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RecycleBot modification - automated feeder

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MOST Delta filament as guide.JPG This page was part of an MTU course MSE4777 OA and MSE4777 OB/MSE5777/EE4777/EE5777: Open-source 3-D printing

Please leave comments using the discussion tab. The course runs in the Fall semester. It is not open edit.

Existing Recyclebot.jpg


John Laureto' Graduate Student, Materials Science Engineering

Kathrine Cipriano Undergrad, Mechanical Engineering, Senior

Siranee Nuchitprasitchai Graduate Student, Computer Engineering

Shan Zhong Graduate Student, Materials Science Engineering


This page is dedicated to the design and development of an improved raw material feed mechanism for the Recyclebot_V4.0ac. The recyclebot v4.0 is a vertical plastic extruder which includes a driving system, feeding system, heating system, collecting system and a nozzle. The previous feeding system just consisted of a feeder and a hopper, and the entrance to the feeding tube is small, so that the flake plastics cannot get through the entrance by themselves. In order to get the consistent feeding rate, manual impetus is needed when producing filament.

The intent of this project is to decrease the need for manual operator adjustment / feeding during the filament making processes. This process improvement will be performed by the members listed above in the MY4777 2016 Class.

Access to the main MOST Recylcebot is located here.


Modified Recycle Bot


  • An auger is placed inside the material feed hopper. The auger is driven by the Recyclebot's main drive motor via a T5 belt drive system. T5 pulleys are attached to the motor shaft and a T5 belt connects that system to the auger. A single rotation of the main drive motor yields one rotation of the hopper auger, thus forcing raw polymer materials into the main hot zone.

Bill Of Materials

  • List of Components
    • 1x Material Hopper / Cone
      • 1x Flange Set Point (Screw Holder 25mm)
      • 1x Auger Rod Flange (Screw Holder 20mm)
    • 1x Auger Shaft Set Bearing
    • 1x Auger Shaft Material Deflector
    • 1x Auger
    • 1x 10mm Diameter Auger Rod
    • 1x 25mm (Auger Shaft) T5 Belt Pulleys
    • 1x 15mm (Drive Shaft) T5 Belt Pulley (.scad in NIH link is parametric, any practical diameter is achievable. Thus, any gearing ratio can be obtained.)
    • 1x T5 Belt (~2ft)

Installation and Use

  • Utilizing the screw adapter (previously designed) this modification should be a pick and place type replacement. No excessive Recyclebot modifications are necessary. Further assembly and printed components are shown below:
  • Component Assembly
    • Most part files are designed to be "pressure fit" coupled with some form of adhesive. Depending upon the components application threaded inserts are utilized for precise positioning and allowing for little use of adhesive materials. The assembly process is relatively straight forward, review of the printed components gallery below should be adequate.
    • Modification of the ~2ft strand of T5 belt is required. Upon determining the proper tension and length along the pulley path length vice grips and super-glue can be utilized to adhere the two ends of the belt together.
T5 Belt "Welding"

Final Part Prints
Auger with Screw Holder  
Auger with Screw Holder and Gear Shaft  
Complete Auger Setup Including T5 Gear and Two Screw Holders  
T5 Gear  
Example Gear Sizes  
Augers with Detail  
Screw Holder  

Video of System in Action


Link to the NIH File Repository: NIH File Repository

Printable Parts
Outside Material Funnel Cone  
Inside Material Funnel Cone  
Side view Screw with Holder  
Top view Screw with Holder  
Auger Shaft Motor Pulley  
T5 Drive Belt  
Recyclebot feeding auger  
Auger Shaft Material Deflector  
Auger Set Bearing  
Main Drive Gear (Variable Diameter)  
Auger Drive Shaft