Filabot recycles everyday plastic into 3D printer 'ink'

3D printers are the wave of the future. They allow for the at-home or highly customizable creation of real-world objects. But whether you're a hobbyist or the owner of a 3D printing business, the one thing holding you back is the same: the cost of materials.

3D printers themselves currently cost anywhere between $400 and $2,800 for desktop models. That wouldn't be so bad by itself. We'd call it "start-up cost" or "investment" and beam as we printed our very own bootleg Warhammer figurines. But then there's the cost of materials. A kilogram spool of plastic filament for your shiny, new Makerbot will run you a cool $48.

But fear not, oh 3D printing masses yearning to print free. Filabot, the world's first personal filament maker, is here. Your desktop 3D print works will be twice as productive (and infinitely more affordable) with a Filabot in the mix. That's because Filabot replaces your costly filament supply with a free, recycled one made from your own discarded plastic. You just have to chop a few old plastic bottles and feed them into the grinding unit and Filabot will process them into a uniform filament fit to feed into your printer.

Conceived of in 2011, Filabot was introduced to the world via a Kickstarter campaign that ended in January of 2012. The campaign was a resounding success, raising more than three times it's $10,000 goal. What happened next seems to have been the fate of numerous sweeping Kickstarter successes: delay. Filabot units paid for during the campaign — and promised to ship by May of 2012 — have yet to be sent out.

Yet the promise of free, recycled 3D printer filament is not lost. On December 18, Filabot HQ recieved the metal bases to construct the Kickstarter-funded units. Once those are built and shipped, Filabot creator Tyler McNaney promises to switch over to fabricating units for sale to the public. Fingers crossed that it happens soon.

Filabot, via Inhabitat

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