How to Recycle Your Failed 3D Prints

3D Printing Filament Scraps

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure… or your trash could be your own treasure.

As great as 3D printing is, it tends to create a bit of wasted material. In fact, failed prints and support structures are two major causes for wasted 3D filament.

Do you ever find yourself looking at your box of scrap material and wondering, “What can I do with these failed prints?” We think that same thing. So we’ve done some investigating and came up with a list of ideas to reuse or recycle your 3D printer filament.

3D Printing Filament Recycling

Get a Filament Recycler

A recycler system is a great way to turn your excess filament or failed prints back into usable filament. The system grinds up and melts the plastic. Then extrudes it and coils it onto a spool. Many machines only grind or only melt, meaning you may need two machines. Of course, there is a machine that does all in one.

Although this seems like an ideal system, there are plenty of factors to consider. You’re likely to end up with some wonky colored spools depending on what scraps you put in the machine. Getting a spool with perfect diameter and ovality will be a bit difficult. Also, these systems are pretty spendy.

But don’t worry! We have some more cost effective options you can try out.


You’ll need some filament before you can recycle it. Check out Pro, Workday, Standard, and Specialty filaments.


Repurpose Your Scraps

Coaster made from melted 3D printer filament

Take left over filament strands and blend them up. If you’ve got large failed print pieces, place them on a sturdy surface, cover with a towel, and smash them with a mallet until they are small chunks.

Choose a cookie sheet or shaped non stick pans and fill with the ground up filament pieces. Then place in an oven or toaster oven until they all melt together. (About 220℃ for ABS or 180-200℃ for PLA)

If you used a larger pan, you can seal the plastic with a food safe resin and use as a cutting board. Or, carve out any shape you want to use as a coaster, keychain, or customized item.

PLA Recycling Service

In some locations, you may be able to take your scrap PLA to your local recycling center. Although many places will not take it. How do you recycle it then? Search for an online filament recycler where you can send them your scraps and they will recycle it for you.

It is also possible to compost PLA, either at an industrial facility or at home. This process is likely to take around 6 months.

Make ABS Juice, Glue, or Slurry

ABS Juice, Glue, and Slurry

Get more use out of your extra ABS.

ABS Juice

ABS Juice is a great way to make your ABS prints stick to the surface. Only apply on glass or on kapton tape on glass.

  1. 50mL of acetone
  2. 50cm of 3.00mm ABS filament – or 4g of ABS scrap
  3. Snip the filament into small bits for better dissolving
  4. Mix the ABS with the acetone
  5. Let sit overnight – should have the consistency of milk

ABS Glue

Use ABS Glue to stick two ABS parts together. ABS Glue works even better than super glue as it fuses the pieces.

  1. 50mL of acetone
  2. 100cm of 3.00mm ABS filament – or 8g of ABS scrap
  3. Snip the filament into small bits for better dissolving
  4. Mix the ABS with the acetone
  5. Let sit overnight – should have the consistency of glue

ABS Slurry

ABS Slurry can be used to blend the seam between two ABS pieces that were glued together. It can be used to fill in or build up areas.

  1. 50mL of acetone
  2. 250cm of 3.00mm ABS filament – or 20g of ABS scrap
  3. Snip the filament into small bits for better dissolving
  4. Mix the ABS with the acetone
  5. Let sit overnight – should have the consistency of putty

Bonus Idea

Use left over bits to complete your next print. Print these cool maracas and fill them will small scraps to make some noise.

3D printed maracas




1 Comment
  1. David 3 months ago

    Hi, Great information on Filament recycling. My Daughter has also created a video about this subject for her 8th grade science class. She would like to have your comments on her video. Thanks.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9LgRrShxRA

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