Friday, January 27, 2023

How To Recycle 3d Printer Filament

Don't Miss

How To Recycle 3d Filaments And Prints

Recycle your failed 3D prints! Make new filament at home.

3D Insider is ad supported and earns money from clicks, commissions from sales, and other ways.

We all love our nifty 3D printer and the creative prints that we make out of them, but we have to admit that there is a major environmental consequence to the surge in popularity of 3D printing it generates a lot of solid plastic waste. Petroleum-derived plastics, such as the massively popular ABS, can take up to millions of years to naturally breakdown. Even then, these plastics can release toxic compounds that can be dangerous to organisms near it.

In this article, we take a look at one of the novel solutions to this problem filament recyclers. Read on if you would like to know how they work, what they can do, and where you could get one.

Diy Filament Recycling Machine

Did you know that it’s possible to recycle 100 percent of your failed prints? I’m not talking about your local recycling facilities, I’m talking about reprocessing your parts into a brand new filament, ready to print again.

Using a machine that looks more like an industrial process than a DIY project, this recycling workflow is “loosely” referred to as a filament extruder.

Filament extrusion is nearly always a three-step process:

  • Smash old parts
  • Melt down and extrude filament
  • Coil filament onto new reel
  • First, each failed print is smashed into very small pieces. This makes it easier to melt down. Once melted, the now liquid plastic is forced through a small opening, and then cooled down before wrapping onto a plastic reel. It’s a very cool process that’s actually a form of injection molding.

    As YouTuber Hugh Lyman shows us in this video, this a complex project, but don’t let that prevent you from saving the planet!

    Machinery such as the Filabot is available to purchase, but is very expensive. If you want to know more about this project, check out the many extruders you can print yourself! Popular models include the Lyman/Mulier or the Yalfe.

    Get A Filament Recycler

    A recycler system is a great way to turn your excess filament or failed prints back into usable filament. The system grinds up and melts the plastic. Then extrudes it and coils it onto a spool. Many machines only grind or only melt, meaning you may need two machines. Of course, there is a machine that does all in one.

    Although this seems like an ideal system, there are plenty of factors to consider. Youre likely to end up with some wonky colored spools depending on what scraps you put in the machine. Getting a spool with perfect diameter and ovality will be a bit difficult. Also, these systems are pretty spendy.

    But dont worry! We have some more cost effective options you can try out.

    Youll need some filament before you can recycle it. Check out Pro, Workday, Standard, and Specialty filaments.

    Read Also: Hp 2540 Offline

    Can Recycled Plastic Be Used In 3d Printing

    If you want to turn the material left over from your 3D prints back into material you can print on, there are currently three ways to do it: create your own filament, use a special extruder that allows you to print directly using recycled plastic pieces, or buy filament rolls made from recycled material.

    Roi On Filament Extruder

    Is Recycled 3D Printer Filament Bad Quality?

    Most people make mistakes while calculating the ROI of filament extruder, so if you calculate ROI of a filament extruder, please keep in mind that:

  • Most people will never see positive ROI on their 3d printer or filament purchase.
  • 1kg spool only contains 750gram actual filament.
  • Strong materials like Nylon12 is $3545 per 1kg spool while, pellets can be bought for $34 per kg in 25kg bags.
  • The extruder is made from off the shelve standard parts like motor, gearbox, temperature controller, thermocouple, all of which have a resale value. You can easily dismantle an extruder and sell its parts or sell the whole unit or use its parts in your other projects.
  • Whats the resale value of the filament youve already used? Most likely zero or negative value. While the extruder has good parts that have good resale value.
  • Once youll keep these points in mind, youll see the ROI gap is quickly bridged and youll make back your investment much faster than you realize.

    You May Like: How To Connect Phone To Printer

    Where To Find Miniatures For 3d Printing

    With the rise of 3D printing, dozens of modelers have emerged who are exclusively dedicated to designing miniature models to be printed in 3D. Depending on what game you want to play you will have to search in one place or another, but we will show you the ones we consider most relevant. The most prominent categories in all these sites are usually medieval fantasy, for games like Warhammer fantasy or Dungeons and Dragons, and Science Fiction, for games like Warhammer 40k

    Cookie And Privacy Settings

    We may request cookies to be set on your device. We use cookies to let us know when you visit our websites, how you interact with us, to enrich your user experience, and to customize your relationship with our website.

    These cookies are strictly necessary to provide you with services available through our website and to use some of its features.

    Because these cookies are strictly necessary to deliver the website, refuseing them will have impact how our site functions. You always can block or delete cookies by changing your browser settings and force blocking all cookies on this website. But this will always prompt you to accept/refuse cookies when revisiting our site.

    We fully respect if you want to refuse cookies but to avoid asking you again and again kindly allow us to store a cookie for that. You are free to opt out any time or opt in for other cookies to get a better experience. If you refuse cookies we will remove all set cookies in our domain.

