Overcoming Quality Challenges of Desktop Filament Machines: A Detailed Analysis


An inexpensive desktop filament-making machine [Source: YouTube / CNC Kitchen]

I had a thought about the future of self-made 3D printer filaments.

I’ve been very skeptical of small filament-making machines for quite a few years. More than a decade ago, I witnessed absolutely terrible attempts at such equipment, with one notably infamous device simply spilling filament all over the place, without making any effort to spool it up.

These elementary machines were really not effective because the filament they produced was of such inferior quality that it could not consistently be used to make quality prints.

Let’s delve further into this. Why does this happen? It’s because the term “quality” in filament typically refers to the consistency of the diameter. Quality measures are often given as the maximum diameter variance in a spool, usually less than 0.05mm nowadays.

The GCODE that operates a 3D print job is not aware of the filament diameter being fed into the extruder at any given time, so it generally assumes the specified measurement, 1.75mm for example. However, in reality, a lower-quality filament could have varying widths. Since the extruder operates at a constant speed, these variances correspond to blobs or gaps in the printed model when encountered.

Therefore, a need for highly consistent 3D printer filaments was recognized. Filament manufacturers adjusted their massive filament production lines, including precisely controlled water baths spanning several meters, to cater to particular thermal gradients during manufacturing. Advanced laser gauges were employed to continually measure the output filament, and in some cases, these measurements were even logged by the spool.

Sub-par quality filaments were ousted from the market, resulting in improved print outcomes.

Nonetheless, attempts to create filament with compact desktop devices persisted. Except for 3devo, none I’d encountered were able to produce filament that met quality standards. This is quite understandable considering that filament manufacturers use enormous machinery to accomplish this. How could a small-scale desktop device compete?

Then, I stumbled upon a recent video by Stefan Hermann from CNC Kitchen, where he put a new affordable filament device, the Artme3D, to the test. Hermann was able to successfully recycle 3D print residues by utilizing several pieces of equipment including the Artme3D, eventually producing usable filament.

The filament, Hermann discovered, was of good quality, or at least the prints that came out were superior in quality.

Has the problem been resolved then?

The narrative contains more depth than you might initially perceive.

In his experimental video, Hermann utilized the recent Bambu Lab A1 mini device, a product we previously had the opportunity to test and review.

The mini is an exemplary machine jam-packed with numerous features, all at a competitively priced cost. The output it yields is consistently top-notch and nearly flawless every time.

So, what contributes to this high-level quality? There are many factors, but a significant one is the mini’s inbuilt feature of “active flow rate compensation”. What does this entail? Here’s their explanation:

“The A1 mini revolutionizes flow control in 3D printing. It utilizes a high-resolution, high-frequency eddy current sensor to measure the pressure in the nozzle. Our algorithm actively compensates the flow rate according to the readings to extrude with accuracy.”

In simpler terms, if the machine figures out the flow rate is falling short, it adjusts the speed to compensate, and the inverse is also true.

Wait a minute, isn’t this exactly the complication that arises with sub-par filament quality? This compensation lets the mini extrude the required amount of material notwithstanding changes in the input filament.

Let me rewind: I have been doubtful about desktop filament machines as they typically fail to create filament of a satisfactory quality. But what if that was NO LONGER A CONCERN? 

The potential for desktop filament machines to create truly useful filament has now become a possibility, assuming the 3D printer contains the necessary flow rate compensation.

In previous discussions, I have mentioned how Bambu Lab has managed to significantly impact the market. They have challenged the professional space with their dependability and quality, the desktop sector with their features and capabilities, and even made ripples in the materials sector with their impressive speed.

Presently, it seems they may broaden their influence and potentially disrupt the desktop filament recycling and production market as well.

Picture a scenario where every desktop 3D printer possesses this compensation and “poor quality” filament can be easily used successively. If this were the case, building devices capable of recycling print scraps into reusable filament could realistically occur.

Which company could make such a machine? There are actually several projects that do so now, but all are not particularly consumer-friendly. 

I do know of one company that is very good at transforming technical products into consumer-ready equivalents: Bambu Lab

I would not be at all surprised now if that company announced a filament production machine. 

Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

Like it? Share with your friends!


Meet the mastermind behind NozzleNerds.com: GCode-Guru, a 3D printing wizard whose filament collection rivals their sock drawer. Here to demystify 3D tech with a mix of expert advice, epic fails, and espresso-fueled rants. If you've ever wondered how to print your way out of a paper bag (or into a new coffee cup), you're in the right place. Dive into the world of 3D printing with us—where the only thing more abundant than our prints is our sarcasm.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube and Vimeo Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format