3D Printing & Imaging
How-To: Homemade Plastics Recycler / Extruder

Interesting homemade tool from Instructables user Random_Canadian. The melt chamber consists of a length of 3/4″ iron pipe, the piston head is an off-the-shelf socket wrench, and the piston rod is a socket extension. A temperature controller, a couple of eBay cartridge heaters, a few tufts of fiberglass insulation, and some odds ‘n’ ends make for a heating system. And a brass hose barb serves as the extrusion nozzle.

Bits of recyclable thermoplastics go in the end of the pipe, and continuous extruded filament comes out the other end. I wonder if RepRap-style FDM printers, which accept plastic filament as feedstock, could use this garage-recycled material?

28 thoughts on “How-To: Homemade Plastics Recycler / Extruder

    1. I would think that directly mounting this to the maker bot/reprap/whatever would be a bad idea. Instead, you would want to extrude the recycled plastic into filament and then print with that. A 3d printer relies on a very consistent diameter to the plastic for a good print.

  1. i wonder if you can add color to it …the way they add colour with a sharpie to 3mm plastic for the 3d printers…just milk a sharpie for enoguh to colour a batch…then use in a ultimaker or reprap…and move to hati or india  and become a king..

  2. This is a wonderful idea. extruding into water would keep the diameters more consistent I’d think. Been wanting a makerbot but put off at the expense of the filaments….just another case of printer manufacturers offering cheap tech, and then having to sell your soul to purchase the consumables. Where is the metal makerbot?? That’s what I’m waiting for!

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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