BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) Plastic pollution has become a serious issue in recent years. A Milton man's Made in Vermont machine is helping an industry deal with the issue, and his products are in high demand from major companies across the country.
Three-dimensional printing -- the technology is remarkable and the benefits can be life changing, but it comes with pounds of waste from items that didn't quite come out right. "You can't recycle it because there's no recycling logo on it," said Tyler McNaney. But the 25-year-old entrepreneur saw a solution. "If we could turn waste plastic into feed stock for 3-D printers, that's like the Holy Grail."
And that's how Filabot was formed. McNaney's machine, which in total costs a little more than $20,000, takes ground up materials or pellets, melts it, pressurizes it, and pushes out this nozzle. From there, it gets spun on a spool. The spool then gets fed into a 3-D printer.
"Unfortunately 3-D printing does have a lot of waste and it's nice to know that we can turn it around and reuse it," said Josh Heisler, Filabot's warehouse manager.
McNaney started the company three years ago as a freshman at Vermont Tech. He did a Kickstarter over holiday break and by the time he went back to school, he had sold 67 systems and raised $32,000.
"Tyler did it almost completely on his own. A lot of late nights in his dad's shop," said Whitney Trudo, Filabot's operations manager."It's just crazy to see where he's started to where he is now."
Where he is now is this warehouse in Barre. His customers are a who's who of tech and production giants from Apple and Google, to Toyota and NASA. "Every time we get an order, it's like, wow," McNaney said.
"We get orders from these big companies, and it's like, how is this little Vermont company -- how are we doing this?" Trudo said.
They're doing it because of one young man from Milton who saw a plastics problem and solved it. It earned him a spot on Forbes 30 under 30 for manufacturing list.
"It's exciting for us to see him get the recognition he deserves," Trudo said.
McNaney's goal is to eventually create an extruder that can break down more complex plastics like soda bottles. Given what's he's been able to do in a few years, it's only a matter of time before we see Filabot's success heat up even more. "We're probably changing more now then we were back then, but I think we have a good plan going forward, and I'm excited to see what happens," McNaney said.