Home Research & Education Filament fuser to make 3D printing more environmentally friendly

Filament fuser to make 3D printing more environmentally friendly

With the “Filament Fuser”, two students from Künzelsau have invented an accessory for 3D printers that makes 3D printing more environmentally friendly and efficient.

The “Filament Fuser” was developed to automate filament changes during the printing process and reduce waste. Pascal Boschet and Leon Sprenger, who are studying electrical engineering and automation technology at HHN, noticed that opened filament rolls are often thrown away because it is unclear whether the remaining material is sufficient for a project. This problem leads to unnecessary costs and waste.

Boschet explains: “In 3D printers, the plastic filaments are wound onto so-called filament rolls. Before printing, it is often unclear whether the material is sufficient for the entire project – especially if it has already been used for printing. When in doubt, opened rolls are always better disposed of.”

This is exactly where the “Filament Fuser” comes in. The device is integrated into the filament feed of the 3D printer and connects several filament rolls fully automatically. This technology allows the 3D printer to theoretically print indefinitely without running out of material.

“This means that the 3D printer can theoretically print indefinitely, as it never runs out of plastic material,” explains Leon Sprenger.

The special feature of the “Filament Fuser” is the self-developed connection technology that works inside the device. This includes the housing design, the software and the control board, which were all designed and implemented independently by the two students. “We also designed an artificial intelligence that enables optimum heating in order to weld the threads together perfectly,” adds Boschet.

Professor Martin Wäldele supported the pair from day one: “In the ‘Innovation Lab’ and ‘Project Lab’ courses, students apply the knowledge they have acquired to a project of their own choosing. When the two of them told me about their idea, I motivated them to keep at it.” Professor Sabine Boos, who heads the Institute for the Law of Innovative Technologies, also supports the project and advises on patent law issues.

The next big hurdle for the students is the commercialization of their invention. “In order to bring the device into series production, we were advised to found a start-up. If interest in the device is confirmed, we would strongly consider this next step,” says Pascal Boschet.

The “Filament Fuser” is therefore a promising innovation in the field of 3D printing that should appeal to both industrial and private users.

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