Figure 1: Photo of completed Filamaster Extruder
The most popular and affordable 3D printers work by heating a plastic filament (Figure 2) and depositing the melted filament similar to the way an inkjet printer would deposit ink. Unlike an inkjet printer, 3D printers lay the second layer physically on top of the first layer, slowly building a three dimensional part. This is called additive manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing is extremely versatile and is gaining traction with product development companies as well as hobbyists.
Figure 2: 3D printer filament and 3D prints. Source: Afnia
Though 3D printer filament is relatively cheap, costs can add up quickly for enthusiasts and manufacturing shops. The Filamaster team aims to solve not only the problem of costly filament but also the problem of wasted plastic in the form of old prints being thrown away.
The Filamaster team has developed a 3D printed part Shredder as well as a 3D printer filament Extruder. The two devices coupled with a 3D printer work as follows:
- Old prints or other plastic such as old remote controls are broken down into small pieces using the Shredder.
- The small pieces made from the Shredder (raw plastic is also cheap and readily available) are inserted into the Extruder’s hopper. The Extruder is then turned on (simply select what material is being extruded and hit star) and produces filament automatically.
- Filament produced by the Extruder is used in a 3D printer to create new parts, repeat as necessary.
Ready to get a little more technical? Scroll past the images below or click here.
Mike preparing his homemade 3D printer at the Filamaster booth
Mike recycling some prints in the Filamaster Shredder.
Rendering of Extruder user interface showing the easy to use touchscreen
Technical Drawings and Technical Explanations.
This is the first page of the Filamaster Extruder overall assembly drawing showing the enclosure and the external dimensions of the finished Extruder.
The second page of the Extruder assembly drawing. This page shows the extruder with the case removed so the individual components can be seen. All components are called out in the drawing below but the basic components are:
- Extrusion tube – this is the tube that carries the small pieces of plastic from the hopper (where the pieces are inserted) to the extrusion die where the plastic is melted and extruded into filament.
- Auger Conveyor – inside of the extrusion tube is an auger conveyor (similar to a large drill bit) that moves the plastic pieces from one end to the other.
- Extrusion Motor – a Dayton A/C gear motor turns the auger conveyor facilitating the movement of the plastic pieces.
- Heating Band – a 300w ceramic band heater is attached at the end of the extrusion tube and provides the necessary heat to extrude filament.
- Arduino – an Arduino microprocessor reads the temperature of the extrusion die, and controls the heating band and gear motor accordingly.
The Shredder was designed to be able to shred fully dense ABS or 3D prints up to 1/4″ in thickness as well as up to 1″ thickness low density prints. To accomplish this the Filamaster team designed a heavy duty shredder. The shredder has 24 teeth cut laser cut from 1/4″ steel. The design was inspired by industrial shredders.
Check out This Link for an industrial shredder destroying 50 gal oil drumps, couches, transmissions, even a VW Bug.
Overall assembly drawing of the Filamaster Shredder.
Page 2 of the Shredder overall assembly. This page contains an exploded view of the Shredder overall assembly with each component called out.
Page 3 of the Shredder overall assembly. This page shows all items called out on the previous page.
Assembly drawing of one of the Shredders assembled shafts. Each shaft has 12 teeth (there are 3 different types of teeth to ensure only a few teeth mesh at once) and 12 spacers.
The teeth and spacers have a 3/4″ hexagonal hole cut in them to fit on the shaft which is machined from 3/4″ hex stock.
The Filamaster team used a four stage design process following the ISO 9000 style of design control. The four phases design is as follows:
- User Needs Summary
- Initial Literature Search
- Hazard ID
- Product Requirement Specifications (PRS)
- Initial Design Control Tracability Matrix (DCTM)
- Initial Models and Concepts
- Phase I Review
- Completed Project Action List (PAL) from phase I
- Literature Search Report
- Revised DCTM
- Released *Product Design (design package)
- Released *Gages, Fixtures, Tooling, Programs, etc (design package)
- Released *DMR, WI’s, Routers, CIP/CIF’s (design package)
- Released *Packaging Design (design package)
- Phase II Review
- Completed PAL items from phase II
- Design Verification Reports
- Design Validation Reports
- Process Verification Reports
- Process Validation Reports
- Revisions to Design Outputs
- Completed DCTM
- Phase III Reviews
Phase IV – Compliance and Introduction to Manufacturing
- Completed PAL items from Phase II
- Reconciliation Report
- Production Release of:
- Product Design (Final Drawings)
- Gages, Fixtures, Programs, etc
- Packaging Design
- Phase IV Review