3D printing waste can turn into fairly extreme, particularly for those who’re doing multi-material or multi-color prints. There’s no good strategy to keep away from that solely, however the large success of Bambu Lab and their AMS programs have made this situation extra obvious. These have a tendency to provide various “poop” within the type of purged filament, which may equal and even exceed the quantity of fabric within the precise printed half. To discover a resolution, Stefan from CNC Kitchen experimented with filament recycling to reuse the waste materials.
In principle, recycling 3D printer filament ought to be straightforward. That filament is simply thermoplastic, which may soften after which solidify as wanted. However it is a huge problem in actuality. A part of the issue comes right down to getting “pure” materials with none contaminants—together with other forms of thermoplastics used for filament. And until you separate waste materials by colour, you are going to find yourself with a bunch of colours blended collectively and that can produce a brown filament.
Stefan solved the primary drawback by gathering solely PLA from his Bambu Lab printer. He then ran that by means of a machine that grinds the poops up into tiny shreds. These fantastic granules went right into a bin with a powerful magnet to gather any ferrous particles which may have ended up within the combine.
3DEvo despatched Stefan considered one of their Filament Maker Composer machines, which had been designed particularly for manufacturing small portions of filament from pellets or shredded plastic. Stefan discovered that he was capable of flip his shredded waste into filament, however that it wasn’t uniform sufficient to be usable. The variation in diameter proved to be too nice to attain acceptable outcomes.
Stefan suspected that the issue was inconsistent feeding attributable to the irregular dimension of the shreds. So he put the recycled filament by means of a pelletizer machine, then ran that again by means of the Filament Maker Composer. The outcomes had been higher, however nonetheless weren’t adequate.
Then Stefan had a revelation and decided that moisture is perhaps the actual drawback. Even PLA absorbs some moisture and that causes unpredictable extrusion. After totally drying the waste after which the shredded plastic, Stefan ran it by means of the Filament Maker Composer—no pelletization wanted.
That was a hit. The recycled filament was pretty constant, with diameter variation nicely inside acceptable margins. Stefan’s check print with that filament, a Halo Grasp Chief helmet, turned out nice. Not many individuals can afford a 3DEvo Filament Maker machine, however Stefan’s exams show that house filament recycling has potential and that it might turn into viable if prices come down.