I've seen several Q&As on recycling and reusing plastic from failed prints, but what have you done with the last few meters of filament? I've been keeping the ends of PLA (or sections I needed to cut) to maybe use for friction welding pieces together, but I only need so much for that. I've considered just shoving the last bit in the tube and using a new roll to push it through (so long as retractions aren't necessary).

This is especially a concern for more exotic filaments where friction welding isn't useful and the price is higher for that 1m section (something like Copperfill).

Note: I have a Bowden extruder. I imagine this is less of an issue with DD extruders.


2 Answers 2


The welding option is only appropriate if you have the tool needed for it, the lighter welding is really hard to do and if your printer allows it you could just watch for the moment the spool runs out and push the new filament as the last of the previous one gets extruded, that's what I used to do on my bowden extruder reprap and apart from a really negligible retraction problem on one layer it just works

Or you could go the cool way:

  • Use the last of the filament for friction/iron welding to fix or glue 3D printed parts together
  • Use it as regular filament with a 3D printer pen to fix 3D printed parts
  • "Use it for pin/studs/rivets/hinges in prints." as tjb1 said
  • Stock it with your failed/ waste 3D printed parts and use them in a recyclebot later to make new filament or simply melt it in an oven to make plastic boards/injection molding material
  • Throw it away but that would be a waste over time
  • Weld the fragment to the beginning of a new spool and use it that way. Most are made from metal so they aren't that easy to make at home. Here is another answer that lists other methods to weld filament including using heat shrink tubing.

  • As you mentioned, you can use it for friction welding.

  • Use it for pin/studs/rivets/hinges in prints.

  • Throw it away. 1.75mm * 1Kg is about 330m of filament, 3mm * 1Kg is about 110m of filament. The leftover isn't worth much when you consider how much is on a spool.

  • $\begingroup$ No, I get that the cost isn’t much at all. Just seemed silly to send it all to the recycler. I do like the idea of using it for rivets though! $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2017 at 14:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I just went to a 3d part manufacturer and they sold me the ends of their spools. This was very helpful because i built my 3d printer from a 3d pen and the prints are so small that i can get lots of prints on material that was almost useless to him $\endgroup$ Nov 4, 2017 at 3:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .