Recycling 3D Printer Feedstock Using Liquid Nitrogen

Home 3D printing en mass requires ecological consideration, particularly for popular 3D printing plastic ABS. Polylactic Acid (PLA) has a much better reputation as it is derived from starches available in crops such as maise. Recycling plastic at home using devices such as the Filastruder, Filabot and Lyman Filament Extruder is a solution that has emerged in recent years. 

An interesting and fun idea – for maker enthusiasts at home and perhaps teachers in the classroom – for grinding down old plastic for use in these machines is using liquid nitrogen, to cool PLA plastic below its brittle transition temperature.

Most plastic extruders available convert small plastic granules into plastic filament, but the granules can be difficult to make. By using liquid nitrogen to cool a polymer below its brittle transition temperature, a common household blender can be used to grind down plastic for filament extruders. The ideal source would be old 3D prints to perpetuate a sustainable production loop, also many other sources of household plastic waste can be used such as plastic bottles. This also has the benefit of reducing the price of input plastic for your home 3D printer, which averages around USD$40 per kilogram, though can be found more cheaply, and also at much more expensive prices. … (Read more)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.