Today on Adafruit’s weekly live 3D Hangouts, we will be sharing a guide and video featuring DIY 3D printing filament and print recycling. Here’s a quick roundup of other DIY 3D Filament stories that caught our interest to whet your appetite!
One of my favorite DIY filament stories is the invention of the low cost, open source DIY Lyman Filament Extruder by 83 year old Hugh Lyman. Hugh, a retiree with 8 patents to his name from a career in the technology industry, created his filament extruder as a part of the Desktop Factory Competition. The competition tasked participants with creating a an open source filament extruder for less than $250 in components, designed for transforming raw PLA and ABS pellets into 1.75mm diameter 3D printer filament with a tolerance of ± 0.05 mm to be wrapped onto a 1kg spool.
He was not discouraged after his first version was disqualified (his use of machine tools to fabricate his own parts would raise the BOM to over $250 for those without free access to such a shop). He went back into development and completed a second unit in time to win. He is currently up to a v5 for the Lyman Filament Extruder (see the video above), and you can see the video and photos below to see the v2 extruder that won the Desktop Factory Competition.
Here’s an excerpt from an article from Time.com that presents an overview of the invention and launch of the Lyman Filament Extruder at the moment that the original Desktop Factory Competition wrapped up – How an 83-Year-Old Inventor Beat the High Cost of 3D Printing:
“After I retired in 1996, I started doing some inventing,” says Lyman, whose creations include a table-top gizmo which binds stacks of loose paper into pads. “I designed a few products, and I had them made on a 3D printer….and then I forgot about it.” Years later, he learned about kits for building low-cost desktop 3D printers. He built one, and then another and then another. And he’s used them to print everything from bracelets for his wife to statues of Aphrodite for friends to parts for his inventions.
When Lyman heard about the Desktop Factory Competition, he was instantly intrigued, in part because he’d benefit if the problem it set out to address was solved. “Every time I buy a couple of pounds of filament, it costs me forty to fifty bucks,” he explains. “I was burning through it pretty fast.” He also shared the contest organizers’ vision of pervasive, democratized manufacturing: “I would think that at least half the homes in the world will eventually have a 3D printer.”
Lyman describes himself as an “undergraduate engineer” — he studied engineering from 1948-1953 at the University of Utah, but didn’t earn a degree. Though he holds eight patents, he says he’s “not educated enough to be able to do calculations of torque and so forth.” So implementing his contest entry “was trial and error. I tinkered with it and used common sense.”
…With either Lyman Extruder, you fill a hopper with plastic pellets, then flip a switch to turn on a heater. The contraption melts the pellets, then squeezes the resulting molten plastic into filament which emerges from a nozzle and coils on the floor….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the LulzBot TAZ – Open source 3D Printer and the Printrbot Simple Metal 3D Printer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!