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RepRapable Recyclebot: Open Source 3D-Printable Extruder

RepRapable Recyclebot: Open Source 3D-Printable Extruder

A recyclebot, AKA a waste plastic extruder, capable of making commercial quality 3D printing filament.

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Components and supplies

Ph a000067 iso (1) wzec989qrf
Arduino Mega 2560
Arduino LCD Screen
LCD 20x4+extras – white on blue

Necessary tools and machines

09507 01
Soldering iron (generic)
for electronics and inserting heat-set nuts
Solder Wire, Lead Free
70y8518 40
Drill / Driver, Cordless
for drilling holes and screwing into wood
Angle grinder or Dremel
for cutting off bolts and threaded rod
Vice or Vice Grips
for pressing in bearings
Knife (generic)
for cutting Kapton tape, insulation
hammer (generic)
for motivating bolts into place
Wire Stripper & Cutter, 18-10 AWG / 0.75-4mm² Capacity Wires
for 12awg to 31awg wire
8mm Socket or Wrench
for 5mm nuts
64t7332 40
Tape Measure, Manual
12m4356 40
Wire Stripper / Cutter, Full Flush
Lighter or Torch
for heat shrink tubing
Safety Glasses

About this project

Deutsch, español, français,Hausa,Igbo,Bahasa Indonesia, italiano, Kiswahili, Kreyòl ayisyen, Malagasy, Bahasa Melayu, português, русский, Soomaaliga, Tagalog, Việt, Türkçe, Yorùbá, தமிழ், नेपाली, 中文,اردو, 한국어, 日本語, العربية, فارسی, עִברִית, हिन्दी, ไทย, বাংলা, తెలుగు, ગુજરાતી, ລາວ, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, සිංහල

By Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Lab.


This page is part of an international project to use RepRap 3-D printing to make OSAT for sustainable development

Research:Open source 3-D printing of OSAT RecycleBot LCA of home recyclingGreen Distributed Recycling Ethical Filament LCA of distributed manufacturingRepRap LCA Energy and CO2 Solar-powered RepRapssolar powered recyclebot Feasibility hub Mechanical testingRepRap printing protocol: MOST‎ Lessons learnedMOST RepRap BuildMOST Prusa BuildMOST HS RepRap buildRepRap Print Server

Make me: Want to build a MOST RepRap? - Start here!Delta Build Overview:MOSTAthena Build OverviewMOST metal 3-D printer Humanitarian Crisis Response 3-D Printer

Pearce Publications: Energy Conservation Energy Policy Industrial SymbiosisLife Cycle Analysis Materials Science Open Source Photovoltaic Systems Solar CellsSustainable Development Sustainability Education


Aubrey L. Woern, Joseph R. McCaslin, Adam M. Pringle, and Joshua M. Pearce. RepRapable Recyclebot: Open Source 3-D Printable Extruder for Converting Plastic to 3-D Printing Filament. HardwareX 4C (2018) e00026 doi: access

  • Just the code: OSF
  • FreeCAD users: On the OSF link above the entire assembly is available in the STP file. Open it in FreeCAD and pick what part you would like to modify, export it as.stp, and you will be left with just the part you need. Once you have that, you can save it as just about anything.
  • Please note that all the instructions are in the HardwareX article above

Open Source Ecology Improvements


In order to assist researchers explore the full potential of distributed recycling of post-consumer polymer waste, this article describes a recyclebot, which is a waste plastic extruder capable of making commercial quality 3-D printing filament. The device design takes advantage of both the open source hardware methodology and the paradigm developed by the open source self-replicating rapid prototyper (RepRap) 3-D printer community. Specifically, this paper describes the design, fabrication and operation of a RepRapable Recyclebot, which refers to the Recyclebot’s ability to provide the filament needed to largely replicate the parts for the Recyclebot on any type of RepRap 3-D printer. The device costs less than $700 in mate rials and can be fabricated in about 24 h. Filament is produced at 0.4 kg/h using 0.24 kWh/kg with a diameter ±4.6%. Thus, filament can be manufactured from commercial pellets for <22% of commercial filament costs. In addition, it can fabricate recycled waste plastic into filament for 2.5 cents/kg, which is <1000X commercial filament costs. The system can fabricate filament from polymers with extrusion temperatures <250 °C and is thus capable of manufacturing custom filament over a wide range of thermopolymers and composites for material science studies of new materials and recyclability studies, as well as research on novel applications of fused filament based 3-D printing.


Circular economy; Distributed recycling; Energy conservation; Polymer recycling; Sustainable development; distributed manufacturing; life cycle analysis; recycling; recyclebot; 3-D printing; polymer filament; Open source hardware; Open hardware; Fused filament fabrication; RepRap; Recycling; Polymers; Plastic; Recyclebot; Waste plastic; Composites; Polymer composites; Extruder; Upcycle; Materials science

RepRapable Recyclebot and the Wild West of Recycling

Instructions and Materials

Please refer to the HardwareX paper for detailed instructions and a full bill of materials.

Recycling Technology


  • RepRapable Recyclebot: Open source 3-D printable extruder for converting plastic to 3-D printing filament

Distributed Recycling LCA

Literature Reviews


  • Another possible solution - reusable containers [1]

  • Cruz, F., Lanza, S., Boudaoud, H., Hoppe, S., & Camargo, M. Polymer Recycling and Additive Manufacturing in an Open Source context: Optimization of processes and methods. [2]
  • Investigating Material Degradation through the Recycling of PLA in Additively Manufactured Parts [3]
  • Mohammed, M.I., Das, A., Gomez-Kervin, E., Wilson, D. and Gibson, I., EcoPrinting: Investigating the use of 100% recycled Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) for Additive Manufacturing. [4]
  • Kariz, M., Sernek, M., Obućina, M. and Kuzman, M.K., 2017. Effect of wood content in FDM filament on properties of 3D printed parts. Materials Today Communications. [5]
  • Kaynak, B., Spoerk, M., Shirole, A., Ziegler, W. and Sapkota, J., 2018. Polypropylene/Cellulose Composites for Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing. Macromolecular Materials and Engineering, p.1800037. [6]
  • O. Martikka et al., "Mechanical Properties of 3D-Printed Wood-Plastic Composites", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 777, pp. 499-507, 2018 [7]
  • Yang, T.C., 2018. Effect of Extrusion Temperature on the Physico-Mechanical Properties of Unidirectional Wood Fiber-Reinforced Polylactic Acid Composite (WFRPC) Components Using Fused Deposition Modeling. Polymers, 10(9), p.976. [8]


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