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Mini recycling plant turns scrap plastic into 3D printing material

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Mini recycling plant turns scrap plastic into 3D printing material

January 14
10:33 2013

US mechanical engineering student Tyler McNaney has invented a desktop machine that makes the raw materials for 3D printing by grinding up waste plastic from bottles, wrappers and even Lego bricks

McNaney came up with the Filabot as a cheap alternative to the spools of filament used by 3D printers. Filabot can take scrap plastic, including plastic from 3D objects, and grinds, melts, and re-extrudes it back into printable feedstock.

Any type of recyclable plastic can be turned into filament, from food wrappers and drinks bottles to water pipes and Lego bricks. The machine grinds up the plastic, melts it down and then extrudes it as a filament that can be fed into a 3D printer.

It can also melt down failed or broken 3D prints, allowing for increased trial and eroor, or the ability to upgrade redundant parts.

Initially launched on crowdfunding website Kickstarter last October, the machine soon overtook its initial target of $10,000, with backers pledging over $30,000 in total.

McNaney told the Guardian: “Filabot will bring the real power of sustainability to 3D-printing, allowing for a one-stop-shop to make anything.”

McNaney now plans to launch a small range of the machines led by the Filabot Reclaimer, a fully enclosed machine that comes fitted with a plastic grinder. Also available will be the basic Filabot Wee, which comes without a grinder and requires self-assembly, and the Filabot Core, which comes fully assembled. A stand-alone grinder will be available separately, according to the Guardian.

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