RECYCLE Failed 3D Prints




Introduction: RECYCLE Failed 3D Prints

About: I like creating things, just about everything, and then I like sharing them so other people can use them too.

In this Instructable you will learn how to recycle Failed 3D Prints and turn them into guitar picks or whatever you desire.


  • Failed Prints or 3D Printed Supports


  • Cookie Sheet or Baking Pan
  • Parchment Paper
  • Coconut Oil
  • Hot Pads


  • Band Saw or Rotary Tool

I used a Dremel rotary tool because my band saw was dull but you can use either one. I prefer the rotary tool because you can use it as a band saw and you can also sand quickly with it.

  • Drill Bit Set (if using a rotary tool)
  • Dremel Workstation Model #220-01 (if using a rotary tool)
  • Sand Paper (any sandpaper will work but I prefer to have both rough sandpaper and fine sandpaper)
  • Safety Goggles
  • Sharpie
  • Tin Sheers

Step 1: Collect Failed 3D Prints

Retrieve all your failed prints or supports to start this project. Literally anything will work no matter how large or small the material is. In this project I used PLA but I'm sure other filaments will work too.

Step 2: Crush / Break Failed Prints

This is DEFINITELY the stress-relieving part of this project. I find that a mallet works well to break the failed prints into smaller pieces.

Grab your mallet (preferred), filament, and a towel so the pieces don't fly all over the place, and go to a place where the ground is hard and you can easily see your pieces. I find that your driveway or garage is a great place to do this step. Once you've done that, it's now time to crush failed 3D Prints. Some of your pieces may be pretty hard to smash with the mallet, if there are some pieces that are harder to break apart then get tin snips to cut those parts. I'm sure scissors or pliers will work as well. As you can see in the picture above not all pieces are the same size but all are still relatively small.

Step 3: Preheat Oven and Layout Filament

First, preheat the oven to 350°F on Bake. After that, get parchment paper and put it on your pan. Once you have your parchment paper laid out on the pan, spread coconut oil on the parchment paper to avoid having failed prints stick to the pan. Spread out the 3d prints evenly on the parchment paper. If you don't have enough material, either get a smaller pan or don't fill the whole pan with the filament. Note: Failed prints / filament should covering the parchment paper so you can't see the parchment paper. If you spread the material too much, there will holes in the melted piece.

Step 4: Insert in Oven and Set Timer

Note: Picture above is not fully melted.

Insert the pan in the oven and set timer for 40 minutes. Check oven often to see how far it is in the process. Keep a close eye on it!

It may smell, so open windows to get fresh air in the house.

Remove the pan from the oven when all the filament is melted and it looks fairly flat. BE CAREFUL since the pan is very HOT when you pull it out of the oven and all the steam held up while baking comes out quickly after you open the oven. After you pull the pan out, let it cool for 10 minutes to prevent the filament from deforming so that it remains flat.

Step 5: Trace What You Desire to Make

Whatever you are making, either trace the object duplicate or find dimensions and use measuring tools to draw what you are thinking of. In this project, I am making guitar picks, so I grabbed a guitar pick that I already had and traced it with a Sharpie. When you are tracing or sketching your design, try to sketch it as close to the edges as possible and as close to each other, but also leave some space for mistakes. If you are making your own designs, use measuring tools or find things in your house you can use to make a simple shape. For example, if I were to make a coaster grab a bowl to trace a circle.

Step 6: Cutting Out Your Shapes / Designs

Now it's time to cut out your designs! Gather your tools whether your using a band saw or a rotary tool. Before turning on any of the tools make sure you've put your safety goggles on to prevent any pieces from flying in your eye. Turn on the rotary tool or band saw and set the speed between medium and high. Turning it to this speed will provide smoother edges and it will be easier to cut your designs. Grab the sheet of your melted 3D prints and start cutting. If you don't have flat ends and smooth ends, cut a little bit before starting to cut your design. I recommend not cutting right on the traced lines but instead next to, to leave more room for mistakes, you can always just sand it to its shape later. While cutting try to keep the piece as flat as you can.

Step 7: Sand Your Creations

As you can see the picture on the left is before sanding and the picture on the right is after sanding, it makes a huge difference. After you've cut all your designs, you'll notice that they are rough. I did a bubble cut leaving space for mistakes. First, you will want to sand it with a rough sand paper to form the overall shape. After you feel good about your overall shape, sand it with finer sand paper to smooth the corners and smooth the overall model.

Step 8: Enjoy Your Creation(s)!!!

Great Job!!! You've finished this Instructable!!!

If you made the guitar pick, notice how the original pick and the pick you made sound the same.

Please share your creations, I would love to see what you make.

Thanks again for visiting this Instructable!!!

Step 9: Reuse Your Failed 3D Prints Again

Save your scraps from this project so you can melt them again to make more. In the future, save all your failed 3D prints and the supports to repeat this Instructable, but next time make something completely new!!!

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    2 years ago

    Clever reuse idea - I really like the marbled effect!