Filabot Turns Scrap Plastic into Filament for 3D Printers

© Whitney Trudo / Filabot

We love 3D printing here at TreeHugger. The way the technology empowers people to be both designer and manufacturer in their own home is something we think is really important and groundbreaking. 3D printing also has the ability to make us less wasteful by letting us make exactly what we need in the place where we will use it, no settling for that thing that is close but not right and no shipping things around the world.

But we're also aware that the technology still has some not great aspects like the fact that it so far utilizes only plastic material for building objects. And then there's the potential for people to make a lot of bad designs that could lead to a lot of plastic waste headed to landfills.

That's why the Filabot, a desktop system that recycles your old plastic waste into filament for 3D printers, is being called a game changer. The system lets you turn scrap plastic into useful raw material right in your home and it's very close to being ready for market.

The Filabot can turn most types of plastic into filament, including HDPE, LDPE, PET, ABS, PLA and NYLON-101. That means the machine can turn most plastic waste you might have around your house into a building material. Things like milk jugs, soda or water bottles, trays, plastic wraps, water pipes, luggage, packaging, biodegradable plastics and even Legos can become something new.

This also means that 3D printed projects gone wrong can also be fed into the Filabot to be made again, giving more room for trial and error without the fear of creating lots of plastic waste.

This system lets us imagine a future where we're not only 3D printing replacements or repair parts for our things instead of throwing them away, but using waste plastic to in the process.

Filabot had a successful Kickstarter campaign last year where supporters paid $350 to get a first run version of these machines and the team is slowly working out kinks to get them out to public, though no official price has been released yet.

You can watch a video on the Filabot below and keep up with the team's progress over at the website where they tackle things like inconsistencies in the recycled filament and more while getting it ready for the public.

Tags: Do It Yourself | Gadgets | Recycling | Technology