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Create Your Own 3D Printing Filament with the Felfil System – Interview with Co-Founder Fabrizio Pasquero

Italian company Felfil Srl was established in 2016 with the aim of making 3D printing more sustainable, which led to the creation of the Felfil Evo filament extruder. They’ve come a long way from their first prototype, which included components such as a bicycle chain and a drill screw, to a full desktop plastic recycling station that also features a shredder and filament winder. In an interview with 3Druck.com, co-founder Fabrizio Pasquero shares his insights on 3D printing materials and recycling.

It all started in 2014 when the founders were studying for their Masters in Ecodesign. By delving into systemic design issues and combining their passion for technology, they developed the first filament extruder. The first prototype of what would become Felfil Evo was made of wood and constructed with available and mainly used components: the chain of a bicycle, an old PC power supply and a drill screw were the main elements of the product. 

By showing the project at various Maker Faires, the team realised how much interest it generated with the public, so they developed a more commercial version, but with a DIY soul. In September 2015, their project came to life through a crowdfunding campaign on the Kickstarter platform. 

Over the years, the Felfil team has perfected the system, creating a true desktop plastic recycling station and developing the winder and shredder.

Interview with Fabrizio Pasquero

In an interview with 3Druck.com, Felfil co-founder Fabrizio Pasquero details the recycling of materials for 3D printing and explains which everyday products are best used to make your own filament. He also highlights the need to use more sustainable materials in additive manufacturing and looks ahead to how 3D printing might impact our lives in future.

How important do you think is it to be able to recycle materials for 3D printing?

Co-founder Fabrizio Pasquero

We think that recycling materials is a very important process on a general level, in all areas. Focusing on 3D printing, it is important because it allows us not to send more plastic to landfill. Currently, 3D printing waste is not recyclable in the plastic supply chain, but it is treated as non disposable.

By recycling both 3D printing waste and some of the plastic materials that we normally use and throw away such as yogurt pots, you can both save on the cost of purchasing new spools and do some good for the environment.

At the moment, our recycling systems are also used for educational purposes in schools, creating practical circular economy projects.

Which products of daily life can be recycled and used for producing filament?

With the Felfil system, various materials can be recycled, from common PLA to carbon-filled materials.

The most common and easy to find to recycle with our machines are yogurt pots or plastic cups from vending machines (PS), but also bottle caps (HDPE), fruit crates (PP), and the cases of old laser printers (ABS).

The important thing is not to mix the various plastics and then test, test and test again.

Additive manufacturing has continuously developed in recent years. Which innovations or technological breakthroughs do you consider to be particularly important in the field of materials?

Currently, the biggest challenge in manufacturing, and therefore also in additive manufacturing, is to create products/innovations with high-performance but at the same time made of more sustainable materials. Our products, as well as many other innovations, aim towards this goal.

In fact, Felfil products are used not only by makers or schools, but also by the most important research institutes and universities in the world for experimentation and research on new materials; moreover, 3D printing technology is also bringing great innovations to the medical field thanks to experiments on new implantable and biocompatible materials that will open up new frontiers.

What impact do you think additive manufacturing will have on various industries and possibly society as a whole in the coming years?

I think the impact of additive manufacturing can be important in many aspects and in various areas, both on a global and a personal level.

At a production level, it will be able to reduce the costs and the environmental impact of the supply chain, increasing on-site manufacturing even in large formats; but I think that innovations and the greatest impact could be seen in the medical or social fields, just think for example of the potential impact that projects for the construction of 3D printed homes will have.

From our side we will continue to develop and improve our products in order to allow more and more people to recycle their waste or experiment with new innovative material.

Here you can find further information on Felfil.

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