DIY Filament: The Filabot Wee

filabotwee

Now there’s yet another option for making your own 3D printer filament: the Filabot Wee. It looks like their once open source model that they pulled from Thinigiverse earlier this year has received a significant makeover, though we aren’t sure what parts may have changed. (EDIT: Filabot says the Wee is still open source, and that once they’ve updated the files they will be available again.)

As you would expect, the Wee has a PID temperature controller and is capable of extruding both ABS and PLA pellets into either 1.75mm or 3mm-diameter filament. Speed varies depending on materials and thickness, but can reach 5 to 20 inches per minute of filament extrusion. Though the Filabot gang is selling the extruder as a kit, you can probably save a few bucks if you have access to a laser cutter and some other basic materials.

You should expect to spend more for Filabot parts ($649) than you would for the original Lyman extruder, though perhaps a more fair comparison would be the new third version of the Lyman extruder, whose bill of materials approaches $900. Considering Lyman’s recent comments that indicate an extrusion rate of 40-50 inches per minute, the extra bucks may be worth it. You can check out a demonstration video of the Filabot Wee after the break.

24 thoughts on “DIY Filament: The Filabot Wee

  1. Life is too short… couldn’t get past the “set the temperature” portion. :D Just kidding.
    The more at-home filament makers, the better.

  2. How exactly is this comparable to Lyman’s (direct pull, water-cooled) extruder?

    Perhaps a more fitting comparison is the Filastruder, which at $259 is less than half the cost of the Wee.

    1. The Wee is rediculous expensive. It has the same electronics as the Filastruder except for the welded metal hopper and the aluminium block with a hole in it for a pin heater. This heater is the same price as the heater used in Filastruder. 5-7€ on ebay.

      Overall it is not faster nor better then the Filastruder. It was just “available” before the Filastruder lunched. Filastruder mechanical parts are much easier to get (Aluminium heater block) and it does the same.

      And come on, for 650 $ you get 2 TwoUp QU-BD 3D printers or a Prusa i3.
      The complete BOM is about 100$ +/-15$.

      1. And I think the fellow HaD reader does not have two left hands to be not able to rebuild this think. Besides there are “tons” of consturction manuals floating the internet highway.

      2. We tried to price the system at the lowest cost that we could do. It is much faster then the filastruder, pumping out great filament at 10ipm to 20ipm.

        Also the open source BOM adds up to around $375 for parts along, then labor is added on.

    1. Commercial extrusion lines increase or decrease the puller motor speed based on feedback from the diameter readers to keep that diameter within tolerance of the product. Lyman is almost there (empty puller motor switch opening on panel)

      Now if someone can make a non contact laser unit to measure the diameter that doesn’t break the bank, the extrusion line would be complete :P

      1. Apologies if “pulled” carried with it too negative a connotation in my article: a commenter on the Thingiverse page had replied “Apparently not open source anymore” back in February of this year, and the download button reads “unavailable.”

        That said, I’ve thrown in an edit to reflect the incoming updates. Thanks for letting us know =)

  3. It’s like a meat girder or pasta maker, but for plastic! That’s ace :-)

    What’s it sound like? Silly music instead of actual machine sounds. :-(

    1. At me already accumulated two 5kg boxes with not so successful printed details from experimental RC planes and robots which I don’t throw out because they probably still will be able to be useful somehow. But it would be much more reasonable to let them in “melting” and to keep only in the form of CAD models. And much cheaper leaves, and that the price of the plastic used for all the time while I use the printer already more, than the cost of the printer.

    2. Probably it is possible somehow to try to place this or similar extruder in a form factor of the standard coil with plastic. That it was compatible to any model of being made models of printers and that in them it was possible to use and ordinary coils (for example with thermoplastic composites), and grinder for plastic would be the “external” device instead of an extruder. It would be convenient.

    1. Yes, it is completely possible to use for extruding of the filament the same hotend, which is used for for printing. Especially for 1.75 mm filament. But you need to rework a bit extruder mechanism to make it be able to process pellets granules or plastic powders, like here – reprap(dot)org(slash)wiki(slash)GranuleExtruder. Yes, for direct printing this filament is not very good, probably, because of air bubbles and so on. But if you will use it as source for printing, and process pellets in grinder to thin enough powder, their quality should be better and completely acceptible for printing.

  4. If someone intrested in creating this kind of extruder (small plastic powder extruder in form-factor of standard 0,75kg filament coil), please vote here – quirky(dot)com(slash)invent(slash)764285. I understand that this is a shame for true hacker, but I’m just hobbiyst, and my skills is not enough to complete this project, but I’m completely sure, that two-step schema utilizes two standard 3D-printer extruders (first with worm-gear, vibro-motors and plastic powder as a source, and second – standard printing extruder) should work. May be I’m wrong. These are a lot of qualified engeneers and experts on quirky, who can determine this, it will be interesting to hear what they think about this.

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