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3D Print With Filament Made from Old Car Dashboards
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By Leo Lutero | PSFK

Refil is a company that will sell recycled plastic in filament form for existing 3D printers. This means that when you use their filament, everything you print is automatically a recycled product.

While 3D printing opens up a world of opportunity, the most commonly used material is still plastic. This means that as more people print their wobbly heads or prototypes at home, more non-biodegradable plastic is being put on Planet Earth.

But Refil’s refilaments begs to differ.

“Using our refilament, instead of ordinary filament, you instantly make everything you print recycled. From vases, toys and jewelry to architectural models, prosthetics and other products… They all become recycled products when you print them with refilament,” explains Casper van der Meer, co-founder of Refil.

The first batch of “refilmanets” were made from car dashboards and PET bottles. The spools containing black filament are recycled from car interiors while the translucent ones are up to 90 percent recycled from plastic containers.

To create the high-quality product, scraps are shredded into tiny pieces where contaminants are physically removed. They are then melted and turned into 1.75 or 2.85mm diameter strings that are wound around recycled carbon spools.

At Refil, we don’t add any toxic dyes to our products and this has been our biggest challenge. After lots of research, we can finally developed refilaments that have the exact same quality as ordinary filaments, without adding any toxics.
– Laura Klaus, Lead product researcher at Refil

The company says that their products share the same level of quality as premium filaments in the market today. A spool of 750 grams for dashboard black is priced at €32 ($36) and the PET translucent at €40($45).

Refilament has won the Best Material Development Award during the 3D Printing Europe trade fair in Berlin. The makers has since tapped Thijs Biersteker and Pieter van den Heuval to introduce the product with a strong call to action: “Makers, let’s make things right.”

Refil is the brainchild of Better Future Factory (BFF), a Rotterdam-based agency of five Delft University of Technology graduates. BFF aims to “manufacture a society based on social values and empathy, where consumption and respect go hand in hand.”

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