3D printers have opened so many doors for hobbyists and professionals alike. However, these devices rely on plastics to create innovative products, which can contribute to our world’s collective waste problem. You don’t need to sacrifice sustainability for technological advancements; here are some helpful tips for reducing your 3D printing waste.
Limit Support Structures
3D printing support structures can help stabilize your project while your materials set or cure. However, these components produce a lot of excess plastic that you won’t even include in your final product. Try limiting your support structures or eliminating them altogether. You can do this by using slicing software or incorporating the structure into your overall design.
Print One at a Time
As you hone your 3D printing skills, it’s easy to get a little overzealous. However, attempting to print too many parts at once increases the likelihood of a failed print job. It’s better to slow down and print components one at a time so that failures from one attempt don’t ruin the next. This helpful tip for reducing your 3D printing waste will keep your projects out of landfills where they may take years to break down.
Use the Right Materials
3D printers utilize various materials to create parts and products, and some are more sustainable than others. Thermosets like resin have several advantages, but they are difficult to reuse and recycle. On the other hand, one of the many benefits of PEEK filament and similar materials is their eco-friendliness. You can melt down and repurpose these thermoplastics, decreasing the number of materials you’re using and buying for various projects.
Purchase Recycled Filaments
If you do have to buy more materials, consider purchasing recycled filaments for your next printing job. Professionals make recycled filament out of various plastic scraps, including water bottles and failed 3D printing jobs. Before buying new printing materials, check and see if your provider offers sustainable options. Product descriptions will usually indicate how much recyclable material is in your filament so you can make an informed decision.
It’s important to consider 3D printing environmental implications, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. By being mindful of your printing practices, you can create high-quality projects without causing harm to the Earth.