Can I mix ABS and PLA when recycling filament?


I'm thinking of recycling some filament from a couple of recently failed prints. I can reuse them in the future for basic prototypes, so I'm not concerned with whatever weird mixture of colors come out (they are of a few different colors).

The thing is, I have both PLA and ABS, in small quantities. I originally intended to simply use each one separately, but it occurred to me that they could be mixed.

If I recycle PLA and ABS together into one strand of filament, will there be any negative side effects (e.g. reduced strength)?

HDE 226868

Posted 2016-01-14T21:48:19.053

Reputation: 1 306



This is not a good idea. Both filaments have different melting points, that of ABS being much higher than that of PLA. To melt the ABS you have to heat the plastic to the point where the PLA starts to degrade.

Tom van der Zanden

Posted 2016-01-14T21:48:19.053

Reputation: 14 003

1While I agree it's not a good idea, I don't think it's completely improbable. I've had success in the past with printing ABS and PLA (separately) between 220-225C with no issues printing. In the end, if you combined the two materials, you would need to relearn what extrusion temperatures work for the new material. You'll probably lose a lot of the strength of ABS and rigidity in the PLA by combining them, however it would be a nice cheap alternative if you have a bunch of scrap material and need a simple knick-knack. – tbm0115 – 2016-04-05T14:07:43.193


Simply put, PLA and ABS should not be mixed into a filament.

The most common issues most printers experience, such as delayering, warping, etc., are addressed completely differently based on the material you are working with. There are many examples of this, and I will attempt to go over some of the basic ones.

You will have extreme difficulty getting proper layer adhesion. Assuming you have a level, flat, semi-coarse (helps) surface for the first layer, the recommended heated bed temperature is 70C for PLA. With ABS, you will experience warping by the 5th layer at that temperature. ABS prefers 110C for a heated bed, and 80C for a heated chamber (personal experience for most reliable results). Next issue is going to be delayering and stringing. There is no happy medium! Matter of fact, the number of issues even attempting this is almost too many to list. The quality will be complete garbage. On one hand you will have delayering, warping, and jamming of the ABS when set to PLA specs, and stringing, leaking, etc., when set to ABS specs.

I hope this helps.

Alex Sky

Posted 2016-01-14T21:48:19.053

Reputation: 443


Mix 'em, let us know how you go. You're unlikely to damage your printer, and you're only 'wasting' scrap.

I suspect that if you mix in small quantities of ABS (30% or less) you'll end up with a PLA mix similar to a 'wood' or 'metal' PLA filament.

To that end, recommend trying to print with PLA settings first, and going from there.

Make sure you let us know how you go, it'll be real interesting to see the results!


Posted 2016-01-14T21:48:19.053

Reputation: 11


yes but you would have to experiment with the settings to see were it afectivly melts.

Mark Williamson

Posted 2016-01-14T21:48:19.053

Reputation: 40