3D printing using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) has become a common tool for rapid and inexpensive prototyping in engineering. However, the process can be wasteful due to the unavailability of easy recycling options for failed and no longer needed prints. This study explores the effect on material properties of recycling printed plastic parts back into filament using Polylactic Acid (PLA) as the test material. This study establishes the recycling process and then uses it to attempt to recycle previously printed PLA parts into printable 3D printing filament. To implement the process, a plastic shredding device is built using inspiration from online sources, and commercially available Filastruder and Filawinder machines are assembled and calibrated for filament extrusion and winding. In combination with a Printrbot 3D printer, an attempt is made to print, shred, extrude, and then spool PLA filament. An Instron Universal Testing Machine and Bluehill 3 software are used to test material properties at each iteration of the recycling process utilizing both a tensile and a flexure test.

Document Type

Final Report

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences Independent Study

Date of Submission