Filament maker Beta

One of the promising things you can do with the extrusion machine is making 3d printer filament. This technology is emerging rapidly and will soon hit developing countries as well. It fits very well to the Precious Plastic vision of setting up a small local production.

But there is still a lot to figure out in this area. Printers are improving, they get more flexible on what thickness goes in and other types of plastic are being used more and more. As a start we want to deliver a solid line of plastic with an fixed diameter.

There are already some machines out there for this purpose, but we are aiming to make it suited for productions, not only individuals. Together with vanalleswatontwerp we developed a filament maker. An add-on for the extrusion machine to produce your own filament from plastic waste. Its still in beta because we want to do more tests/work with more types of plastic/make it more efficient and improve the documentation. However it works good and you can already start making filament. We have fully tested ABS, PLA, PP, HDPE

Download the blueprints here
Go here to make the extrusion machine

I have been working for several months on a similar project.
At the end, I decided to go for an extruder with only 1 heating band (similar to Lymans extruder). After several tests trying to make PLA filament, it seems like the only way to get an accurate filament width is to have an automatic winding mechanism, which lead me to purchase a filawinder (that I just received last week).
Initially, I wanted to build my own filawinder-like machine but it turns out that building my own was much more expensive than just buying the one commercially available.
I’m currently just waiting for a missing part to be delivered to finally start testing again.

I’d really like to know what is the largest diameter of filament which an extruder like this could possibly make in PET. Could it go to 10mm maybe?

If so, what would be the radius it would bend to ? In other words, how big would the spool need to be?

you could use any printer as long it’s PLA, ABS, … waste and your winder and filament laser gauge is upgraded to latest (search youtube and robodigg). I think there is still quite some work ahead to make the PP extruder (industrial screw) making suitable filament – that is my stand  – investigating PP machinery. The PP v3, v4 extruder filament presets – are in progress and should see the light near November, so please hang on, it’s coming, together with PET & PETG printing machinery.



Hi there Dave,


We recently joined your community and are exploring the options to make a full PP workshop here in the western cape. We have contact now with a machine builder in Cape Town and are visiting him this week to have a look at the shredder, extrusion machine, etc. He doesn’t have experience with this (yet) but I think we want to add this as well.


Regarding the filament maker, can you advise on what kind of 3d printer you use that can be fed with the recycled plastic filament?


Kind regards,



great, how are the print results ? just asking because if it’s usable, I’d polish the instructions and put it in the library and start building it 🙂
thanks for sharing,

Hi, I think there is an error :
b. The filament is too thin >i. (preferably) the caterpillar is moving too fast causing the filament tostretch too much, slow down the caterpillar by turning the knobcounterclockwise.ii. (alternatively) decrease the extruder RPM
I think it will be increase

Updated URL:

Something is wrong with this link I cannot see nothing

Hi There
Is it possible to make crystal clear PET filament for 3d printer with precious plastic extrusion machine? i need to learn the right temperature settings.

I know PET is the complex plastic type to work with. I know that pet doesn’t like wet condition , water or any contamination.

Is there anyone ever try to make pet filament yet?

I saw a video that suits my demands that Chinese extrusion machine. The filament is crystal clear and looks very nice.

Hi guys, anyone who will provide me those blueprints ? link isn’t working .

What about coding?

Can anyone tell me where I can get it?

I am in for the Filament maker! I would like to ask about the production of this filament with the latest Extruder Machine, like how much per hour and how much plastic flakes (lb) needed? Thanks a lot

I love the project and the participation of all of you! Do you recommend me XXXoliverXXX build or buy machine? I do not have tools to create so easy. What machine would you suggest? I see that you take much more evaluating the returns so that in truth I would value your opinion.

Hi all,

we are also now finishing the extruder and our aim is to use it as filament maker. Based on other videos, tutorials, many people have used 2 variations compared to Dave’s one.

1. Only 1 heating element + insulation
2. When cooling, a small water bath.

We are planning to go with Dave’s proposal (already got some mica band heaters – ouch…) and the controllers, but will try to use the bath method to cool the filament.

Regarding the caterpillar and arduino approach, it would be nice to have a cheaper even more manual approach but still havent decided. Any proposals are welcome…

As soon as we are there will let you know.


Have you already tried extruding plastic bottles ? How was it?

@ xxxolivierxxx
how is your process going on? Success?

Hello everybody 😀 at the moment I am trying to build the filament maker, I want to use the arduino code included in the files provided by Dave for the catterpilar puller, but I can’t get it to work because of compiling error 🙁 I have very little knowledge in programming so I don’t know what went wrong, did anybody have the same problem?

edit: there is one folder in libraries called “ClickEncoder” but the files inside are “Encoder.h” and “Encoder.cpp”. I tried to rename them to “ClickEncoder.h” and “ClickEncoder.cpp” but still getting error. I tried to change the string “ClickEncoder” in the arduino code to “Encoder” but get errors too.

edit 2: nevermind i solve the problem, seems the Encoder library included in the zip file was the different one than ClickEncoder, download the correct one and voila 😉

RAMPS is an arduino-based package of electronics designed specifically for 3D printers such as the RepRap, and Arduino is a micro computer with a PIC microcontroller that can be programmed to do any desired tasks. None of them are needed for the extruder. And no, appropriate cooling is a must have for any 3D printer filament extruding project, sometimes even a water bath is needed to quickly cool off the filament and ensure an appropriate diameter.

how do i connect all the electronics for the add-on on the extruder, the one that is used to make filament ( ramps, ardruino etc)
Also can i skip the fans & the cooling unit and used a household table fan to lower the cost?
Anyone with electronics background please help😭

I guess the main reason for having multiple heating elements is to increase the possible extruding speed?
Or maybe reducing the required motor torque?
Other than that I don’t find any reason why you should have more than one.

If one heater can be enough this could reduce the overall build cost and size of the extrusion machine.