I can't really say how good or bad they are, but I learned that there's small 3d printers that cost $300.
The problem is, the filament (the stuff that 3d printers print) is roughly $40/kg.
After a bit of looking around on Duck Duck Go, I've found that you can recycle plastic at home.
Recycling waste plastic into usable filament requires two steps: shredding the plastic into small pieces, then melting and extruding it with a filament extruder. There are many solutions to the latter step, with hobby-grade plastic extruders like the Filastruder or Filabot available for sale, as well as designs for DIY filament extruders (for one such design, check out this link: https://all3dp.com/make-low-cost-filament-extruder/)
Unfortunately, the plastic shredding step remains a bit difficult for the average hobbyist.
The DIY methods
for making a machine that does the extruding part are over my head. However, they do sell them for $300
. Pellets to feed the machine (so you can skip trying to shred plastic) look like they're about $4/kg. That seems like it might be a sustainable price?
I'm missing two pieces of information, though:
- What volume of stuff can you make with a kilogram of filament?
- Actual experience with a 3d printer
I'm just kind of savoring the fantasy phase of my 3d printing interest right now.