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 Filastruder.com - 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 Instructable.com 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

Step 1: Material list

Except for the electronics everything listed here can be bought at your local hardware store.


  • 1x Wiper Motor (Ebay EU - 15€) / 5€ from the junkyard
  • 1x Auger bit(diameter = 16mm ; length = 460mm)
  • 1x PID Temperatur Controller - DC 12V version (Ebay)
  • 1x SSR-25DA Solid State Relay 3-32V DC / 24-380V AC / 25A (Ebay)
  • 1x K-type thermocouple (Ebay - like this one; does not need to be that shop :) just an example)
    -->!!! Sometimes the PID is bundled with an SSR and an K-Type Thermocouple !!!<--

  • 1x Motor Controller 20A (Ebay)
  • 1x Power Supply 12V, 240W+ (Ebay)
  • 1x Heating band (200 Watt 25mmx30mm) (Ebay)
  • 2x Fans (80mm) 12V
  • 1x Fitting 3/4" US Inch UNC --- 1/2" German Inch - 18cm long
  • 1x Water tap extension - 3/4" UNC threads --- 1/2" German Inch - 50mm long, 27mm diameter (one core thread and one exterior thread)
  • 1x End cap 1/2"
  • 1x Faucet-mounted filter - 1/2" diameter
  • 3x Steel angle
  • 1x Axial ball thrust bearing (Ebay) - Fitting exactly onto the auger bit's shaft.
  • 2x 10mm threaded rod
  • 1x Insulation
  • PTFE tape
  • Heat resistant tape
  • 3x Rocker (previously "rocket") switches
  • 1x Wooden board 100cm x 10cm x 2cm
  • Several screws and nuts
  • 2x sockets (1 that fits on the auger bit and 1 that fits on the nuts of the motor shaft)
  • Wires (two colors)


