Back in June 2012, we reported on the Desktop Factory Challenge. Entrants had to make an inexpensive machine that could make plastic filament, the sort you'd need for a Makerbot or an Ultimaker. The difficulty? You had to use off-the-shelf components and your final bill of materials could only add up to $250 (if ordered in a bulk package of 400). I thought I was impossible. But surprise, surprise, 83-year old Hugh Lyman managed to express his impressive engineering and design skills to win the $40,000 prize!
As described on his GrabCAD portfolio, Hugh is a retired furniture manufacturer with hobbies that include fishing and DIY projects. Hugh's first submission didn't make the cut since there were too many custom parts that drove up the cost. After reconfiguring his apparatus in his own, well stocked workshop, the Lyman Filament Extruder Mark II was a success. What will he do with his winnings? "I'm going to give half of it to the wife, and tinker with the other half.". It just goes to show - when you fail, try, try again.
Hugh Lyman (GrabCAD profile here) has uploaded the entire project here, free of charge, for anyone who wants to experiment with making their own 3D Printable filament with off-prints or cheap ABS pellets.