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High Density Polyethylene

A strong, cheap, durable plastic with a solid melting point of 110C.

HDPE Is one of the more finicky plastics to extrude. It does not stick together well, and because it shrinks a lot when it cools tends to distort readily. Experiments with a roasting bag suggest this may be partly prevented by depositing in a warmed environment. The novice is encouraged to use ABS or PLA before attempting HDPE.

To extrude plastic pellets into filament, extruder temperature must be set around vicat softening temperature according to producer technical specifications (for example around 123-130C). Filament is quite extensible when not yet cold; if the coil that collects the filament "pulls" the filament too much, filament does not break but the section will be reduced significantly.

HDPE shrinks and detaches from the plate; a solution of diluted vinyl glue or a plate of polypropylene (Moplen or CD covers) may solve the problem.

The adventurous could also try a ABS HDPE blend which may have very good results.


Check the forums... someone might be able to ship you some for cheap.

You can also make your own see Recyclebot

otherwise see Printing Material Suppliers

More info on Wikipedia.

Further reading