    We provide you with a list of stored cookies on your computer in our domain so you can check what we stored. Due to security reasons we are not able to show or modify cookies from other domains. You can check these in your browser security settings.

    Google Webfont Settings:

    Also Check: How To Get A Printer Online Windows 8

    Are 3d Filament Spools Recyclable

    Empty spools are a problem for 3D printer users; some choose to keep them, which takes up storage space. Others simply throw away empty reels, but if they are not properly discarded, they are rarely recycled via the proper channels, and usually end up in landfill, adding to our global waste management issues.

    How Does A 3d Printer Melt Plastic

    ReMake Lab: recycling plastics into 3D printer filament

    A 3D printer essentially works by extruding molten plastic through a tiny nozzle that it moves around precisely under computer control. It prints one layer, waits for it to dry, and then prints the next layer on top. The plastic from which models are printed is obviously hugely important.24 avr. 2021

    Recommended Reading: How To Reconnect Canon Printer To Wifi

    What Are Filament Recyclers

    Filament recyclers are designed to take your scrap 3D printing materials including discarded filaments, misprints, random globs of plastic and make repurposed filament out of them. Some models can even take and recycle plastic that are not necessarily associated with 3D printing, such as empty water bottles.

    Take note that not all plastics lend themselves well to the recycling process. 3D filaments and prints are especially suited to it because of their thermoplastic nature. With an application of high temperature and a little pressure, the thermoplastic material of 3D prints can be remolded into different shapes. Filament recyclers use this concept to make new filaments out of scrap material, which can then be fed again into your 3D printer.

    How Do Filament Recyclers Work

    Most filament recyclers operate using a three-step process. First, the materials to be recycled have to be ground into smaller and easily digestible pieces. Most filament recyclers come with a set of grinders made with metal which are quite similar to those found in industrial-grade plastic recyclers. This grinding process produces small chunks of plastic that are only a few millimeters in size and lend themselves well to the melting process.

    The parameters of the melting process may differ according to the plastic being recycled or the particular filament recycler that you are using. However, the concept remains the same. The plastic chunks are subjected to high temperatures, making them fluid enough to be fed into the extruder.

    The extruder of a filament recycler does not differ much from the extruder of your 3D printer, except it produces filament instead of using it. The melted plastic is fed into the extruder which controls the diameter of the filament that is produced. Most filament recyclers provide the option of using different sizes of extruders, which include the standard 1.75mm and 2.85mm diameter sizes, and more unusual ones such as 1mm up to 4.5 mm.

    You May Like: How To Connect Canon Ts3122 Printer To Iphone

    Can You Recycle Failed 3d Prints

    Reuse 3D Printed Waste Turn your 3D printed waste into new spools using a 3D printer filament recycler. The typical recycler will smash failed prints into smaller pieces, melt them down, and force the liquid plastic through an opening. The hot plastic is then cooled down and coiled onto a reel.21 déc. 2018

    Echo Instruments Technology To Measure & Analyse Plastic Biodegradation

    Filabot: Plastic Filament Maker by Tyler McNaney  Kickstarter

    And polyester refers to more than a type of clothing; in this case, its a polymer that includes naturally-occurring chemicals like the cutin of plant cuticles.

    Basically, PLA;uses the waxy parts of plants to form its shape, and that helps it break down into biodegradable parts instead of staying whole in a landfill forever.

    But the question is, can you recycle PLA?

    Read Also: Why Does My Printer Always Go Offline

    What Can I Do With Old 3d Printer Spools

    Most of the time these spools dont have a recycling symbol, only leaving the option to throw them away. This is not the best use of these spools. We think the best use for these unusable spools is to turn them back into filament, so that new 3D prints can be made or you could print the new #masterspool print!17 avr. 2018

    Ways To Recycle & Reuse

    If youre ready to commit to the process, recycling or reusing your PLA is a great way to minimize your 3D printing waste.

    As we mentioned, you cant just leave it out in your regular bins, but there are a few ways to make it work.


    PLA is considered biodegradable to a large degree because of its organic origins.;

    This means that, if left undisturbed, it will eventually be;broken down by naturally-occurring microorganisms like bacteria and fungi.

    Services that specialize in PLA can compost used filament faster since they have the equipment needed to create environments that are warm enough and composed properly.

    In;these centers, composting PLA typically takes one to three months, whereas it can take up to six if you attempt it at home.

    Sending your PLA to the proper center also minimizes the chance that pieces of PLA will remain in your compost, so we recommend letting the experts handle this.


    The easiest way to take care of PLA filament that you dont want anymore is to give it to recycling centers that know how to handle it properly.

    Local centers exist in most large cities, but if youd rather outsource your recycling, there are several services that let you box up your PLA and send it to them.

    Filabot; makes it extremely simple.

    And well remind you one more time that RePLAy 3D lets you do the same with no obligation to buy anything. Its a great service!

