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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BrotherX8517 days 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

MarkL96 days 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)  MarkL96 days 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)  MarkL93 days 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.phan18 days ago

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

MarkL924 days ago

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

konto8929 days ago

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

ianmcmill (author)  konto8928 days 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.phan129 days ago

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

MarkL91 month ago

Anyone tried PLA with this?

drewk253271 month ago

Does this really make high quality filament that works well?

NRG4UandMe1 month 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 ...

pspuria1 month ago

what kind of insulation?

fred_dot_u1 month 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.

wesheston2 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)?

wasteinc2 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?


helbersonr2 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)  helbersonr2 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.
EmrahG2 months ago

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

ianmcmill (author)  EmrahG2 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 ianmcmill2 months ago

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

nfragnito2 months ago
I'm assembling!!!
ianmcmill (author)  nfragnito2 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.

_pitch2 months ago

Am I blind or is the pipe missing in the BOM

ianmcmill (author)  _pitch2 months ago

I guess this one ?!

1x Fitting 3/4" US Inch UNC --- 1/2" German Inch - 18cm long

nfragnito2 months ago
Hay!!! and thanks for your great instruct!!!
What you thing if I use different fitter, also of different size and material, screwed toghter to reach the 18 cm length?
Thank's a lot!!! again
ianmcmill (author)  nfragnito2 months ago

The 18 cm are not carved into stone. It was just an educated guess at the time of building. I thought like yeah this looks nice.

The size you want to use may also differ to your likings. If you get a thicker auger bit, go ahead and take wider pipes. I am not experienced in thermodynamics so different sizes might improve or worsen the overall performance.

Anyways if you try to combine some shorter fittings to reach the 18 cm I don't know how the resulting spaces affect the preasure inside the pipe. E.g. the solid pellets might clog maybe. I don't know.

alcurb9 months ago


Can it recycle failed printed pieces? Say I put the failed piece into a grinder and feed the grounds to the extruder.

Also, can it recycle other plastics: water bottles, zip bags, etc?

ianmcmill (author)  alcurb9 months ago

Recycling plastics like bottles, packages etc is possible. Just use the same sort of plastic. Color doesn't matter.

Failed prints might be possible but I don't know about the outcome because they where heated before and re-heating plastics might change their properties.

But other plastics like printer or scanner housings or even refrigerator doors work perfect. You just need to know which kind of plastic it is. Polycarbonate needs a higher temperature then ABS and PP needs lower temperatures. And the plastics should be clean and dry.

i have dissasembled quite a few printers mostly HP because they are common. I found out that all the outside parts have a 1mm fire protective coat on them. Acetone removes it but it's very messy. I simply threw away all this plastic. The inside parts could be usable but very few of them are pure ABS. Most of them are mixed with other plastics so you end up with for ex. 80%ABS + 20%PP or HDPE. Mostly the black parts inside are pure ABS but you'll need alot of printers to get enough pure ABS out of it. The inside of refrigirators should be pure ABS and would be your best bet on getting large quantity pure ABS.

Vladimir KJ2 months ago


Thank you for your great guide. I will start assemblying things shortly.

I do have a short question though. If i crank it up at 270°C, how much power will it consume per hour overall?

matt.zammit.53 months ago

Thanks!!!!!!!! For sharing!!!!

matt.zammit.53 months ago

From what ive read plastics 1-6 can be used.will this extruder be able to make filament from all of these? Or what is the factor that will allow th extruder to be able to print with as wide a variaion of plastics as possible? Just the temperature range it has or something more? Oh amd are there parts that tend to wear and need replacing?

hi, sorry, i m not understanding step n.6. What is the "tool" at the end of the pipe ? is it the water tap extender ? in the second to last picture i watch something going out from it but i don t understand what is it. help me please. thanks a lot

yami7593 months ago

Do you know the tolerance of the filament being produced?

EmrahG3 months ago

Hello, many thanks for the instructions, any specs about wiper motor ?

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