Extruder mod

Hi people
Since I’ve been waiting on my shredder parts to get cut (USA people: I’ve got a shop in MA I’m working with, $100 for knives and spacers only, w/1″ sq. hole.) I went ahead and jumped on the extrusion and injection machines. We don’t have any plastic ready to go yet, but we had some great early results with producing (of all things) chicken and fish pellet feed for our farm. Sawdust wood pellets are our next experiment.

To shave off costs we combined the extrusion and injection machines into one. A little more planning ahead and we would’ve built a sturdier base, but this does the job. You can see our motor centered over the base balances out most of the weight. It’s mounted upright to negotiate a leaky oil seal in our gear box. Both of these are junkyard parts.
I read a bit about heating molds and thought it was prudent to add a mold heater, hence the extra PID on the control box. Also, we built a radiant shield around the band heaters, for efficiency as much as safety. I bought 1 1/2″ ID heaters, so we made conductive shims to fit them better to our 1″ tube with split and annealed copper pipe.
All together this machine only costs us about $320 US. It takes about 10 minutes to switch over to set up as an injection molder. Worth it for us.
If anyone’s curious, the feed pellets are 2 parts black soldier fly larvae to 1 part crushed oatmeal.
Already I’ve had an issue with one of my inkbird SSRs, where it latched in the on position. Swapping the SSR solved it right away. Anyone else have this problem?
Anyone have any experience with overheating a band heater?
Still haven’t figured in any speed control. We tried a cheapo 25A SCR speed controller from amazon. It wasn’t worth the effort.

Nice work! quite inspiring to see the extruder being used for materials other than plastic… and working quite well at that.
I can’t answer any of your technical questions unfortunately… but I laughed when i saw your extruder sitting up on that frame. Looks like a gun turret, shooting feed far and wide.