Collect, gather and store

If you're already saving your fail prints, you're doing awesome! If not, you should start saving them! You have the option to store them how ever you find efficient and convenient. Keep them in garbage bags or plastic bins. Over time you may find yourself with lots of junk, but you should hang on to the big stuff. You may discard the stringy stuff.

Sorting Parts by Material & Color

If you're interested in producing consistent colored material, you'll need to separate your parts. You should be able to distinguish ABS from PLA and sort accordingly. You can use whatever method of sorting, but we used a few shoe dividers to keep the parts separated.

Salvable Parts

Take in consideration what parts are recyclable. For the best results, you should only recycle parts that do not contain any paint, dirt, adhesives or any other solvents or chemicals. Note that these parts are going into a machine that melts plastic and extrudes it out. If the parts are dirty or have paint, the filament will have these impurities.

Crush and Smash

Break down bigger parts by using a rubber mallet. Prevent pieces from getting everywhere by smashing parts inside of a tarp bag.

Shred, Grind and Chomp!

An electric powered lawn chipper greatly speeds up the preparation process. If you already have a grinder or electric chipper, you'll need to clean out the blades and insides as any debris will add impurities to the recycled filament. We recommend using a chipper specifically just for plastic. The electric chipper pictured above allows 1.5" pieces to be shredded.
Use the chipper in a well ventilated area. A face mask is recommend as PLA can turn into dust.

Capturing chips and mulch

A tarp bag is placed over the bottom of the electric chipper where the shredded pieces will shot out from. A plastic feeder is used to push the parts down into the top of the chipper.

Material Properties

Notice that ABS material grinds down well into a mulch material. PLA material tends to break down into chips and powder.

This guide was first published on Aug 19, 2014. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Preparations) was last updated on Aug 12, 2014.

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