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Recycling Filament Project?

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  • Recycling Filament Project?

    One question I hear a lot about 3D Printing is "What do we do with failed prints and leftover materials?" The answer right now is we just throw it out. PLA and ABS isn't easily identifiable or accepted in curb side recycling so we end up throwing a lot out, which sucks from a sustainability perspective.

    It would be really great for us to do this, however there is a simple practical reason why we don't: the equipment to make new filament is expensive. You need something to shred the prints, then you need to melt and extrude the plastic in to a filament that can be wound up on a roll.

    I came across a video today of a really rudimentary system to recycle filament, see the link below.

    This video is a combination of purchased components and DIY.
    But wait, we have an extruder on our thermoforming center!
    That just leaves shredding and winding.

    Shredding can be done with a combination of donated paper shredders and blenders. I imagine there are many other ways also.
    Winding onto a roll would probably be the easiest part, as something very simple could be built.

    Here are two more setups:

    A research paper on the process:

    Would anyone be interested in collaborating on a project to do this? I think it could have potential to really be a cool project that would make the space stand out.

  • #2
    A quick write up on recycling filament:

    Here is someones homemade shredder:
    Along with a complete DIY guide:

    A heavy duty shredder like this should be able to be built with either using the CNC mill or plasma cut plates.

    Building a giant shredder would be badass....
    This tutorial provides instructions on how to build a shredder capable of shredding sheet plastics, such as HDPE and LDPE, found in plastic bags, bubble wrap and air cushion packaging, to prepare it for recycling. The machine is part of a greater project to develop a process of turning waste


    • #3
      This is pretty cool. I have seen people try and use paper shredders to shred filament.


      • Garret H
        Garret H commented
        Editing a comment
        That's what they do in one or two of the videos. It looks pretty finicky and time consuming but that would be good enough to prototype for sure.

    • #4
      I took a quick look at the extruder. It holds a little over 50ml, which works out to 20 meters of 1.75mm filament. This sounds like a lot, but is only about $1 worth of filament and a few hours of printing on a fast setting. Something like 60 grams.

      To make use of those lengths we would need really need to be able to splice filament, which in itself would be pretty handy since we get lots of end of roll waste.

      Alternatively if there was something we just wanted to press into a die that would work too.
      Click image for larger version  Name:	20190121_101741.jpg Views:	1 Size:	65.8 KB ID:	731

      So what about splicing filament?
      Looks like there are a lot of resources, this is actually something that would be REALLY useful for those jobs where anyone may have underestimated how much is left on the roll.
      Some ideas:
      Last edited by Garret H; 01-21-2019, 12:28 PM. Reason: Typos tsk tsk.


      • #5
        It doesn't seem too difficult. might as well try the extruder we have. I don't think the shreading would be as important as it looks to me like it is not the "hopper" fed type of system that requires uniform small parts...?


        • #6
          I imagine ventilation would be a good idea...


          • #7
            Nicholas Adams wasnt there a contact at TRU that was on this angle too?


            • #8
              Originally posted by Vaughn View Post
              Nicholas Adams wasnt there a contact at TRU that was on this angle too?
              Jason H Do you know of anyone, or yourself interested in this?


              • #9
                Food for tho thought. This could come in handy.


                • #10
                  I just fount this. It is very interesting!


                  • Garret H
                    Garret H commented
                    Editing a comment
                    What's the video about?

                • #11
                  He recycled the plastics from 3d prints. Grind them up and put them into a extruder he made. I think its interesting that he decided to use a hopper.