Build: 3D Filament Recycler

Introduction: Build: 3D Filament Recycler

This is the Reprint Inc. 3D Filament Recycler. this machine has the capabilities to melt and extrude failed 3d projects and scrap ABS plastic. The next design and portion that may be added to this instructable is a strengthening solution using carbon-nano tubes so stay tuned for that. Being that parts of this project are still being built or modified check back to see if any steps have been modified or changed! Thank you!

Step 1: Get a 1 Inch Diameter Steel Pipe

We were given a 18 Inch steel pipe that we then cut down to 11 Inches to the size of the auger. You will need one end to be threaded and have an end cap on it, with a 1.75mm hole in it.

Step 2: CNC Machine Hole in Pipe

Using a CNC machine a hole was cut in the pipe to allow for the carbon fiber nano tubes and the shredded 3D filament plastic to fall in the pipe and then transported by the auger.

Step 3: Add End Cap to Other End to Prevent Blow Back

To prevent blow back while the auger was running the other end of the pipe was threaded and an end cap was attached. The end cap had a hole drilled to allow for the coupling between the auger and the motor. A small weld was placed between the end cap and the thread to ensure no movement while the auger was rotating.

Step 4: Mounting Plates for Auger

In order to attach the pipe and auger to the box, two T-shaped mounting plates were created. The T shaped plate had a hole cut in it to allow for the pipe to be passed through. Four holes were drilled into the bottom of the plate to allow for screwed to be added to attach the plates to the box. In order to make the T-shape, two plates were cut separately and then welded together.

Step 5: Box

A box was created in order to contain the components for the 3D filament recycler. The box was cut into a rectangle with two longer sides and two shorter sides, with a base and a top. The separate pieces of wood were attached by using small rectangular pieces of wood that were attached to each corner by a screw. Then by drilling into that same small piece of wood the sides, the bottom, and the top piece of wood were attached.

Step 6: Heating Tape and Temperature Controller

In order to melt the plastic as it traveled along the pipe, heating tape and a temperature controller to control the temperature of the tape were added. The heating tape came with a standard U.S plug that was removed and the wires were spliced. The spliced wires were then screwed into the bottom of the temperature controller. In order to have the heating tape shut off at the specified temperature a thermocouple was added. The thermocouple recorded the temperature and shut off when the proper temperature was reached.

Step 7: Insulating the Heating Tape

A 1 inch thick, 2x2 slab of insulation was ordered and wrapped around the pipe in order to keep the user from burning themselves and also to contain the heat inside the pipe.

Step 8: Spool With Motor

In order to mount the spool to the box

Step 9: Mounting the Surge Protector to the Box

By drilling two screws to the bottom of the box, a surge protector was added. There was also a hole drilled in the side of the box to allow for the surge protector plug to be passed through and plugged into the wall. This setup allowed for ease of use when plugging all the electrical components.

Step 10: Attaching and Running the Fan

The fan is attached to the top of the box right after the end cap that extrudes the ABS plastic. There are four screws holding the down and the fan is wired directly to a phone charger which releases a 2.1V charge. The purpose of the fan is to cool the ABS plastic enough for it to be spooled without sticking.

Step 11: Creating the Hopper

A flat piece of metal was cut using a CNC machine. That piece of metal was then bent in three places in order to create the hopper. The part that came together on the bend was then welded to keep the rigidity of the hopper.

Step 12: Run the Machine

Reference our operational instructable to learn how to run our machine!

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    2 years ago

    This is a great project:
    May I suggest a few simple modifications to make it able to run automatically?
    I would replace the trigger of the drill with a rotary speed controller, so the drill can be set and left to run at a constant speed, that way you will get more consistent output, and operate handsfree, without having to hold the trigger as well.
    I would also add a length of copper or aluminium tube to the extrusion hole (15-20cm), of the desired diameter for your filament. If this was welded to a larger nut that threaded on, you could change diameters at will.
    You could then either attach a computer heat sink to the end of the tube for cooling, or wind more tube around the output tube and run cold water through it (A small solar pond pump or a mini usb powered pump and any tank would enable recycling the water.)

    This way you could get consistent thickness filament, which would be cooled sufficiently after leaving the tube to wind onto a reel.

    I would probably also fit a larger hopper to allow for producing a roll of filament at a time. A filament winder with a simple friction clutch would assist with winding it onto a reel. There is a good one at Thingiverse which is simple and cheap to build.


    5 years ago

    Very interesting idea - I'm curious to see the resulting product! Do you have any photos of the tool in use, or some recycled, re-extruded filament after running it through this?