If you are like me, you probably find it quite outrageous that a simple 1 kg spool of PLA or ABS 3D printer filament can cost $30, $40, or even $50. Plastic is cheap, so why are we paying an arm and a leg every time we run out of plastic for our printers? If you do a quick search of Alibaba, you will find that pelletized ABS or PLA plastics run anywhere from as little as $1 per kg to around $8.
This is an incredible markup for plastics which are simply melted down and shaped into 1.75 or 3mm strands on a spool. This is why there have been several company launching filament extrusion machines, allowing everyday 3D printing enthusiasts like you and me to manufacturer our own filament from our garages, basements, or even living rooms.
One such company is ExtrusionBot LLC, who is based out of Chandler, AZ, and got its start after launching a Kickstarter campaign for the original ExtrusionBot extruder back in July of last year. The machine, which was affordable, reliable, relatively fast, and able to extrude up to 4 feet of filament per minute, had an incredible campaign, raising over $88,000, far exceeding their initial goal of $10,000.
Here we are, 18 months later and the company has just announced their new and improved ExtrusionBot 2 (EB2). The new machine has several interesting upgrades, and is priced close to what a cheap 3D printer would cost you, $675.
Among these upgrades are its speed. The EB2 can extrude filament close to twice as fast as its predecessor, at 6.5 feet per minute. It comes equipped with an automated touchscreen, making its interface simple to use and understand, while it can also create filament with an expanded number of plastic types including, Nylon, HDPE, LDPE, HIPS, PET, ABS and PLA.
Additional benefits of this machine include a new filament cooling mechanism, which ensures near perfect extrusion every time. For those of you with a lot of failed prints, or prints you no longer wish to keep, the 3D print recycler attachment that they call ‘The Cruncher’, will certainly come in handy.
The machine weighs just 14 pounds, and has a footprint likely smaller than that of a typical 3D printer, measuring just 13 x 9 x 6 inches in size. Further details, as well as purchasing information may be found at the ExtrusionBot website. Let us know if you have purchased this machine. Feel free to post pictures of some sample extrusions in the ExtrusionBot 2 forum thread on 3DPB.com.