  • Multitool (Dremel-like)
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Drill
<p>What if they made a 3D printer which created the filament as it used it? That way the nozzle wont jam as much (since the plastic would still be warm) and you could reload failed prints back in (once you crush them). </p>
<p>They've done it already</p><p><a href="http://diy3dprinting.blogspot.it/2014/08/reprap-universal-plastic-pellet.html" rel="nofollow">http://diy3dprinting.blogspot.it/2014/08/reprap-un...</a></p>
<p>Thanks a lot. </p><p>But what is my problem! When electricity break, all system stop. After electricty on line without enough heating motor starts and breaks. Unfortunetly, I will be not around to stop system. Can we control motor with PID? Above certain temperature, PID will trigger a relay.</p><p>Any idea?</p>
<p>To all builders. If you are going to include a video, show how the thing is constructed. We've all seen hundreds of videos showing the pellets going into the hopper and the filament coming out the nozzle, but showing none of the details of construction. I realize that you can't do a step by step demonstration, but you should pan along the length of the finished machine to show what parts were used and how they go together and work in the finished machine. </p>
<p>I wonder....I live about two miles from a company that gets train car loads of plastic pellets... probably could find enough just spilled on the tracks at the crossing 100 feet down the road....</p>
<p>Beware! moisture is NOT your friend! MOST resins (ABS, PLA, Nylon) we use for 3d printing are hydroscopic, so your train track pellets (TTP) may well need to be dried before you can use them to make decent filament. Also, remember that your TTP may well end up being MIXED pellets with a wildly variable melting point. <a href="http://www.ptonline.com/knowledgecenter/Plastics-Drying/Resin-Types/Hygroscopic-VS-Non-Hygroscopic-Resins" rel="nofollow">http://www.ptonline.com/knowledgecenter/Plastics-D...</a></p><p>That said, lemme know how it turns out! :)</p>
<p>I just read this on a 3D printing for beginners blog, &quot;it is important to know that a plastic cannot be recycled and re-extruded over and over again, as it becomes brittle and begins to exhibit structural problems if re-heated too many times. You will need to keep an eye on your plastics &ldquo;<em>heat history</em>&ldquo;, as each heat cycle further breaks the polymer chains which constitute your thermoplastic materials. It is therefore recommended that you always mix some new pellets or new plastic shredding among the old mixtures during extrusion, in order to maintain material strength.&quot; and &quot;other recyclable polymers could also be used for extrusion. But this is where one needs to be very careful, as some plastic types like PVC or other chlorine based polymers can emit dangerous fumes which can seriously endanger one&rsquo;s health. If you are experimenting with waste plastic extrusion, you need to know what you are doing! Read your material safety data sheet if available!&quot; I'm not a chemist so thinking about MSDS's , melting plastic and releasing harmful chemicals does not come natural. I know not to burn plastics... but just heating to soften... So here is my question, Is there an instructable that discusses the gotcha's and avoids of DIY reusing of plastic, specifically for 3D printing? Comments?</p><p>Source of quote above: http://3dprintingforbeginners.com/how-to-make-diy-filament-for-your-3d-printer/</p>
<p>If you put a failed print back into it would it work?</p>
<p>I remember reading that in order to get good layer adhesion with &quot;failed prints filament (tm)&quot; you need to actually mix 10% failed print pellets + 90% virgin pellets. </p>
<p>Should work if you manage to grind it to small pieces.</p>
<p>That is my question. The extruder is a really nice instructable but what makers want apart from buying granules to make the majority of their material is a granulator. This would then allow recycling of failed prints, rafts etc so that there is no waste, great for the enviroment and the pocket too !</p><p>Before I retired I worked at a company that made tungsten tool tips, for masonary drills and other engineering applications. I worked in the powder room where we prepared the powders for the pressers and part of the process was granulating the blocks of tungsten, the machine we used was actually meant really a sugar granulator but the screen could be changed to allow different sized granules to be made. Some thing like this would be perfect for reprocessing used plastics for extrusion.</p><p>Keith</p>
Try a coffee grinder, they have adjustable grind size and at largest setting would probably work fine
<p>Where do you guys get PLA pellets?</p>
<p>You can get them here:</p><p><a href="https://www.filabot.com/collections/pellets" rel="nofollow">https://www.filabot.com/collections/pellets</a></p><p>Which looks to be a decent price ($4/lbs), plus they sell specialty pellets like Bronze and Copper fill.</p>
<p>hi i have a similar desktop extruder and bought pellets from oo-kuma.com, best for the price!</p>
<p>Where Would one buy these pellets? Everywhere I've looked online charges a fortune for shipping</p>
<p>i am buying from oo-kuma.com and it is free shipping to EU (my location)</p>
<p>where're you located ? </p>
<p>Really Great Idea..<br>About the only mod I could suggest is some kind of a heated hopper so one can recycle all of the failed prints etc. Although I am sure that making a 'chipper' would not be too difficult :)</p>
<p>Nice build. Can you use waste PLA to make it?</p>
<p>Hello, very good your tutorial, but my doubt is how to get the raw material to make the filaments? quelauqer plastics serves perforated? Thank you</p>
Lovely solution
<p>Great work! On my list of DEFINITE &quot;TO DO's&quot;! Those who've made it, appear to have done quite well!</p>
<p>Hello! First of all, great project you have here! I would like to know where can I buy pellets as cheap as 1$/kg like you said. Thanks a lot for your help!</p>
<p>Buddy did you ever found a place that cheap for the pellets?</p>
That is a good question.<br><br>I actually found a local company that sells pellets. The downside is that the smallest amount they sell is 25kg. I payed them a visit and told what I was going to do and they were so kind and sold me a small back of around 10kg for 10&euro;.<br><br>My best advice would be to try to find a local supplier. You can also order pellets from China via aliexpress and Co. but they only sell 25kg aswell.
