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Making High Quality Recycled 3D Printer Filament
Where possible, recycled materials will be used to produce our 3D printer filament, in accordance with ISO 14021:2016;
Post-consumer recycled material: Material generated by households or by commercial, industrial and institutional facilities in their role as end-users of the product which can no longer be used for its intended purpose. This includes returns of material from the distribution chain.
Pre-consumer recycled material: Material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process.
A careful selection criteria is in place in order to guarantee quality, consistent waste streams. We use both post-consumer waste – for example recycled PET bottles to produce our ONE PET filament, as well as post-industrial waste – such as material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process, which is how we produce our PLA filament.
Plastic filament for 3D printers is produced by a process known as plastic extrusion. This process starts by feeding plastic material (pellets, granules, flakes or powders) from a hopper into the barrel of the extruder. The material is gradually melted by the mechanical energy generated by turning screws and by heaters arranged along the barrel. The molten polymer is then forced into a die, which shapes the polymer into the shape of filament – typically either 1.75mm or 2.85mm in diameter. The extrusion work is currently outsourced to our specialist producer who are able to guarantee quality, consistency and manufacturing at scale.
All feedstock streams are meticulously checked to ensure homogeneity. During extrusion, filament is measured by lasers from 2-axes, with an alarm bell sounding if the diameter falls outside our high standards. Filament is then wound onto bulk spools for visual inspection before it is put onto the individual spools to be packaged. Each batch produced undergoes a rigorous 3D printing test; if we’re not happy with the print quality then it won’t leave the factory, simple as.
This results in:
- NO loss of mechanical properties
- ±0.05mm diameter tolerances
- Minimum of 95% roundness
We don’t just stop at the filament itself – we also use 100% recyclable cardboard spools as well as recyclable cardboard packaging. Sustainability is key to our business model and we continue to reduce our environment impact with new products and initiatives.