Which shredding and extruding machines are available | Part 3

recycling
filabot

#1

This series will explore the potential of recycling household plastic waste into homemade 3D printing filament. I will look specifically into the potential for cost savings and waste reduction.

In the first and second post of this series I looked into the different reasons for making your own recycled filament and what the process to do this looks like. Now that we know that we want to recycle and what the process looks like let’s take a look at the different machines that are available to do this.


The recycling process (source: Better Future Factory, design: Studio Dolour)

Especially for extruding there are already many different machines available ranging from very basic to industrial grade machines. This overview is meant to show what is currently on the market and to guide a first scan of machines that might be suitable to your needs.

Shredders:

1&2 The Filamaker shredders

German programmer and inventor Marcus Senicky has invented a shredder that is specifically designed for tearing up your old prints. It comes in a small (1) and a larger (2) size for €370 and €550 respectively. Check it out hard at work.

3&4 The Filabot Reclaimer:

This is a shredder made by Filabot that is expected to be available for sale at the end of this year.

5 The Cruncher

This shredder produced by the makers of the Extrusionbot has just launched its kickstarter campaign. $485 will get you the basic package which is claimed to be way below the retail price that will be used once the project is backed.

6 DIY shredder

For the more adventurous and skillful people out there there is also the possibility to make your own shredder using this DIY guide on instructables.com. It claims to be more simple and cheap than the other options on the market so it might just be worth your while.

Of course you can also try using any other machine that can shred plastic into smaller pieces. For instance using a normal office shredder or an industrial shredder might work. I don’t have any experience with this but if you do please share in the comments!

  1. Extruders:

Most extruders work in pretty much the same way. A screw pushes the plastic pieces through a heated area where the plastic is melted. The liquid plastic is then extruded through a nozzle. This is roughly what your average extruder such as the Filabot would look like if you cut it in half:

filament extrusion schematic_0.jpg

Check out what this looks like in motion in this short animation. In case your up for a more in depth and seriously '80-ies style explanation check out this video.

Now let’s get to the overview of the different extruders that are currently available. We have only been able to test the Filabot extruder here at our HQ which works great. There is a rather wide range in pricing but there might also be significant differences in quality of the different extruders but unfortunately at this point we can’t say much about that so I’d like to invite you to share your experiences in the comments. If I’ve missed one please post it in the comments as well so I can add it to this post.

Shredder compilation1.png

Extruder compilation2.png

  1. Strooder | on sale for $249
  2. Filastruder kit | on sale for $300
  3. STRUdittle | on kickstarter | starter pack for $300 full package for $500
  4. Lyman filament extruder | DIY project | costs of material approximately $600
  5. Extrusionbot | on kickstarter | starter kit for home assembly $365 full package $675
  6. Protocycler | Combined shredder and extruder | pre-order for $699 (expected shipment fall 2015)
  7. Filafab pro 100 | Easy assembly | on sale for $749
  8. Noztek Pro | on sale for $749
  9. Filabot original | on sale for $949. Get itwith a nice discount through the 3D Hubs perks program
  10. Recyclebot | Reprap project | electrical components can be bought for +/- $800

For a more elaborate overview of what’s on the market I highly recommend reading this post on the different machines that are currently available.

What’s next?

This is the first of 5 series of posts meant to cover the topic of recycling for 3D printing. The next 4 series will dive deeper into the world of recycling and will focus on:

Series 2 | How to make your own filament by recycling old 3D prints

Series 3 | 3D Printing with recycled filament

Series 4 | The promise of 3D printing with recycled household waste

Series 5 | Can Polypropylene (PP) plastic be the next big thing in 3D Printing

However I’m very eager to hear what research area’s you would like me to research as well!

That’s it for now.

Cheers,

Bram


#2

woho! Let’s recycle everything everywhere. Good job once again @bramhallo


#3

Thanks again for the good work!


#4

Very informative, Bram!


#5

Very Informative! Nice work!
I’ve been looking to buy or manufacture a cheap twin-screw extruder for compounding/recycling my own polymers, but the price of our 11mm twin screw in the lab is sadly at 80.000€ at the moment and that isn’t feasible. If you manage to stumble upon a good deal for such an extruder, please let me know as the ones you listed are all single screw extruders!

I’d have a few things to add, which I learned working in the University Extrusion Lab in Paderborn here in Germany.

1. The heating of the extruder barrel is merely to keep the polymer in a molten state, as well as to homogenise the temperature of the extrudate. The main heat energy is dissipation energy coming from shear forces between the granules in the barrel!

