've run into a snag, perhaps related to US vs German measurements. The 3/4" plumbing pipe going to create a very loose fit for a 16mm auger, but the nearest size auger will not slide into the pipe due to the seam created during the pipe manufacture. That's relatively minor, in my opinion, as I can file away the seam and get a fairly close but not tight fit for the auger.

The instructions call for a faucet extender. My discoveries thus far indicate that they are made only for 1/2" pipe. Perhaps the 3/4" US reference should be 1/2" for this instructable? That reference would also make a 16mm auger be a closer fit as well.

Is the purpose of the faucet extender to provide for a different material on which to install the heater, for better heat transfer? I've made only one trip to find an extender and the store stocks only plastic extenders! Not a good idea for this project.

wesheston3 months ago

Hi ianmcmill,

I'm working on the extruder at the moment and I'm wondering at what speed are you running the auger (in terms of rotations per minute)?

wasteinc3 months ago

hey very cool implementation.

what about your filament tolerances ? I see that the new lyman v5 gets a little bit over-engineered , but I dont know if this is needed.

according to your experience is the plastic width constant?


helbersonr3 months ago

friend goodnight excuse my English I'm from Brazil motor Wiper Motor said that you can send me a link of where he sells this engine is the same windshield of the car ?? Thank you so much

ianmcmill (author)  helbersonr3 months ago
Any front wiper mitor will do. The specifications don't differ much in different models. 12 V and a lot of power is wgat you want.
EmrahG3 months ago

Hi again, hHow and where did you fix Axial bearing ? couldn't get it.

ianmcmill (author)  EmrahG3 months ago

The auger bit has a thin square-shaft and a thicker "main diameter". The square-shaft is usually held by the drill. Just where the square-shaft meets the maindrill diameter the axial bearing pushes against it. The axial bearing just fits on the square-shaft but not on the drills main diameter. It's hard to explain.

Take a look at the picture. The top shaft is thinner than the shaft at the bottom. This is where the bearing is retained. Hope this helps.

photo-06.03.14 00:37.jpg
EmrahG ianmcmill3 months ago

I think I got it, I get a similar auger bit. Thank you for the explanation.

nfragnito3 months ago
I'm assembling!!!
ianmcmill (author)  nfragnito3 months ago

So cool. Imagine this 20 years ago. Only few ppl had access to the internet. Today we are sharing our knowledge with people all over the world and explain each other stuff at no time and at nearly no cost. Without the internet such exchange of knowledge would be impossible.

_pitch3 months ago

Am I blind or is the pipe missing in the BOM

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