Thing of the Moment is where I find something of interest to print, either useful or fun!
Building your own 3D printer is fantastic. You learn all there is to know about it and how to fix it should something go wrong. Most people out there can probably build a Prusa Mendel with a little bit of time and patience. There are however two parts of a 3D printer that I feel are the most difficult to produce for people wanting to get into 3D printing. Firstly is the hot-end – which often requires some metal turning on a lathe. Second is the extruder – or more specifically the ‘hobbed’ nut of the extruder. While it is possible to make a hobbed nut with a Dremel like tool – it is time consuming and fiddly. Now there is an alternative.
A user on Thingiverse – profezzorn – has modified a Wade’s extruder to use nothing more then a Dremel #196 bit.
The Dremel #196 bit
Tools position in the extruder
Unlike a hand made hobbed nut this will have precisely spaced teeth and given that it is meant for cutting anything from wood to soft metals – it should have a good bite into the filament. Just be careful not to tighten it too much it might go through!
profezzorn’s Thingiverse Page
Dremel #196 Cutter
3D printers are great. You can design almost anything and have a copy of it within hours. That is if you have the filament to print with. At the moment you have to order filament from a (normally) mail order source and that takes time. Step in ‘Filabot’.
Manufacture you own
A while a go – I missed it at the time – there was a Kickstarter campaign to help the dream of manufacturing your own filament at home come true. Now the project has been funded and the final steps seem to be near. There has been an update to their website giving out the details of 3 versions of the Filabot and one version of the – yet un-named – grinder.
Filabot Wee – this is the kit version, it doesn’t have the grinder and will rely on pre-munched plastic or pellets. Probably the cheapest of the lot as you will have one build it yourself. Great to see how it all works though.
Filabot Core – the built one. This seems to be a built version of the Wee, still lacking the grinder but gains an enclosure as well as working straight out of the box.
Filabot Reclaimer – totally complete and with the grinder. If you have wanted on use up those old prints or HDPE milk bottles straight out the box then this is the one for you. totally enclosed and with a carbon filter, which I assume is to help with those nasty smells from some plastics – I’m looking at you ABS!
Grinding your way to success
The first two variants don’t have a grinder so you would either have to use pellets or buy the extra grinder attachment and grind up separately.
The team at Filabot seem to have also found some form of conductive filament, this is interesting for anyone wanting to print out their own PCBs. My only thought on this is how much resistance there is in the filament, I look forward to being able to buy some and put it to the test!