Benchmarking A Garbage Disposal Using The 3DBenchy Tugboat

We’ve always had a love-hate relationship with 3DBenchy, the tugboat-shaped 3D printer calibration target. On one hand, it’s incredibly useful to have a common, widely used, and challenging benchmark object to evaluate printer performance and improve tuning, but we’d somehow like to get back the countless frustrated hours we’ve spent trying to get the damn thing perfect with various printers. So, it was with no little joy that we watched the video below by [Eric R Mockler], in which he uses 3DBenchy prints to benchmark his newest acquisition: a new-in-box garbage disposal he scored off Craigslist. Take that, tugboat!

[Eric] is considering using the disposal as the first step in a failed-print-recycling method to ultimately turn the waste back into filament, presumably to print more tugboats. The tiny bits produced by the disposal should provide a reasonable substitute for pelleted plastic feedstock going into a filament extruder, if the disposal is up to the task, that is. Reasoning that any device capable of grinding chicken bones should handle little plastic tugboats just as well, [Eric] gave it shot, and found that the ⅓-horsepower disposal had no problem grinding even 100%-infill PLA prints.

The video is short and to-the-point, so we’ll even excuse the portrait orientation, just this once. If you’re considering recycling your failed prints, too, you’ll also need a filament extruder, and we’ve got you covered with a low-cost version, or a high-throughput one.

8 thoughts on “Benchmarking A Garbage Disposal Using The 3DBenchy Tugboat

  1. I have replaced garbage disposals with bad bearings, and probably one with a burnt motor, but my most recent one, and another 30 or so years ago, was rendered unusable because the metal housing corroded around the plastic discharge tube, pinching off the outflow.

  2. Aren’t garbage disposals supposed to depend on the water stream for cooling?

    Also, if recycling via garbage disposal becomes the new thing in 3d printing please, do everyone that you might ever give a print to a favor. Don’t use a used disposal!

    1. I doubt they use water for cooling, since the water flow is limited to the upper part where the blades are, and the motor is in the lower part.

      I’m also a believer that (almost) anything can be suitably cleaned, given enough effort. Whether or not some things are worth the effort is another discussion.

    1. If you ever get your hands on pure PLA, that might actually be OK to dispose it like that. But even then, PLA is VERY SLOW at degrading under normal conditions (it might take a year or more in your garden compost to disapear). However, from what i’ve heard, pure PLA is almost unprintable.
      The other problem then is all the additives that get mixed in to improve stability of the polymer, printing parameters (flow) and other stuff like colors. If you know exactly what the manufacturer puts in the filament, you can actually check if it’s safe to dispose like that. I’ve never actually seen any manufacturer provide a list of all chemicals mixed into theyr PLA tho…

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