One of the most common complaints you hear against 3D printing is that there is so much waste when trying to make a print. Especially in the case where you need to build small objects. Then there are failed prints, purge blocks, and support materials. All these only add to the waste when 3D printing.
But what if there was a way to recycle these waste products and turn them back into usable filament? It saves you money, time, and space. That is what Felfil Evo does.
In this guide, we will walk you through this incredible innovation, how to use it to make your own filament at home, and whether it is better than just buying a new filament.
Let’s get started!
Felfil manufactures everything you need in 3D printing which can take care of your plastic waste. Felfil Evo, one of their open-source project, deals exactly with this. Their products such as the Shredder, Spooler, and Evo Extruder allow you to get into custom filament making at home, even as a novice.
The Felfil Evo is really well made, thinking about its user in mind. The chamber and nozzles are specifically built to ensure high quality and reliability. The electronic board on it is compatible with Arduino. It controls the temperature and includes pre-sets for different materials. The box comes with an anodized aluminum case which is sturdy and keeps everything together.
It supports both 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm diameters of filament. To alter the size, all you have to do is change the nozzle.
They currently offer four different color variants—yellow transparent, transparent, white, or black. We really liked the idea of a transparent version. The fact that you can see what’s happening inside the machine is mesmerizing. It’s also convenient to notice anything wrong inside.
Depending on which version and bundle you bought from Felfil, you may need zero to minimal setup. There are three versions of Evo –
- Evo Assembled
- Evo Basic Kit
- Evo Complete Kit
The assembled version comes with all the parts, well, assembled for you so that you can start working right away. The basic kit provides you with only the essential parts which means you need to buy some other parts yourself. The complete kit gives you everything you need to start extruding but you need to assemble them from scratch.
If you choose the Assembled kit, the setup is fairly straightforward. Plug the power brick into the extruder and tighten the screw. Then connect it to an AC power line. After that, turn the switch on the extruder. The display should light up and show you the current temperature. Rotating the knob beside will let you change the temperature.
How To Make Your Own Filament at Home?
Now’s the most exciting part—we’re going to see how you can make your own filament at home using Felfil Evo.
So once you’ve done all the setting up, proceed to the next step.
- First, you need to try out the extruder using the PLA(Polylactic Acid) that you’re supposed to receive with the machine. Find the bag full of black shards-like objects.
- For PLA, you need to set the temperature to 180°C. Do so and wait for it to reach the correct temperature.
- After the heating reaches the right level, set its RPM to 6.
- Pour in the whole bag of PLA.
- Wait for the extruder to turn the PLA into a filament. It can take a while before you start seeing any progress. So be patient about it.
- The first time you see the filament coming out from the nozzle, it may get stuck there. Use a tool to change the direction of the filament to avoid this.
This bag of PLA works as a cleaning material for any metal particulates in the brand-new device. The filament you get from it may not be usable with a 3D printer. But it allows you to test the extruder for the first time, experiment with it, and see if you have all the settings correct.
After you have gone through this somewhat “onboarding” process, you can now start extruding materials for regular printing. The process remains the same. You only need to adjust the temperature and the RPM for the specific type of plastic. You should refer to their manual to learn more about this.
An important tip is to keep your extruder at the edge of your table or desk. That’s where it works the best. If your filament is too thick, try increasing its temperature a little bit(3-5°C). If you’re getting thinner filament than expected, try decreasing the temperature.
How To Recycle Failed 3D Print With Felfil Evo?
One of the goals of this innovation was to recycle failed prints and support materials to make them usable again. So let’s see how you can recycle your failed 3D print using the Felfil Evo.
Before you start though, you need to confirm that you’re using fresh PLA from production. If not, then you need to dry it. You can use a food dryer. This removes any moisture present in them which could potentially ruin the extrusion quality.
- First, you need to turn the waste material into bite-sized pieces. For that, you can either use a shredder(Felfill has its own) or a kitchen blender. Make sure to make them small, about 8 mm. You don’t need to worry if the pieces aren’t all the same size.
- Set your Felfil Evo up and set the temperature between 180-190°C. According to Felfil, this is the optimal range for PLA extrusion. Wait for the heat to reach that level.
- Pour all the chopped pieces into the extruder hopper. Continue pouring until the tank becomes full.
- Next, you have to adjust the motor speed. For 1.75 mm filament, the recommended RPM is 6/7 while for 2.85 mm it’s 8/9.
- With everything completed so far, you can now start extruding. If you have the Felfil spooler, use that to collect the filament that comes out of the nozzle. Otherwise, keep the machine at the edge of where you put it. This allows the filament to make a spiral once it reaches the floor.
- You can use a caliper to measure the size of the product to make sure everything is going smoothly.
- You can tweak the RPM and the temperature to get specific results.
- To make your results even better, you can mix some fresh PLA with the waste part.
Once you get the filament, try using it with your 3D printer. With Felfil Evo, your failed prints just received a second life which would’ve gone to waste otherwise.
Felfil Evo can be a great addition to your laboratory or hobby items as a 3D printing enthusiast. And if you’re simultaneously a researcher, teacher, or environment specialist, you can use this tool to experiment for a better world.
Two of the target audiences of Felfil were FabLabs and MakerSpace users. They can reuse wasted plastic to create original objects and save money in the process. This also enables them to work on new ideas and make more innovations.
Researchers can use this in the laboratory to study new materials, experiment with their features, and create new applications for them. The Evo and Spooler bundle can be used for prototyping purposes.
Students can learn about 3D printing, recycling, additive manufacturing, and other new technologies thanks to Felfil Evo.
Before giving a verdict, let’s see what we’ve found so far about the Felfil Evo.
- It can extrude plastic successfully.
- It’s super slow
- It doesn’t give you consistent results. You will likely not get the same diameter of filament even in a single strand. Of course, you can tweak the temperature to get a thicker or thinner product, but that’s a bit cumbersome.
- The motor shuts off when the machine reaches a certain level of current draw. This can happen several times in one extrusion session.
So overall, it has its good and bad sides. If you expect a tool that works out of the box with only some button presses and then produces a good chunk of filament, then Felfil Evo may disappoint you. Because it still hasn’t reached that level.
If you’re more of an experiment-oriented person who loves material science or you have your makerspace, then this might be a tool worth looking into. Again, not for producing high-quality filament but to see the results, test and tweak the outcome to see its limits.
We’ve gone through the major aspects of Felfil Evo in this guide. We also covered how you can extrude recycled plastic using it and its research potential.
The goal of this article is to let you know whether you should get your hands on this product or not. And we’ve discussed that earlier on. Of course, the final choice is yours. If you think you can tolerate some of its shortcomings in order to create your own filament at home, we don’t see any harm in buying it.
Have any questions about Felfil Evo? Let us know in the comments below.