Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic materials have attracted several applications, including the fused deposition modelling (FDM) process. As a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to its virgin counterpart, the use of milled recycled carbon fiber (rCF) has received much attention. The quality of the feed filament is important to avoid filament breakage and clogged nozzles during the FDM printing process. However, information about the effect of material parameters on the mechanical and physical properties of short rCF-reinforced FDM filament is still limited. This paper presents the effect of fiber loading (10 wt%, 20 wt%, and 30 wt%) and fiber size (63 µm, 75 µm, and 150 µm) on the filament's tensile properties, surface roughness, microstructure, porosity level, density, and water absorptivity. The results show that the addition of 63 µm fibers at 10 wt% loading can enhance filament tensile properties with minimal surface roughness and porosity level. The addition of rCF increased the density and reduced the material's water intake. This study also indicates a clear trade-off between the optimized properties. Hence, it is recommended that the optimization of rCF should consider the final application of the product. The findings of this study provide a new manufacturing strategy in utilizing milled rCF in potential 3D printing-based applications.
Keywords: 3D printing; composite recycling; fused deposition modelling; recycled carbon fiber; reinforced filament composite.