Based on the current prices of 3D printers and the spooled filaments that they consume, a busy maker could spend more on filament in a year than what was spent on the printer. That’s why there have been several filament extruders developed recently. Plastic pellets cost significantly less than filament, so even with factoring in the electricity required to extrude it, it’s still way cheaper to make your own filament. If you buy the pellets in bulk, it’s even possible to sell the filament for a decent profit. Though, it does take some time to extrude filament, so unless you have several extruders it’ll be difficult to meet your filament needs and have more to sell. With the ExtrusionBot on Kickstarter, however, you can produce more than you’ll need because it’s the fastest extruder yet.
I’ll add the caveat that this is not a “volume production” extruder; its normal runtime is 4+/- hours. However, it’s been tested for much longer periods. And it gets a lot done in any period, upwards of 4 feet per minute! By my calculations, which involve rounding, the ExtrusionBot can produce nearly 1kg of filament in 4 hours. Holy extrusion Batman! What’s more, it automatically spools the filament, works with ABS and PLA in 1.75mm and 3mm, and it has a small footprint of 7” x 10”. Making your own filament also allows the creation of custom-colored and multi-colored filament.
The ExtrusionBot is certainly the most capable filament extruder that’s soon to be available, which is why it met its $10,000 goal in three days. Kits are available for $365 and a fully assembled one will run you $625. Both are a good deal and will pay for themselves in no time.