Multi-color 3D printing with a single hotend often results in wasteful “purge poops” during filament changes. These colorful waste chunks can lead to substantial plastic waste. Stefan from CNC Kitchen tackled the issue by exploring ways to recycle these purge poops into usable filament. He used a commercial lab-scale filament extruder, the 3Devo Composer, but the principles can apply to various extruders, including DIY setups.
His experiments revealed a few key insights. Purge poops needed shredding to make them suitable for extrusion. Additionally, maintaining cleanliness and avoiding cross-contamination with other plastics or metal bits was crucial. Preventing water contamination was also essential, as moisture affected the quality of the resulting filament. Fresh purge poops from a recent print run yielded the best results.
Stefan eventually developed a process that produced usable filament with good print quality and even desirable colors, depending on the mix of input colors. While not everyone may have access to a specialized filament extruder, this work demonstrates a viable approach to reducing plastic waste generated by 3D printers, particularly those with multi-material capabilities.
None of us actually like dealing with “Printer poop” but it is a necessary evil in the printing hobby but now that you’ve seen how you can handle this issue, why not try it out with our incredible range of Creality Printers.
Read more: Lessons in Printer Poop Recycling