One of the biggest concerns about the expanding consumer based 3D printing market, seems to be with the large amounts of plastic filament being purchased, used, and then likely thrown into a land fill. Over the past several months, we have seen many possible solutions to this growing problem, such as biodegradable plastics and alternate materials being used. One Seattle woman by the name of Liz Havlin, has recently teamed up with designer Hugh Lyman, to introduce their solution to this growing problem.
Havlin plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign shortly, to fund a project she feels will not only preserve the environment, but also allow hobbyists to drastically cut down on their filament expenses. The Legacy Filament Extruder is an open source extruder, made mainly of 3D printed parts, which can be built at a relatively low cost. The way the Legacy Extruder works, is you feed plastic from soda bottles into the machine; it melts the plastic down, extrudes it in the shape of 3D printer filament, and then wraps it into a spool for you put directly into your printer.
Such a device could drastically cut down on wasted plastics, help make recycling fun, and save a ton of money for those who purchase filament. The price of filament can range anywhere from $20-$50 per kilogram.
Havlin didn’t start the project thinking it would be open source, but she soon found out that opening the technology up to everyone was the best route to take.
“After it became apparent that investors were only interested in acquiring the IP (intellectual property) in order to stop me from manufacturing the machines, I decided this was better developed as an Open Source Kickstarter Project,” Havlin explained.
Liz and her team will offer several different rewards on their Kickstarter campaign, which includes the following:
- Backers who spend $499, will get the complete kit to build the Legacy, except for the 3D printed parts, which they can print themselves.
- Backers who spend $599, will get a complete kit, including the 3D printed parts
- Backers who spend $699, will get a fully assembled Legacy Filament Extruder.
The very fact that this is open source and constructed with mostly 3D printed parts, could lead to widespread, fast paced innovation within the recycled plastic to filament market. Havlin will seek $30,000 for the development of this device, from the Kickstarter community. She also has stated that for every five extruders that are pledged for, they will send one extruder to a place in need, such as the Protoprint, The Plastic Bank, and places in Africa. Check out the Legacy Filament Extruder forum thread for more details and discussion. The placeholder for the Kickstarter project can be seen here.
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