2.When recycling household polymer waste, you have to deal with a lot of additives in the polymer that were specifically added for the product. E.g. a PET bottle consists of various layers (absorption, CO2 containment, etc.). You’ll also have to deal with these additives when extruding your own filament.

3. For each recycling circle, the molecular length of the polymer chains decreases, resulting in lowered mechanical properties. A good rule of thumb is that the properties become too bad to use after about 10 cycles. That’s why we only add a ratio of 40% recyclate to 60% when processing it.

4. Cleaning. Our extruder in the Lab uses a filter mesh as well as a vacuum degassing system to remove unwanted impurities in the product. I haven’t tested the mini-extruders you listed, but I fear that chemical and other residues might gunk up a printer nozzle over time, as they do tend to clog our mesh filters.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. I’ve got some experience to share!


#6

This is impressive! Can’t wait until you show us some prints!


#7

Nice work @bramhallo

Looking forward !


#8

Awesome! Informative! @bramhallo

Thanks for sharing with us!


#9

Thanks!


#10

Thanks!


#11

Thanks! Prints are coming soon :wink:


#12

Hi Tobias,

Thanks for your great comment! To reply to the points your making:

- Unfortunately I haven’t come across a twin-screw extruder yet but I’ll definitely let you know if I do.

1. Very interesting information. If that is ok with you I’d like to add it to a previous post that went into detail on the extrusion process.

2. Indeed true, this is also one of the reasons I’m assuming recycling prints from the same original filament spool will give better results than recycling all kinds of different prints. Do you agree that this might be the case?

Regarding recycling household waste, I will try to get some results with this at a later stage and will definitely start out by using one type of waste product in order to minimize this effect.

3. Cool info, again if that’s ok I’d like to add this to my previous post as well. In my future posts I will describe the extrusion and printing quality of different ratio’s of new and recycled material so this aspect will get a lot more coverage soon :wink:

4. As far as I now there is no cleaning mechanism present in the Filabot that I am using. I don’t know about the other extruders but my guess is there isn’t any. However the nozzle can easily be removed which makes the Filabot rather easy to keep clean.

Will definitely nudge you if I have any questions, thanks!

Cheers,

Bram


#13

Thanks!


#14

Hey Bram,

Sure thing, feel free to add any info to your posts!
I am on vacation for the next three weeks, so I don’t have access to any official documents and material, but I can tell you what I know until I get back.

To 2. If you recycle the same material, e.g. Black Pla, the type of Spool doesn’t really matter. It could be from different manufacturers even, because pure standard printing spools should roughly use the same composition of material to fillers.

3. I have a graphic somewhere in my office that shows the correlation between material strength and recycling cycles of a polymer. I’ll try to find that and attach it to a post soon.

4. Cleaning, such as degassing and filtering is usually done to increase the purity of polymers, e.g. to extract solvents, gaseous products and other modificators. That should only cauise problems with print quality when recycling other plastic waste, because the resulting filament will be “dirty”.

Grtz,
Tobi


#15

Hi im just wondering if anyone has any experience with the strooder and what they think of it. Thanks


#16

I don’t think that it’s already available. It says November on their website I think.


#17

He Tobias,

Thanks again! Great info. If you can find that graphic that would be awesome. Have a nice vacation :wink: and I will let you know if I have any questions.

Cheers,
Bram


#18

I just had a small discussion yesterday with my girlfriend as we where driving home…

her biggest question was: What does it cost for a extruder and shredder versus a roll of PLA…

had to tell her that an extruder was about 2500 dkk… a shredder of decent quality about the same…

then running cost… about 80 dkk for 1 kg af pellets and they are not easy to find…

now she laughed when i told her that i could get a roll of pla for about 50-60 delivered…

does it make much sense to bother recycle?


#19

Hi @Davide_14,

I think it only matters when you have enough volume.

In my case the recycling part is not financialy interesting to do myself.

But I think it is very important do research in this area, cause it can make a huge different for the enviroment.

Another part is, you can create custom colors. In this area it can be interesting to experiment with that. On the other hand.

Most situations you can paint the printed parts.


#20

Hi @Boelle, this is a very interesting discussion and in general I agree with @studioK that it all depends on what you find important.

In the case of using new pellets to produce filament this would be mainly a decision based on the financial benefit which in turn is mostly determined indeed by the volume you produce. If you want to buy these pellets I don’t think they are that hard to find by the way. @colorfabb and @filabot are for instance two companies that sell ABS and PLA pellets meant for 3D printing specifically.

In case you can use your old prints or even other types of waste this of course would improve the business case even more and indeed would benefit the environment. So for me I think it is definitely a useful research area although I can understand that there are definitely cases in which simply ordering spools of filament is preferable.

Cheers,

Bram