Instructables

Plastic Injection molding is simple with the right equipment. All that you need is a heater and some plastic.

Recycled plastics will yield the best results if kept to their respective groupings. Refer to the recycle symbols and do not mix types.

ABS is my plastic of choice, I used an old HP inkjet printer as the raw materials for this example.

I used a commercially available temperature control for this project but I have posted an accurate precision temperature controller in another Instructable.

All told this project took me about 2 hours and about $50 to assemble and test...

shown below is a 3mm ABS extrusion being done


NOTE: I have added a section with an example of a crude press lever.

 
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Step 1: Important Notice!!!!

Picture of Important Notice!!!!

SAFETY….

Hot plastics are NASTY and EVIL!!!!… USE gloves and a face shield at minimum. For example… Hot ABS is at minimum 110 Degrees Celsius or 230 Degree Fahrenheit and will stick to you plus will continue to burn you after it burns your skin off… Use extreme caution!!!!

Materials required will be shown as used. This as a free-form Instructable. Be sure to read through entirely before deciding if you should build. I built and documented this on the fly as I built it for myself…

I recommend using this in an extremely well ventilated area like outside. The initial set up will produce smoke if the plastic is overheated...

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Have you made molds for this yet, or do you have any suggestions for someone seeking to make an ABS injection mold? What materials to use to make the mold? How to go about it?

ThinkTink made it!2 months ago

This was a great instructable, lots of photos and well defined instructions. I made a modified version of this. Used the heating element and temperature control from a consumer grade hot plate and went for more of boom style articulating lever to allow for better plunger movement. Did not insulate the heating area, but put a safety cage around it. Used aluminum from a hair flat iron to insulate the heating pipe and the frame. Main pipe, extruder, and means of attachment are as posted in the instructable. Most of this was scrap around my garage (I play around with welding). The cost: $46 (but I also bought $10 worth of additional brass fittings for different size extruders). All this and no molds to inject. That is the next step.

20141016_173636.jpgheater.jpg20141016_173700.jpg20141016_112837.jpg
Bujholm1 year ago
Nice device you have here. Looking at it I have two questions - do you ever encounter any metal chips in your filament? The plunger seems to be scratching the walls generously for that. Also - when the plastic cools, do you clean the whole affair? Or just reheat it next time and push the remainder of old plastic out with the new?
Thanks!
Random_Canadian (author)  Bujholm1 year ago
I haven't had any metal chips. I typically use ABS so I don't have to clean it, just reheat an run.
wleedham1 year ago
I wonder if you could use this proses to make diy abs spools for a makerbot?
Random_Canadian (author)  wleedham1 year ago
That was the initial intent. Be sure to get the temperature right or the filaments will be brittle and unusable.
swilus1 year ago
This is really cool. Good job! I want one.
lkroland2 years ago
Thanks for a great instructable. Have you tried injecting the plastic into a mold?
lordl99992 years ago
Hey I'm trying to do something (very)simmilar
can you/ someone please help me with the wiring from the controller to the heater?

- take a look at my question and wiring diagram here:

http://www.instructables.com/answers/injection-molding-machine-help-me-with-the-wiring/

I would really really REALLY appreciate it thanks!
Yahshuatwo2 years ago
First of All, I hate the Captcha - I wish this security feature was disabled!

