Extruding Rainbow filament: extrusion of Polyethylene beads

As a child, did you ever play with colored beads? They are used to make bracelets, necklaces or to create designs by ironing the beads and forming colored tablets.

At the time, we had a lot of fun creating colorful projects but surely the time for fun is not over yet.
We found an old box of beads that was still full and we immediately came up with an idea: let’s try to extrude them!
The colored plastic beads are cylindrical in shape (about 5mm), and are perfect for creating different and very original decorations, but are they also suitable for extrusion?


BeadsThe material

The first step is to check the material of our colored beads and on the package we find the initials PE: polyethylene.
Polyethylene is a thermoplastic polymer made from petroleum. It is present in the high density (HDPE) and low density (LDPE) variants.
It is usually indicated with the initials “PE”, placed inside a triangle, meaning the possibility of recycling the material.
Polyethylene is an easily weldable, moldable material, but difficult to glue. It is characterized by a high impact resistance.


The procedure

Inside the box there are beads of different colors (10 colors), which we have divided in order to create a filament with different shades.
The small size of the beads allowed us to insert them inside the extruder without first shredding them. The material doesn’t need to be dried, so the process was simple and fast.
Extruding polyethylene with Felfil Evo is quite simple and does not require special attention. Here are the parameters to set: 200 °C, 9 Rpm, 0.5A.
The only thing to take into consideration is that in order to create a filament of different colors you have to insert the colored beads with a lot of patience, one color at a time, but the result is worth it!

After patiently waiting for the end of the extrusion, we obtained a beautiful colored filament, with the typical characteristics of polyethylene: resistance and flexibility.

The characteristics of this material make it difficult to 3D print. With a lot of patience and attention to the printing processes you can create small objects, but often the results are not precise. 

This experiment is a perfect example of how old objects we find at home can be transformed into new objects thanks to extrusion and 3D printing.
Here in Felfil we always try to give a second life to waste materials, when it is possible, and every experiment that turns out to be a success is a source of great pride for us.

We are always looking for new challenges, so if you have something to propose, do not hesitate to contact us!


Extruding HDPE With Felfil Evo


Temperature:                                                    200°C
Rpm:                                                                           9
Motor duty:                                                          0,5A
Drying needed:                                                       no


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