Recycling prints

Recycling print scraps into filament is sadly not an easy thing to do, it requires specialised equipment for cleaning and sorting only available on the industrial scale at a rough additional cost of $150,000USD.

The major problems with print scraps are cleanliness, quality, cost, shipping and sorting the types, many prints are built on adhesives such as PVA, PVP and hairsprays which clog filament extruder barrel screens and build up on the extruder screw, causing more frequent breakdowns for cleaning and reducing machine life. :(

Sorting printed scraps is impossible by hand, hence the expensive machinery, but plastic-type icons can easily be converted from a Google Image into a .stl file which do enable hand sorting!

Sunny has provided PCCF recycling .stl for dragging onto items during slicing, this helps recycling facilities know what 3D prints were built with and where to sort them into - for Polycarbonate with carbon fiber it is 7:Other

Feel free to make your own for other filament types and brands as this really helps the environment for barely any cost!

Shipping filament scraps back to a filament manufacturer adds to the carbon footprint per kg of plastic originally produced, along with significant extra cost and time. The total costs of shipping, sorting and cleaning the filament scraps sadly bring the materials costs over that of brand new virgin pellets shipped cost.

If all of the above is conquered and the recycled scraps are processed into filament, the quality could be 10-75% worse than brand new pellets filament, with a cost the same or higher this unfortunately destroys any motivation for companies to take this route. :(


Recycling filament scraps shouldn't be made into more filament, so the best thing to do with the scraps is to collect them in containers at the site of printing, until a desired amount is amassed to process
Melting these at printing temperatures in an outdoor/shed oven on baking trays or using different moulds you can make many solid things like rods, bricks, spheres, 2x4" beams

The most useful is to make flat sheets of plastic material, which can be made into anything where wood or metal would be traditionally used, this is a refreshing change in my personal workshop as it saves on costs and sometimes is the best option that doesn't corrode, rot, conduct, etc!


One of the coolest parts about recycling your own scraps is having all the control, when recycling multiple colours these melt into beautiful marble patterns! Coloured sections can be positioned when cold, and manipulated when hot to make custom designs, minimal colour schemes look great here but using all the colours at once for a rainbow effect is always welcomed


Whatever you do, don't chuck filament scraps into Garbage and Trash Bins :(

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