What humidity should PLA filament be stored at?

Alright, Carolina here, the tech enthusiast who lives and breathes all things I adore! Let’s dive into the world of 3D printing filaments and keep those prints pristine!


When Your 3D Prints Aren’t Just Right: The Hidden Culprit!

Hey tech lovers! Ever faced the annoyance of subpar 3D prints or even heard your filament making strange popping sounds? Well, you might be overlooking the sneaky role of humidity and moisture your filament might be soaking up from the atmosphere. I’ve seen many a tech trainee overlook the impact of humidity on their filament storage, leading to such issues.

Your ideal filament storage? An airtight container with those nifty little desiccants to ward off that pesky moisture. And if your filament feels damp, a stint in the oven on a gentle heat setting for several hours should work wonders.

Deep Dive Into Filament Know-How!

– Does Filament Need a Dry Spell?
– Which Filaments Should Stay Dry?
– Perfecting the Art of Drying Different Filaments
– Drying Filament Under the Sun: Yay or Nay?
– Moisture’s Role in 3D Printer Filament Performance

The Moisture Mythbuster

There’s a lot of chatter out there about whether you need to be super cautious about keeping your filament dry. Especially when we discuss PLA, remember it’s a tad hygroscopic – meaning it loves to pull moisture from its surroundings. But it has its limits. If PLA took a 30-day underwater challenge, it would only gain about 4% in weight. In regular conditions, this isn’t a game-changer.

However, in a super moist environment with soaring temperatures, PLA and ABS filaments might get moody. They are sensitive, but not dramatically so. When there’s excessive moisture, you might notice a dip in print quality or hear popping sounds as water-laden filament meets high temperatures. Plus, PLA gets a bit fragile when damp – so your prints might not be as robust, or your filament might just snap mid-print. Ouch!

Remember, it’s not just about the print. It’s about ensuring longevity and quality of your filament:

– Prolonged filament life
– No nozzle blockages
– No print failures due to moisture
– Reduced risk of brittle filament

Which Filaments Are the Drama Queens?

– Nylon-based filament
– PVA-based filament
– Flexibles
– Polycarbonate

These babies require some TLC when it comes to storage. If you don’t have a specialized room with controlled humidity, don’t sweat it! There are workarounds.

Seal the Deal with Your Filaments!

It’s always a good strategy to treat your filaments as if they’re the sensitive kind. Sure, some of you might have had a run-in with moisture-laden PLA filament, but a quick oven-dry session could be a game changer. If your filament starts releasing steam during printing, prepare for a bumpy ride. Those steamy bubbles can burst, causing your prints to have unwanted imperfections.

The Drying Manual

Be mindful of the glass transition temperature of your filaments. You don’t want them to melt into a puddle!

– PLA Filament: Give it a warm hug in the oven at 120°F (50°C) for a couple of hours.
– ABS Filament: Needs a hotter embrace. An oven stint at 154°F (70°C) for an hour or two should do.
– PETG Filament: Oven-dry this one at about 150°F (65°C) for 4-6 hours. Or use your printer’s heated bed with foil to maintain the warmth.
– Nylon Filament: This one’s a marathon. A good 160°F (70°C) oven temperature, but it might require up to 10 hours to really dry out.

The Sunbathing Debate

Thinking of using the sun to dry your filaments? Think again. Even on the sunniest days, the sun’s heat isn’t potent enough to evaporate the trapped moisture. And, guess what? Your filament will continue absorbing moisture outdoors.

Moisture’s Impact on 3D Printing

Remember, moisture-loaded filament can give you unsatisfactory prints. Even if they don’t outright fail, there’s a visible drop in quality. Those using Nylon or PVA-based filament – stay alert and ensure they’re kept dry. Filaments like Wood-fill PLA are also more susceptible to humidity.

Storing Your Filaments Like a Pro!

– DIY Dry Storage Box: Craft one from common parts. It can double as a spool holder!
– Professional Dry Storage: PolyMaker PolyBox Edition II is a great pick. It caters to dual extrusion 3D printers and has a built-in thermo-hygrometer.

Best Vacuum Sealed Storage?

For stellar storage, the Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags are a great bet. They’re robust and you can also use them for other storage needs.

Target Humidity Levels

Aim for as close to zero humidity as possible. But under 15% is a good ballpark. Some regions might experience humidity levels of up to 90%, which can spell trouble for your filament. Investing in a hygrometer can be a wise move to keep tabs on environmental conditions.

Final Thoughts

Your filament’s environment is crucial. Make sure to soak in all these tips and keep those prints perfect!

Stay techie, stay fantastic!