So you buy an affordable 3D printer, set it up and start printing. Before you know it, you’ve just gone through an entire spool of filament. Now you must dish out another $25-$50 to replenish your supply. One of the biggest complaints I hear from 3D printing enthusiasts is about the high cost of filament. If it wasn’t for the outrageous prices companies charge for their strands of plastic, 3D printing would be much more enjoyable to most. Who wants their creativity to be limited by dollar signs?
There are currently other options out there, but they all have their drawbacks. There are home extrusion systems, like the Filabot or Filastruder, which are capable of turning pelletized plastics into strands of 3D printable filament. These are great alternatives to purchasing your own filament, however, these systems can run anywhere from $300 to $900, and require a good deal of knowledge, as a small change in humidity, temperature, and the composition of the plastic pellets can turn the entire process into a bit of a mess. Additionally, the pellets will still run you around $10 per kg, unless purchased in massive quantities, and the electricity to run the machines can also add costs.
This is why one man, named Ivan Areinamo, is seeking funding on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, to start up a company producing affordable 3D printer filament. Areinamo is tired of having to dish out big bucks every time his spools of PLA or ABS plastic run out. He has developed his own filament based on PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is a thermoplastic polymer from the polyester family. Traditionally PET is used within plastic bottles we drink from, as well as for food containers and other commonly used products.
Areinamo has figured out a way in which he can produce PET based filament for a fraction of the cost that most of us are paying. How cheaply? How about $12.50/kg spool? Here are some of the qualities of his proposed filament:
- 3D printing Temperature: 230°C
- Easily Printable at 90mm/s
- Light color. It has properties of transparency (Glass-Like)
- Quality guaranteed. Virgin PET pellets used in production.
- Compatitible with most 3D printers on the market
“I want to develop this project, not to get rich. I want to build a small company where you and me will get a low cost filament and we can apply our knowledge of engineering and 3D print,” states Areinamo.
By producing the filament in Venezuela, Areinamo will take advantage of some of the best energy prices in the world, with the cost of electricity in that country being just $ 0.03 / KW. Additionally he plans on bulk purchasing the PET plastic, cutting back costs significantly. His future plans also include manufacturing ABS and PLA filaments at extremely affordable prices. Those wishing to back his Indiegogo campaign can do so by pledging $25 for a 2KG spool of the filament, or $15 for a 1 KG spool, which will be delivered in November, provided he raises adequate funding.
Let’s hear your thoughts on Areinamo’s project within the cheap 3D printer filament forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out a brief video about the project below:
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