3D Printing with Old Compact Disc (CD) Cases

3D Printing with Old Compact Disc (CD) Cases

Our last few material experiments have utilized things that few people would ever want to use to print. Squatty Potties are too expensive, Vacuum nozzles aren't exactly common, and Lego are too much fun. Today, though, we're going to print with something that many of you had stockpiled for a while - CD Cases.

I don't know about you, but there was a time that I consolidated my CD collection into something more efficient than CD Jewel cases. Man, those things took up a ton of space. And as a part-time DJ, I had a lot of CDs. I can still remember wondering what to do with the hundreds of cases I had left. Ultimately, I gave them away. But if I had only known to wait a few years... I could have printed something with them.

We haven't made a time machine, yet, but we did wind up with a few boxes of old CD cases from a local recycling facility. I wonder if some of the ones I gave away were in that pile...?

CD cases are primarily made of polystyrene, which is simple enough to convert into filament on our systems. We rummaged through our boxes and removed any of the cases that were dirty, stickered, or had anything else on them that wasn't clean plastic. 

The plastic on these CD cases is thin enough that grinding was fast and simple. No prep work like on the last study, when we had to chunk the Squatty Potty samples up. We didn't separate anything by color as the type of material was the same, unlike with the Lego bricks we ground.

Extrusion was simple, and if you want to grab the data sheet we created you can find it here. How To: 3D Print with CD Cases

We didn't end up using a melt filter for this extrusion, because we found enough clean plastic that we weren't concerned. If your cases are a bit dirtier, you may want one.

Our test print came out great, so we even made a second, more complex one. We're really liking this velcro print method we've been using. If you haven't tried it, you really should.

If you want to grab a sample of this filament, head on over to the store and grab yourself some free upcycle CD cases! CD Case Filament Sample 


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