Secondly, I love this DIY injection molding and extruded device - clever. I 'm planning on developing one myself using a drill press, automotive piston sleeve, piston and rings (say yes :-)); they posses all of the attributes for this of type application. I will use heat bans around the cylinder and devise a spring loaded rod to connect to the piston/rings. The rings should provide a heat resistant sealed stoke using ABS pellets. I would only need to design tapered extrusion bulk-head that could accept different attachment fittings. A 2-3" sleeve would be necessary for the volume melted ABS i need to inject. I think I only need to injection-mould 16-24" oz - think of a 24 oz beer can as the dimension.
Dokholliday2 years ago
I'm understanding that everyone is concerned with the constant feeding of raw stock into the extruder so as to have the ability to extrude in an endless cycle so one might put his stock on a reel. If one were to install multiple batch bins and of of course for such an upgrade one might also have to invest in more heaters etc so as to be feeding one while the other is being refilled and brought up to a predetermined preheated temp and then to the final preferred heat to make you final plastic temp (+ 10 or 20 degrees F) as uniform and consistent heat where on might install with valves and or a simple valve system one could alternate between 2, 3, 4 or more. In the commercial world I know there are also insulated heated flexible lines that maintain the heat of the material to keep it fluid till the material reaches the extrusion head 9The ones I was familiar with was for hot glue applications). If a person had a way to use copper line and maybe some sort of DC current to heat a predetermined length or maybe an element that would heat the tubing one could fix an array of hoppers and extrude indefinitely or until such time as the equipment need cleaning. BTW if one had access to a porcelain tube of knew how to coat tubing with a non conductive agent then one would be able to transmit and transition you plastic in a fluid state from point a to b by using this method and or wrapping the tube with and element. ( http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Hot-Air-Soldering-Iron-using-12-18volts-DC-at-/step4/Heating-element/ )
pfred23 years ago

So what you've made here is essentially a big homemade hot glue gun?

Checking out your article I couldn't escape the thought that most everything you used in it looks like stuff found in an electric hot water heater. I've ripped a few of those apart for stock and materials so I have a bunch of the heating elements and thermostats that come out of them now. I didn't think to save any of the insulation though. The insulation is usually pretty nasty by the time a hot water heater is shot.

I think if I did this I might want to use a wooden dowel for the plunger. Seems like such a shame to waste a perfectly good socket and extension. Run properly this thing should never get hot enough to char wood should it?
baslisks pfred23 years ago
the normal plastic I would use gets to 240 degrees Celsius. So a wet rod wouldn't char but a dry one would. Would rather use a metal plunger and avoid that possibility.
lordl99993 years ago
I have a VERY similar project going on, can you help me with my wiring or show me how you've done it?

would be VERY appreciated!

http://www.instructables.com/answers/basic-wiring-for-a-home-made-benhtop-injection-m/
escher73 years ago
Your how-to is excellent and very clear. Forgive my "dumb" but the extruding plastic itself is used how?
jongscx3 years ago
I've seen this done with wood auger attached to an electric motor, essentially making it an auto-feed using the pellets.
hmuringa3 years ago
HI!!! Do you use this plastic filament for 3D printing?

Instead of using recycled plastic Ii put the raw material (ABS) as little plastic marbles (ABS is sold like in small balls, very cheap), do you think I can get a filament good enough for using on a reprap???

Thanks
Hi Hmuringa,

could you tell me on the internet where I could find ABS raw material to buy it?

Best regards,
Pedro
Hello!!!

The raw material I was talking about is called pellet... Just google ABS pellet and you'll find tons of places... Most are for industrial use, but you can also find on ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=abs+pellet&_sacat=See-All-Categories

=]
Thanks for your reply! i already have look and found it.

Best regards and good construtions
codesuidae3 years ago
Are there any entrained air bubbles in the extruded rod?

At the rate you are extruding, how much distance is required for the rod to be cool enough to coil onto a roll?
Random_Canadian (author)  codesuidae3 years ago
some bubbles and brittleness do occur if the heat is to high..
kill-a-watt3 years ago
Since this appears to be a batch extruder, how long of a filament can you produce?

Have you tried spicing lengths together?

How does the recycled plastic print compared to virgin plastic?
Random_Canadian (author)  kill-a-watt3 years ago
I was getting about a 2 foot length. At the bottom of the stroke I was able to lift the plunger and insert more plastic to continue the length, The is a little knob formed where the plastic pieces join. So far I have been able to get a 6 foot length.

I mainly use the 2 foot rods for plastic welding without any problems. I have as of yet to do more testing on the differences between the plastics. One note is that overheating will produce a brittle plastic. The recycled plastics that I have now seem to have similar flex properties as the new plastics.