    Creating Your Own Filament

    Recommended Reading: How To Install Canon Printer Without Cd On Windows 10

    How To Shred And Extrude 3d Printer Filaments

    You do not have to purchase a filament shredder because you can make it the DIY way. However, if you do not want to get your hands dirty, you can go for the SHR3D IT or the FilabotReclaimer.

    The two are compatible with PLA, HIPS and ABS. Before you start the shredding process, you should know that the process could be risky for beginner level DIYer. That is primarily because plastic grinding will strain the ordinary motors expected in the commercial appliances. The best solution is to go for a powerful motor, which might be more expensive.

    The market offers many types of extruders, which range from plug-and-play machines to DIY extruders. One of them is ProtoCycler. The machine is a quintessential 3D printer material recycler because it shreds and extrudes.

    It represents a better way of reusing the scrap filament form the failed prints or from the small filament bits that would otherwise go to waste. The producers, Alex Kay and David Joyce were fed up of buying expensive printing filament and they decided to join hands so that they could build an efficient machine that could recycle filaments.

    They were able to come up with the ProtoCycle, a machine that grinds plastic materials into digestible pieces, melts them down, extrudes them and coils them onto spools.

    As people work to reduce plastic waste, inventors are working hard to encourage recycling of the materials. Another machine that you could use to shred and extrude 3D printer filaments is the Precious Plastic.

    Ideas For Reutilizing The Spools

    How to Use Recycled 3D Printer Filament Spools | MASTER SPOOL

    For hobbyists who have a slow accumulation of empty spools, there are ways to create a new use for what many would consider waste. All you have to do is put your thinking cap on and design a functional use for your growing pile of empty spools.

    Think about this as a challenge. You have a pile of empty spools, and you have a 3d printer that can be used to create unique parts if necessary. Put the two together, and you have practical solutions to extend the use of your plastic trash.

    Recommended Reading: How To Connect My Canon Mg2522 Printer To My Computer

    Why Cant They Just Include Powerful Motor In Their Machines Then

    First of all the 1HP induction motor weights 810kg and the gearbox weights about the same. So, lets say its total weight is 20kg of adding a powerful motor and gearbox. Another 10kg for the screw and barrel.

    Now, if I want to sell an extruder that includes 30kg weight, I am already looking at $300 in the international shipping fee.

    Lets say if a company makes the same extruder as Ive made for $600, adding a $300 shipping fee the price is already $900 how many hobbyists going to buy it? They also cant put a used motor/gearbox/AC drive in a new extruder how many would buy it? $900 is the price before even including company profit margin and labor charges.

    When you add all that this same extruder will cost over $1500 to end customer and will no longer be affordable.

    This is one of those things where the DIY route is much cheaper!

    Dont get me wrong, a front load washing machine weights 150kg yet the total cost of shipping it to a customer is much less smaller proportion of its price than that of a shipping 150kg mini-lathe, why? because most of the people in your neighbor need a washing machine but very few people need a lathe. That makes it easier and cheaper for the companies to put the washing machines at bulk in a warehouse near you.

    How To Prevent Plastic Waste

    Recycling isnt the only method of reducing 3D printer waste. Dealing with your plastic build-up is easier when you do everything in your power to prevent it in the first place. Even though we cant avoid having failed prints, we can still reduce the amount of waste buildup by following these tips:

  • Use fewer supports: Using supports is helpful and sometimes necessary, but theyre not needed for every project. Try improving your designs and workflow to remove as many supports as possible. For example, you can use programs like;Simplify3D;to manually reduce the number of supports. In addition, you can improve the design of the supports and make them simpler.
  • Slow down and take it easy: One of the most common reasons behind a failed project is printing too many pieces all at once. When a part fails, it will negatively impact the others that support it and make them unusable, thus creating a lot of plastic waste. Its preferable to divide your project into multiple stages and go through several in one go. Keep in mind that this depends a lot on your printing experience, but its usually better to play it safe anyway.
  • Buy recycled filaments: Filament made from recycled plastics is available and by buying it you will contribute to increased sustainability. You can also recycle this type of filament again after using it and further reduce your environmental footprint.
  • Read Also: How To Clean 3d Printer Nozzle

    How Does Extrusion Screw Works

    Its very important that you watch the video linked above to understand what I am talking about. If you want the constant rate of water coming from the top of the screw, how do you achieve that? Obviously, by keeping the screws rotation speed constant. For example, if the screw rotates at exactly 5RPM then we might get exactly 5liters of water per hour. But if the RPM changes from 5RPM to 6RPM then back to 5RPM well get different 5 liters of water per hour, then 6 liters of water per hour then again 5 liters of water per hour.

    The same is the case with the filament! If we want a constant volume of filament coming out of the nozzle where the screw pushes plastic through the nozzle, we must have a constant rate of screw rotation.

    Thats it molten filament is like chewing gum, if the constant volume of filament comes out of the nozzle you need a pinch roller set up to pull the molten filament at constant RPM that will give you constant stretch which gives constant diameter.

    More articles

    Popular Articles