How to make your own ABS fillament

Patriot

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Apr 18, 2011
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And now I would like to introduce @ttabbal :)

Since you have mentioned the possibility of extruding your own filament for $2/kg I have found a few guides at instructables on how to do that. However, when you have the time, I would like you to share your method and source of abs pellets. :)
 

ttabbal

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Mar 10, 2016
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:D

I didn't expect to see a thread like this. Sure, here's some info.. :)

I use a Filastruder to do the extrusion. I also have the winder, but it's not required. I used the extruder to make coils on the floor without any issue. I like the winder as it makes the whole thing need less space. Without it, you need about a 4 foot diameter area under the extruder with no obstructions. You also get more consistent diameter filament with the winder. I make 3mm filament, well, the nozzles come undersize so at the moment I make 2.65mm filament +/- 0.1 or so. I have some drill bits coming to enlarge the nozzle a bit, but it works well for me at 2.65. I just have to tighten the tensioner on the printer a bit. The trick is to avoid going too big, or you jam your printer.

20 lb Virgin ABS resin/Pellets for injection molding, White Polylac PA-746 <-- Oh.. didn't know the forum would get the title of the page. Fancy.

Those are the cheapest ABS pellets I've found. They extrude cleanly and print a light grey. You can also mix colorants in, but getting an even color can be tricky. The pros run it though, then chop it up and run a second time to mix it in better. You can build a setup to do that pretty cheaply. I've seen a number of people intentionally make multi-color filament instead. It makes an interesting look when printed. Kind of a tie-dye effect. ABS colorants are available in all sorts of colors from many places. They are also commonly known by the brand name Masterbatch.

The one thing I would like to be able to do that I can't right now is to recycle prints. The extruder needs small pellets to work, about 5mm^3. Shredding a part, particularly a high-infill one, requires thick steel blades and a lot of torque. I've seen some groups try to market one, but they run about $300, and are hand-cranked. A few people have tried blenders etc, but they don't do a great job and it's really hard on the blender. It's also recommended to use no more than 20% recycled plastic as it develops some issues after being cycled over and over. There have been a couple people that are working with Harbor Freight wood chippers at about $100. Maybe something will come out of that. All that combined with $2/lb ABS makes it really hard to justify personal recycling from a financial perspective. If someone has access to a laser cutter or water-jet and wants to make me some cheap blades, there are open source designs though.... :D
 
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ttabbal

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Mar 10, 2016
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Yeah, you can blend, it just doesn't work all that well in practice. It's OK for filament, or really low infill parts, but harder stuff tends to jam up or melt instead of break up. Some people had some luck using a blender with dry ice and parts.