<p>ok finally i've found some local sellers at my country, but they either sell PC or ABS they don't have a mixture of both...did i get it right that the pellet is a mixture or i can use either PC or ABS?? if they are a mixture can i buy some of each and mix them myself??</p><p>Also is there any other name for the PLA pellet, thats what i couldn't find anywhere here in my country</p>
<p>gr8 price for the kg, sorry to bother you but i'm trying to find the pellet on aliexpress and searching for pc/abs pellet kind of returns no results.</p><p>can you provide a link from aliexpress or even better the search term for PLA and ABS pellet?</p>
<p>I just searched for 'pla pellets' on aliexpress and it returned some really high prices. Like 66$/1kg... </p><p>Try alibaba.com. There I found some quite good offers like this one: </p><p><a href="http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Hot-sell-PLA-pellet-for-Make_60057061514.html?spm=a2700.7724838.0.0.aKGvXi" rel="nofollow">http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Hot-sell-PLA...</a></p><p>5.28 US $ per 1kg. Minimum batch 25kg. You can still sell your surplus in smaller quantities on ebay if you abandon you idea of making filament by yourself.</p><p>This are colorless pellets. You need a master batch to color it how you like it.</p><p>They also sell &quot;elastomer (SBS, TPE, TPR, TPU, TPV)&quot;. Haven't check on those prices but sounds very interesting.</p><p>Watch out before ordering check the minimum order quantity carefully. A metric ton takes up quite the space in your garage :)</p>
<p><a href="http://www.instructables.com/member/Spoonerandforker" rel="nofollow">Spoonerandforker</a> made it! (author) <a href="http://www.instructables.com/member/ianmcmill" rel="nofollow">ianmcmill</a> <a rel="nofollow">Reply</a> a few seconds ago </p><p>At $1/kilo, a 25 kilo bag costs less than one pound of Dremel brand 1.75 PLA though I do dearly love my Dremel 3D printer and am not yet ready to clog up it's nozzle with brand X filament. I will probably make a spare 3D printer first.</p><p>I already have a dozen NEMA17 steppers lying around and 30 years ago I made a small CNC machine for cutting custom prototype circuit boards that took the XYZ coordinates off ACAD and sent them to 8 bit latches for the CNC. I just used the Parallel Printer port, and a Dremel cutter for the mill head. Would like to try the USB serial port since Arduino is so cheap and there is so much DIY 3D support for that basic setup and the slicing software is so well developed now.</p>
<p>Thank you for sharing your knowledge, skill and experience.</p><p>I studied your extruder and I was guided to design and build mine, using locally available materials.</p><p>Today, I comfortably produce the filaments used in my 3D printer.</p>
<p>Looks solid. Well done, sir.</p>
<p>where can i find pellets that cheap? the only place i've been able to find are online and they kill you with shipping fees</p>
<p>where are you located ? </p>
<p>isn't there a cheap substitute to that wiper motor under 5 or 10$ ? </p>
<p>I don't know of any. Wiper motors are around 15&euro; on ebay (GER) or 10&euro; on your local junkyard.</p><p>Some extruders use geared stepper motors. But they are often very expensive.</p><p>Also some other extruders use geared DC motors and they sell them with their kit and single but they are also very expensive like 70$. </p><p>Anyways I really like the Filastruder. If I had access to PLA pellets I would also consider buying such a kit. On the other side PLA filament is today so damn cheap you cannot save much from making your own filament from pellets. I recently bought 1kg PLA for 16&euro;. Think of the time and effort you need to generate your own filament you don't safe much. Also recycling failed prints really is a nice idea. IF you manage to grind it to small pieces....but then again I run off the track :D</p>
Hello i am looking to make this and i was wondering hiw good quality the filament is and can it really make 1 kilo per hour
<p>It can not be 1kg/hour . I think .. Maybe 2 hour or 3 hour /kg . </p>
<p>Regarding this, I've been building my shopping list on ebay this afternoon for this project, and for the life of me I couldn't find wiper motors at the prices you listed. Cheapest was one from lithuania just because it had just been listed at 1GBP starting price plus 10GBP shipping, I doubt it will stay that way, otherwise everything, even second-hand, is 20-30+. I just tried searching for </p><p>Wischermotor since you just mentioned germany, and I did find cheaper ones but the shipping to Italy kind of kills any convenience. Only option left is trying at the junkyard.</p>
<p>Go to a local scrap yard, good source for motors</p>
<p>Hello everyone, and nice project Ian!</p><p>I'm about to make one myself, and I'm uncertain of the motor requirements. Do you guys have an ideia of torque and rpm required (motor horsepower needed to extrude properly)?</p><p>Thanks for sharing!</p>
<p>How much do all the parts cost in total?</p>
Thats gr8 price for 10kg. Whats the search term that i should be searching for? Cause pc/abs pellet on aliexpress kinda of returned no results. Can you give me a link for thr 25kg pellet you found on aliexpress or other websites?
<p>Ian. thank you for a great tutorial, I made one by basically following your step by step instructions, I used as many as I can of materials that I have such as 14mm auger drill bit instead of 16mm, cause the 15mm x 250mm galvanised pipe fitted nicely with a 14mm auger. The Mazda 626 windscreen wiper motor draws between 3 - 6 amps at 14 rpm, temperature set to 190 degrees celcisus with the nozzle drilled at 1.3mm (actually 1.297mm), the extruder is producing an average diameter of 1.7324mm at 0.25KG per hour. This equates to 4 hours per 1KG. I also add the Filawinder modified to take an thickness gauge to display filament diameter and average. Images showing the filament extruder, filawinder, printed item, and Filament.</p>
<p>What's the barrel diameter for 16mm augment bit? I haven't found ready-made suitable one, since the closest in size 3/4&quot; is a bit bigger, than the bit itself. Any suggestions. I mean, of course I can take any steel pipe, but I don't want to mess with making screw-thread by myself.</p>

About This Instructable


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Bio: AMA trainee teacher studying teacherism 'n stuff. Ask me questions!
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