Plastic filament extrusion system for use with a 3D printer Eldridge, Dale; Whitton, Zack
The objective of this project was to produce plastic filament suitable for use with RepRap 3D printers from raw plastic pellets or recycled plastic waste for the UBC Rapid student team. The specifications for the filament required that it be of similar quality to commercial filaments, smooth and with minimal bubbles with a constant diameter of about 3mm. To accomplish this end, a prototype plastic extruder was designed, constructed and tested. The prototype was tested running at different speeds and temperatures to determine a good operating point. The investigation showed that extrusion of plastic filament of comparable quality to commercial filaments is possible with careful operation. The diameter is the most critical feature and is dependent on the rate at which the filament is drawn away from the die as well as a steady input to the heating pipe. With an outfeed mechanism, the filament could be drawn at constant rate to form a constant diameter. The prototype showed several ways in which extrusion could be made more efficient in later designs. The recommendations leading from the testing of the prototype include isolation of the hopper from the heating area to prevent clogging by partially melted plastic and lengthening the heating area to allow for full melting of the plastic and steady flow to extrude for homogeneous filaments.
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