07 Oct How to recycle PLA 3D prints and turn them into new filament with Felfil Evo
Many times failed 3D prints often accumulate or are thrown away: why not give them a second life and turn them into new filament? With Felfil Evo this is possible!
As every enthusiast knows, PLA is one of the most used materials in 3D printing: in fact, it is easily printed at low temperatures and does not require a heated bed. Moreover, it is quite inexpensive and it is not toxic.
For this reason, you will easily find yourself having numerous PLA prints on your desk or scattered around the house. Probably some, the best ones, will be proudly kept as ornaments or used for the most different purposes; but, as we know well, for every successful 3D printing it is necessary to realize a lot of test prints.
You probably wondered how to use the test prints: throwing them in the trash would be a real waste, but on the other hand they take up space and you don’t always have a place to store them.
It is in these situations that a filament extruder as our Felfil Evo comes in handy: it allows, in fact, to recycle 3D prints in PLA and transform them into new filament suitable to be 3D printed again. And what’s more, is that everything can be done on your desk.
Recycling PLA with Felfil Evo
With Felfil Evo recycling the PLA is simple and takes little time if you follow the correct procedure.
First of all, to extrude your 3D prints and turn them into filament you need to chop them into small pieces: they don’t need them to be the same size, but it is important that you cut them small enough (about 8mm) so that they can fill in the Felfil Evo tank and from there go into the extrusion chamber. To do this, you can use a shredder or alternatively a normal kitchen blender.
If the PLA that you are using is not fresh from production, we recommend drying it (for example with a hair dryer) to get optimal results: in fact, it tends to accumulate moisture, which ruins the quality of the extrusion.
At the same time, to speed up the operations you can turn on Felfil Evo and bring the temperature to around 180° -190°: it is the optimal range to work with the PLA.
Now the chopped prints should be put into the tank until it is full and the RPMs (round per minute), ie the motor speed, needs to be adjusted, depending on the filament diameter you want to extrude. For the 1.75 mm one we recommend staying at 6/7 RPM, while if you want to get 2.85 mm filament the suggestion is to set the RPM to 8/9.
Once the preliminary operations are completed, you can begin to extrude. For best results we recommend using Felfil Spooler together with Felfil Evo; otherwise, it is possible to place the extruder on the edge of a table and let the extruded filament wrap on the floor.
To check if the extrusion is going fine, if you don’t use Felfil Spooler we recommend having a caliper to measure the diameter of the filament on the floor. If it is too thin, increase the RPM or decrease the temperature, and vice versa. The filament diameter also depends on the surrounding environmental conditions, and there are no universally valid settings.
It is possible to create new filament starting exclusively from recycled PLA, as we showed in our video guide, which we invite you to watch; however, to ease the extrusion process we recommend to use a part of virgin PLA, which is easier to treat. In this way, the quality of the extrusion will increase further.
Recycling the PLA with Felfil Evo, therefore, is easy: if you want to give your 3D prints a second life, we suggest you try a filament extruder!