How to make recycled filament from waste products such as failed 3D printing prototypes?
In this How-To we show you how to make your own recycled filament from 3D printing waste such as failed prototypes and explain the main steps of the recycling process.
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First, you will have to shred the material. We use our JARVIS Shredder, but if you don't have access to a shredder you can also look for workshops nearby on the Precious Plastic map for workshops near you, buy a used or new shredder on online marketplaces such as the Precious Plastic Bazaar, or try some budget methods, e.g. a hand cranked shredder, a document shredder or the scissors-blender-combo. The more uniform the granulate is, the better the final result will be.
Next comes the main step: extrusion. For this, of course, you need a Extruder. You can build one yourself according to Precious Plastic's construction plans or buy one online, for example at Precious Plastic Bazar or our shop. We also have a comparison list of different extruder models on our website. Our Extruder is in its 6th generation and we have learned during the development that the following 3 things are especially important: 1. A suitable screw feeder 2. Accurate temperature measurements and controls 3. Easily replaceable nozzles
Cooling extruded filament
With hot filament coming out of the extruder, it needs to get cooled and wound onto a spool. You can cool the Filament using water or air. We recommend using an air cooling system, because water cooling is a complicated mess and as long as you are making less than 3Kg/h an air cooling system works just fine. The most simple and cheap method is using a tower ventilator, which you position horizontally under the filament. We use our own cooling unit, the JARVIS Airpath. Its fans can be controlled precisely in order to harden the filament but keep it soft enough to easily wind it on spools. The winding process will work best if the single filament tracks stick to each other slightly.
Finally, the filament can be wound onto a spool to be used with a 3d printer later. You will need a filament winder which should have a pull unit, a guider (to spool the single tracks from one side to the other) and a turning spool axis. An important factor to look out for when buying/building a Winder is that the filament always stays on tension, so you don't end up with loose spools.
For this step we use our JARVIS Winder. It automatically adjusts the speed of the spool motor and allows perfect winding while maintaining the diameter of the filament. The filament is simply inserted into the puller, threaded through the guide and then attached to the spool.
Now you can put your brand new filament to use with a 3d printer. Happy printing! :)
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