Now that desktop 3D printers are more affordable and compact, the world of DIY fabrication is quickly transforming the way we produce durable goods. Yet the filaments that 3D printers use to assemble objects are expensive – MakerBot’s ABS 1kg plastic filament will run you $50 a spool. Fortunately, Vermont Technical College student Tyler McNaney has invented the Filabot – a machine that allows anyone to make their own 3D printing substrate from old recyclables sitting in the bin.
Already successfully funded through Kickstarter, Tyler McNaney’s Filabot is a compact machine that turns your waste plastic into usable material. Any type of recyclable plastic can be used, giving a second life to soda bottles, product packaging, and detergent jugs. The 12 x 12 x 24 inch machine will grind, melt, and extrude the plastics, making it basically a small-scale recycling plant in your own home. One milk container and detergent bottle can create an amazing eight feet of filament. A coil heating element varies the temperature to accommodate different types of material, and the final model will feature a tip that will allow the diameter of the filament to be adjusted.
McNaney is currently working on the first wave of Filabot orders for initial Kickstarter backers ($350). To check out the prototype Filabot Reclaimer, head over to the official website for updates on when they are ready to launch to the public.