Filabot Filament Review: DIY Filament Extruder
If you care about the environmental impact of 3D printing, you should know about this company. Filabot specializes in filament and filament extruders so that you can recycle your own plastic into filament at home.
These Vermonters are so dedicated to environmental friendliness that they have even sell their waste filament for a few dollars per spool. That’s probably the best deal in the entire filament industry.
One of the most important trends in the 3D printing industry is the trend towards more green, sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of producing plastic products. Many people are interested in finding low emissions plastics and recycling their own plastic waste to make filament.
This is where Filabot comes into the picture. Filabot is a small, young company from the Green Mountains in Vermont that is still finding its footing in the 3D printing industry.
But it is one of the only filament producers almost completely dedicated to environmentally conscious 3D printing and 3D printer filament.
Filabot sources all of its raw plastic from Natureworks, a plastics supplier known for producing environmentally conscious plastics. Filabot also aims to propel 3D printing into the next phase of fully personalized production by giving customers the ability to produce their own filament from recycled plastic products found at home.
While home filament production has been criticized by a few respected members of the reprap community, Filabot’s mission is to make home filament extrusion the industry standard.
Filabot does this by offering a range of filament extruders and spool winders for individuals and businesses to allow them to make their own filament. You can use these extruders to grind up old milk jugs, make filament out of old plastic toys, TV remote controls, most kinds of plastic containers and disposable plastic objects found around your home.
Who Owns Filabot?
In 2013, Tyler McNaney launched a successful kickstarter campaign to raise around $32,000 for what would become Filabot. This wasn’t quite enough funding, so he kicked in about $20,000 of his own money to get the whole thing up and running.
But now the company is humming along and improving every month. Tyler and a small team of young engineers are quickly becoming leaders in the home filament extruder industry.
Filabot Filament Quality
The amazing prices of Filabot filaments and high quality standards put them in strong competition with other budget Filament companies such as Inland / Micro Center filament. Right now, Filabot doesn’t have the color range that other filament producers offer.
But that will changing in the future. Importantly, because Filabot is a smaller, more flexible company devoted to research and development of environmentally friendly filament, you can expect that the quality of their filaments will be improving and the color range expanding over the next few years.
Prints: Strength and Texture
Print strength and texture are very good. Filabot is constantly trying new plastics and experimenting with different properties including print strength and surface texture.
They recently upgraded some of their plastics, including a new type of PLA that has higher strength and durability.
The prints that can be made with it tend to be pretty much what you want from a PLA with a little bit more strength than some of the cheaper PLA plastics available. The other types of filament they offer are also very good including the PETG, which is quickly becoming a customer favorite.
Quality and Materials
You might be wondering if the quality of a small batch filament producer like Filabot would stand up to the consistency and manufacturing expertise of larger filament producers. The answer is that Filabot is a good quality filament producer.
Due to the fact that Filabot makes its own extruders, it has perfected the engineering of filament extrusion. As a result, the quality of the filament Filabot makes from the raw plastic pellets from Natureworks is high.
The quality of its filaments is also very important for selling its extruders and vice versa.
The quality of their filament indicates the quality of the extruders they make and the quality of the extruders they make indicate the quality of their filament.
For the past few years, Filabot has been selling two types of PLA from Natureworks. But just this summer, Filabot phased out its 4043D grade PLA filament for 3D850 PLA grade filament, which has better strength, color, and higher heat deformation point at around 144ºC.
This is a great improvement for Filabot and signals that they are taking their filament sales as seriously as their desktop extruder sales.
One thing that Filabot does that a lot of other filament companies don’t do is offer their imperfect filaments for sale in their bargain bin. You can find a lot of spools that didn’t meet the standards for sale for one reason or another but that are perfectly fine to print with.
Usually the problem is something inconsequential, such as the fact that filament isn’t quite the right color or the spool isn’t wound well. But the PLA is still perfectly good and you can print whatever you want with it.
The best part is that, being in the bargain bin, these spools of PLA will be discounted heavily.
The ABS from Filabot is a great ABS filament. It meets all the standards of other filament producers and it’s cheaper by a mile.
It’s strength and color are very pleasing and when it comes to ABS on a budget you find anything better.
Now the one thing to keep in mind is that because it is so cheap and recycled that it might be lower quality than other ABS filaments. But the low prices make up for it.
And Filabot comes from a small shop and is a generally good filament and good reputation, so you can trust it.
Filabot PETG is a nice addition to their filament line up. However, it’s not always as cheap as their other filaments.
Their popular filaments are definitely PLA and abs, so the PETG is not produced as consistently available.
That means that you might need to be a bit persistent in order to get it. Look for PETG on their website and Amazon.
However they do take single batch calls and also large orders. It will take Filabot around 4 days to fulfill the orders.
All of that being said, the PETG from Filabot is great and like all PETG filament, it has the benefits of both ABS and PLA.
It is strong like ABS but doesn’t have the smell. It is as easy to print with as PLA and great for making functional parts like light switches or gears.
Filabot is an environmentally friendly filament producer that strives to bring 3d printer community closer to an environmentally sustainable future. While the core of the business is built around manufacturing home desktop 3D filament extruders, Filabot also sells cheap, good quality filament for absurdly low prices.
You can often find spools of Filabot filament for under $15. While the range of specialty materials that filament sells isn’t as extensive as other filament producers, you can still find PLA and ABS, as well as PETG and a few other nice materials to work with.
And since the prices are rock bottom, you can be sure that filabot filament won’t break the bank.
Filabot is a great filament supplier to start with if you are learning how to use your 3D printer or just looking to support and environmentally friendly business. Click here to get your first role of Filabot filament through Amazon.com.