There is one topic that you never hear much about, that topic is waste. 3D printing creates a ton of plastic waste which should be recycled in one way or another. Printing just to print isn’t a great idea. Since I started within the industry I quickly noticed that I had a bunch of failed prints, calibration items and other scraps of plastic. I soon decided that it was my responsibility to get tubs and mark the different kinds of filament. That way they were all sorted according to type. PLA is the easiest to recycle as you can compost it and within 30-90 days it will break down into basic elements.
As far as ABS plastic goes most local waste places will accept it as long as its a piece. The stringy stuff or smaller pieces may be passed on to landfills. The best way is to seperate and collect up enough ABS to melt down into a disk or block, which can easily be done. You can than use a big sharpie to mark the disk ABS or PLA and they will gladly recycle it. Nylon is wanted by no one to my knowledge and that is why I limit my usage of Nylon. I use Nylon only when I have to.
I am currently working on making artistic creations using scrap filament. Once I finish the piece I will make sure to share it here. Be creative, much as you would with your designs. We also built a printer out of re purposed materials. The entire frame was made from scraps that were used in outdoor solar lights. Building the JunkBot with recycled materials not pnly saved on costs to build but, it has already inspired another to do the same in Australia.
Luckily I have a friend that melts down filament, chips it up and reuses it. Quite a few people within the industry have the ability to reuse these materials. If you can’t find someone to reuse than recycle it or you yourself can melt it down and re purpose it into a new usable creation. I plan to update this post after more research is done. That way I can find more ways to cut down our wasted materials. It’s a part of the process and the first thing you can do is to start limiting your prints and separate your materials as you go.
Thanks to all of those who have recently revived my passion for doing the right thing and sharing it with other so that they too can be responsible for their own filament scraps. A special thanks to Plexus, AlexC and others who have helped to inspire this post.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ
Printers can yield a bunch of great parts, especially for the budget minded builder. They contain polished hardened steel rods which are used in almost every Reprap, strap or even CnC build. If you had to buy them you will find out real quick how spend they can be. Another treasure found in discarded printers are stepper, servo and DC motors. The older the machine the better gods it has a usable stepper motor. Scanners and photo copiers also have a bunch of great parts. Another part you can snag for your 3d printer is optical end stops, they are very common in printers. A list of other useful parts are: Wiring, solenoids, a power supply, power capacitors, wall plugs, rollers, springs, gears and a treasure trove of other parts. It comes in handy to organize your parts as you dismantle your printer or scanner. Also another tip is to put down plastic or an old sheet under your printer or work space. Ink and tonar can be a nightmare so wear gloves also. So enjoy your parts, you earned it. Just sit back and let them inspire you into a new project.