I often romanticize 3D printing and our industry’s hope that we can completely customize our lives with it. To some extent, 3D printing can give us incredibly customized lives, even if the only 3D printer that we have access to is a basic desktop model. But a truly customizable living space is still a ways off…unless, that is, you’re a small critter of some sort and your owner has a 3D printer.
You may remember Omnidynamics and their successfully funded Kickstarter campaign for an at-home filament maker called the Strooder. Well, one of the many benefits to making your own filament is the ability to make your own colors, shades, and even multi-color materials. Because the Strooder turns raw plastic pellets into filament, you can make objects a specific shade to match other objects in your home using what they call masterbatch pellets.
The masterbatch pellets are essentially plastic pellets loaded with a specific color ink that will dilute when all of the pellets are melted down. In order to get your desired color just put a single pellet for every 100 plain color pellets and you’ll get a smooth, solid color. And in order to get gradient or mixed colors simply add a handful of various masterbatch pellets to the raw plastic and see what comes out of the nozzle.
With that in mind, Omnidynamics decided to spice up a boring old fish tank with some multi-color tank decorations. Because raw plastic pellets cost about ¼ the price of standard spooled filament, all of their tank decorations would set you back considerably less than would comparable objects from a pet store.
“People already spend a large amount of money on fish tanks or other household items to make them personalised or bespoke, we recognise this as people need to create something truly theirs and until now it has always been expensive and never really truly unique, now with the power of 3D printing creating personalised and bespoke items. Thanks to Strooder the home can now be truly unique with colour,” explained Omnidynamics operations manager Stephen Lloyd.
Don’t worry, the fish that you see swimming around are actually little robots not actual fish, but because the parts are made of ABS they would be perfectly safe to use in a real tank. The only reason Omnidynamics went with the little robotic Nemos was because they’ll be showing off the tank at conventions, and it’s probably a lot easier to get from place to place without live fish to worry about.
The Strooder is currently available for pre-order with an expected release date this coming November. It is available for about $380, and while that may seem expensive, when you factor in the amount of money that you will save on buying pre-spooled filament it becomes a lot more affordable. Think about it, for the cost a ten spools of filament you could make your own. It can also turn certain recyclable plastic waste into filament, and you can even chop up your unwanted or failed prints and reuse the material. Anyone who 3D prints on a regular basis will be saving money on materials almost immediately.
While there are a few home filament extruders on the market today, and several more due to be released in the coming months, the Strooder is certainly one of the nicer looking entries. It looks like an actual home appliance not a piece of hardware from an industrial warehouse.