Identifying the plastic type of an unknown spool of filament or recyclable waste

  • Is there any way to test what kind your filament is? There are no labels on the spools and I don't know whether they are ABS or PLA.



    I got the plastic with the printer, which is no longer sold (Solidoodle 2). Since I bought it on eBay that is probably why it has unprofessional filament. The plastic filament came with the printer which is now off sale (Solidoodle v2).



    I set my extruder to 210 °C and bed to 50 °C and it printed fine (with tons of hairspray and painters tape).



    I figured out where I got it. I got it from Solidoodle (who have gone out of business) when I bought the Solidoodle 2 right after it came out.



    I bought PLA and ABS so it has to be one of the two. Any other ways without having to burn and smell plastic? I just have the roll with no numbers, works or anything on it. And how to I smell without breathing in the fumes?


    Hi Noah! I've proposed an edit to the title of your question, because "how to determine what type of filament" isn't very clear as to your actual question: it could also refer to a question about what type of filament to use for a particular purpose.

    If you try to print with it (or simply get a sample past the glass transition temperature), you might find PLA tends to smell somewhat sweet.

    @HariGanti Well it definitely didn't smell sweet

    Well, that seems to rule out PLA.

    It doesn't rule out PLA. PLA has very little odor at all, and whether you'd describe it as "sweet" probably varies by individual. If it's prints at 210/50, with no difficulty, and it's not flexible (e.g. TPE/TPU), then it's almost surely PLA, possibly/likely blended with smallish amounts of other proprietary ingredients. There's really very little else with that printability at those temperatures, which is largely why PLA is so popular.

  • Diesel

    Diesel Correct answer

    5 years ago

    ABS dissolves in acetone, you could try clipping a small section and leave it in some acetone for a few minutes and if it begins to dissolve it's safe to assume that it's ABS, if not then you'll know that it's not.



    This won't confirm that it is PLA, only whether it's ABS or not.


    Great idea! This is a lot safer and I know that it is PLA or ABS.

    I'm not sure how long it takes to dissolve, or melt but I think it's pretty quick. Certain types of nail polish removers contain acetone if you don't happen to have any laying around. Good luck!

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM