How-To: Homemade Plastics Recycler / Extruder

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. psmay says:

    Sounds like it could be the Mr. Fusion of the RepRap world.

  2. psmay says:

    Sounds like it could be the Mr. Fusion of the RepRap world.

  3. AMalePoet says:

    I have more of a question. Could this be hacked into a Maker Bot for “green” 3D printing? 

    1. Caleb Jamison says:

      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.

  4. Anonymous says:

    sooo.. I could use this to make a 3d printer?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Would the fumes pose a (serious) hazard?  

    1. Caleb Jamison says:

      That depends on the type of plastic, any plastics used in 3d printers should be safe, as this is a similar processes at least as far as the plastic is concerned.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ya know, I wonder if a crayon could work just as well for artistic pieces?  

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is fantastic. In the future we will recycle things into new things at home!

  8. Eran Gal-Or says:

    Looks cool!

    How accurate is the filament diameter during long extrusions? 

  9. David Matthew Dalleinne says:

    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..

  10. Matt says:

    how do you make it?

  11. Craig says:

    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!

  12. RBM Plastics and Extrusions says:

    Awesome Post…I am pleased to research the whole content of this blog site and am very excited and pleased to say that the webmaster has done a very outstanding job here to put all everything content and information at one place.

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

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 My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan
Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).