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ABS Recycler for 3-D Printer Filament

Many inexpensive 3-D Printers use ABS filament as feedstock. This filament is not cheap and being a plastic, it is a substance that demands recycling efforts.

Imagine a small 3-D printer that you use to produce useful household items with. Here is an example Instructable illustrating what I am talking about.

Now imagine that you no longer need an item that you have made. You toss it into the hopper of the machine that I have in mind and it is ground into small pieces. These pieces are then melted with acetone and extruded anew into ABS filament for your 3-D printer!

It may be possible to recover the acetone during the extrusion process since the acetone evaporates to restore the ABS.


Picture of ABS Recycler for 3-D Printer Filament
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MartinP42 years ago

I think the recycling should be left to plastic recycling plants as there is potential for toxic fumes when melting plastic at incorrect temperatures inside one's home. With filament prices so competitive, it's almost not worth the time to spend recycling it yourself and diverting time from the actual 3d Printing. ABS and PLA you can get now for $15.99USD/kg at places like fairwagon.com.

There are many ongoing projects out there where people are trying to bring ABS extrusion to the home. Those who are focused on the Rep Rap project have been wanting to bring about in home extrusion from the beginning. The idea was people could throw a couple of plastic milk jugs into the top of the system and print the items they wanted and almost no cost. The hard part about an in home extruder is making it compact and easy to use. The Rep Rap forum has an entire section dedicated to this.
Plastic milk jugs are polyethylene over here, not ABS ?
Yes no country uses ABS but ABS isn't the only plastic a 3D printer can use. The idea is to take any available plastic and recycle it at home into a filament you can use on your 3D printer. The idea was presented by Rep Rap creator Adrian Bowyer. I've seen a Youtube video where he mentions how he would like to be able to one day take milk jug, melt it down into a filament and print an item.
I think Bowyer's forgetting that types of plastic have intrinsic properties like stiffness that means we can't really go to a generic system.

....what are milk bottle CAPS made of ? We can't recycle them where we live - only the bottle

Steve
Exocetid (author)  steveastrouk5 years ago
Frankly, it would be a "great leap forward" to just be able to recycle printed ABS parts into filament fed directly back to a printer.

Slow and steady wins the race ;-)
Exocetid (author)  mpilchfamily5 years ago
Thanks, I figured others were thinking on this line. It's the stuff of 50's Sci-Fi movies. The technology is unquestionably there for a small refrigerator-sized unit that would take parts in the top, grind them, extrude and then print new objects.

Time and money!

So many projects, so little time...
why not just remelt it ?
Exocetid (author)  steveastrouk5 years ago
I am not sure if you can. Re-melting plastic is tricky.

ABS Temps:

ABS softens at 90C, melts at 105C, can be extruded at ~180C but needs to be ~240C to bond strongly to itself.

Certainly if it could just be remelted the recycler would be significantly simpler.

Not hard to test.
There are many ongoing projects out there where people are trying to bring ABS extrusion to the home. Those who are focused on the Rep Rap project have been wanting to bring about in home extrusion from the beginning. The idea was people could throw a couple of plastic milk jugs into the top of the system and print the items they wanted and almost no cost. The hard part about an in home extruder is making it compact and easy to use. The Rep Rap forum has an entire section dedicated to this.
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