If you have a 3D printer, chances are you have a lot of useless plastic lying around. Failed prints, bits of broken-off filament, supports, the strings of material that are spit out whenever you change your filament. If you’re an environmentalist, especially, it’s painful to have to deal with that much plastic waste. Materials like ABS and PLA can technically be recycled, but it can be difficult to recycle them at commercial facilities as they’re not marked. PLA is technically biodegradable, but can contain harmful additives and only really biodegrades in heavy-duty commercial composting facilities.
So what’s to be done with all that plastic? The only real answer is to use it, and use it again. Felfil Srl, formerly known as Collettivo Cocomeri, is an Italian startup that began in a Polytechnic University of Turin graduate program. The Felfil filament extruder started as a Master’s thesis and eventually went on to become a successful project. A Kickstarter campaign in 2015 successfully launched the Felfil Evo, the updated version of the machine, after the files for the original open source extruder were downloaded more than 2,000 times.
More than two years later, Felfil is thriving. The filament extruder is capable of extruding new 3D printing material from either pellets or excess plastic, and while it’s still open source, it’s also now available for sale from the company’s website. The Felfil Evo is offered in three different versions. There’s the Basic Kit, which comes with the essential parts and is designed for makers who want to customize their own machine with parts they source themselves. The Complete Kit comes with everything the user needs to assemble their own extruder, and finally the Assembled version is a fully assembled extruder for those who don’t want to mess around with their own assembly.
- Basic: €299 (including VAT), $304 (excluding VAT)
- Complete: €599 (including VAT), $610 (excluding VAT)
- Assembled: €719 (including VAT), $732 (excluding VAT)
The Felfil Evo is a compact, safe, easy to use machine made from durable, high-quality components. It’s automated by an Arduino-compatible electronics board, which makes it customizable.
Felfil’s Kickstarter campaign in 2015 was named by the online magazine StartupItalia as one of the best Italian crowdfunding campaigns of the year, and its backers certainly seemed to agree, raising nearly €45,000 in 30 days. Since putting the Felfil Evo on the market, the company has paid careful attention to feedback from users, improving the filament extruder according to their suggestions as it has gone along. The result is an even better, more professional machine that can be used to create custom recycled filament.
Plastic waste is obviously a big problem in the world today; it should tug at the conscience of any 3D printer user that more of it is being created by their activities. If everyone had a filament extruder like the Felfil Evo, it would make a huge difference in reducing the amount of plastic waste generated by 3D printing. Not to mention, saving your filament scraps and using them to make new filament is a great way to save money – filament costs add up quickly. Try saving your filament scraps and failed prints for even a week, and notice how much material you have. Imagine using that material to create a new print rather than throwing it away – it makes a big difference, both to your wallet and to the environment.
The Felfil Evo is easy both to assemble and to use, and it’s built to last out of sturdy aluminum. Felfil offers tutorials on how to assemble the Evo, as well as plenty of other information, on its Facebook and YouTube sites.
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.[Images: Felfil]
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