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Open AccessArticle

3-D Printable Polymer Pelletizer Chopper for Fused Granular Fabrication-Based Additive Manufacturing

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Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
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Department of Material Science & Engineering and Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
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Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering, School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto University, FI-00076 Espoo, Finland
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Inventions 2018, 3(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions3040078
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 21 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Inventions and innovation in Advanced Manufacturing)
Although distributed additive manufacturing can provide high returns on investment, the current markup on commercial filament over base polymers limits deployment. These cost barriers can be surmounted by eliminating the entire process of fusing filament by three-dimensional (3-D) printing products directly from polymer granules. Fused granular fabrication (FGF) (or fused particle fabrication (FPF)) is being held back in part by the accessibility of low-cost pelletizers and choppers. An open-source 3-D printable invention disclosed here allows for precisely controlled pelletizing of both single thermopolymers as well as composites for 3-D printing. The system is designed, built, and tested for its ability to provide high-tolerance thermopolymer pellets with a number of sizes capable of being used in an FGF printer. In addition, the chopping pelletizer is tested for its ability to chop multi-materials simultaneously for color mixing and composite fabrication as well as precise fractional measuring back to filament. The US$185 open-source 3-D printable pelletizer chopper system was successfully fabricated and has a 0.5 kg/h throughput with one motor, and 1.0 kg/h throughput with two motors using only 0.24 kWh/kg during the chopping process. Pellets were successfully printed directly via FGF as well as indirectly after being converted into high-tolerance filament in a recyclebot. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3-D printing; additive manufacturing; distributed manufacturing; open-source; polymers; recycling; waste plastic; extruder; upcycle; circular economy 3-D printing; additive manufacturing; distributed manufacturing; open-source; polymers; recycling; waste plastic; extruder; upcycle; circular economy
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Woern, A.L.; Pearce, J.M. 3-D Printable Polymer Pelletizer Chopper for Fused Granular Fabrication-Based Additive Manufacturing. Inventions 2018, 3, 78.

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