I hope that this helps...
have you thought about using a drill bit big enough to fit in the tube as an auger in the pipe instead of the plunger? that way you could keep feeding in more platic without stopping.

Random_Canadian (author)  dex drako3 years ago
I did try a wood auger bit inside of the 1/2 inch black pipe , It was an excellent fit but it would not create enough pressure to extrude, the plastic just sort of milled around but would not come out of the extrusion port. I think that there was not enough friction between the surfaces to work but I am not certain.
Random_Canadian (author)  kill-a-watt3 years ago
Constant feed is possible and I haven't tried splicing. A single plunger stroke will give about a 26 inch length and continuous feed is kind of possible since the plastic is quite sticky. virgin is definitely better but that may be due to heating irregularities in the rig.
dcassina3 years ago
Hey Random_Canadian,

Thanks for the instructable... I'm about 60-70% done with this project. Can you let me know what temperature control you purchased online for this one? Or at least what type I should look for... I looked at your other instructable but am not too familiar with circuits so am choosing to buy one.

Thanks in advance,
Diego
Random_Canadian (author)  dcassina3 years ago
I purchased several years ago from eBay. Try doing a search for a kiln controller. Be sure to look for one that includes a thermocouple. The search that I did shows that they have come down dramatically in price.

Good luck with your build. I will be posting extra instruction to this which is a simple manual lever type plunger.
Sorry and a power relay if the controller does not have an internal one.
Thanks for the quick replies... I'm looking for a kiln controller, but I'm still a little unfamiliar... so the heating cartridges (two of them) connect to the temperature controller? I searched the internet quite a bit but am having trouble finding information on this.
Random_Canadian (author)  dcassina3 years ago
The controller will activate a power relay. This is used to isolate the controller from main power. The relay is just a switch that interrupts power to the heaters. The power relay will typically have 2 power inputs, 2 power outputs and 2 controller inputs. Main power is connected to the inputs and the two heaters are connected in series(high wattage heaters) or parallel(low wattage heaters) to the outputs. The controller should come with a manual which will contain the circuit diagrams.

I hope that this helps
Like the article.

Cheap PID controller with k-type thermocouple:
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/digital-temperature-controller-66334
About $17 with free shipping
Hey, is there any way to use this technique to mold rubbers? maybe silicone, or maybe some other harder rubbers?
dmwright3 years ago
There are band heaters made specificly to wrap around pipe made by the same outfits that make the cartridge heaters you are using but a lot easier to get good even heat transfer.  Take a peak at mcmaster.com to see what they are then scroung e-bay for them.

BTW if you run the heaters at 120vac they work fine but make half the heat, 400w becomes 200w.
Really neat hack!!!!

Share and Enjoy,
Dave
Random_Canadian (author)  dmwright3 years ago
Thanks, sadly the only band type heater that I could find was 4 inches in diameter.


I have 240V wired to my workspace but I thought that the conversion on the heaters was half the current and about 1/4 of the power.
Random,
Just checked to make sure  Watts = Volts x Amps per Ohm's law so 1/2 the voltage means half the power.  See the link below
http://www.watlow.com/reference/equations/0103.cfm

Here is a link to a lot of calculations that are really handy for figuring out how much umph one needs to heat up or melt stuff.
http://www.watlow.com/reference/files/powercalculations.pdf

All the major suppliers have these handbooks on their websites.  Some names... Hotwatt, Tempco, Dalton, Vulcan,   Watlow was the first that came to mind.

Share and Enjoy
Dave
Random_Canadian (author)  dmwright3 years ago
I took the heater resistance as a constant in this case 144 ohms, with this scenario both voltage and current are varriable.
Try P=(V*V)/R... 240 V gives 400W while 120V gives 100W.
You are absolutely right. A closer reading yeilded "Watts vary directly as ratio of voltage sguared" W1 = W2 (E2/E1)^2 down in the lower left corner of the Ohm's Law chart
rimar20003 years ago
This is very interesting.

do you know if is PET suitable for extruding?
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