Extrusion of organic materials: our experiments

Extrusion of organic materials: how to recycle food scraps to create objects with 3D printing!


One of our main objectives has always been to try to use as much waste as possible during our experiments, in order to minimize waste.

Obtaining a new filament starting from waste allows us to give a new life to objects that have finished their life cycle: this is one of the reasons why we are proud of our project!
As you already know, it is possible to experiment with extrusion by adding organic waste to plastic in the right proportions.
In our laboratory we have tried many experiments with different materials and filaments with a mix of plastic and waste of organic materials are always a source of great satisfaction.


What organic materials have we turned into filament? 


Shells of mussels  PLA and coffee 

We have obtained filaments with coffee, orange, pumpkin and mussel shells powders, but the experiment could be repeated with many other organic waste: the important thing is to carefully follow a few simple steps.


How to transform organic waste into 3d printing filament?


The process is easy but requires a little patience. Each scrap is different and it is necessary to do some tests to get the right parameters for each stage of the process: don’t worry, we are here to guide you!


The procedure:

The first step is to collect and put aside the peels of food that we want to try to turn into filament.

Then we have to dry the peels (in the case of pumpkin and orange) or the coffee beans and mussels. This step is essential to remove the moisture that would compromise the success of the experiment. When the material is too wet, the filament is fragile, inconsistent in diameter and bubbles can form during the process, making the filament unusable. We recommend drying the waste for at least 15-20 hours.

At this point we are ready to reduce everything to a powder and sift it. Finally we can add the mixture to the virgin plastic and start the extrusion!

One of the problems we can face on, could be the non-optimal consistency of the filament after the first extrusion: if the plastic and the powder of organic material do not mix properly, the filament may not be usable. 

In this case, the problem can be easily solved by proceeding with a second extrusion (after shredding the first filament). The result will surely be a more homogeneous filament!

Once the desired amount of filament has been obtained, we can proceed with a test print!

The Felfil System allows you to test and experiment even with minimal quantities of material, in order to save time and costs.

These experiments are perfect examples of how even food scraps can be transformed into objects thanks to extrusion and 3D printing. Here in Felfil we always try to give a second life to waste materials, when possible, and every success is a source of great pride for us. We are always looking for new challenges, so if you have something to propose, do not hesitate to contact us!


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