Keeping your filament optimally dry is an insight I’ve garnered from my love for 3D printing. Thus, I’m thrilled to introduce four fantastic strategies that avid 3D printing fans employ to ensure their filament remains dry. Whether you’re sealing it in vacuum pouches, storing in a dry container, housing it in a specialized 3D filament keeper, or placing it in a food dryer or oven for drying, an arid setting is essential. By integrating desiccants in a sealed space, you’re on the right track. Dive into this article, and I’ll steer you through the top filament-preserving goods and home-made hacks folks have been leveraging to maintain their filament’s dryness. Let’s uncover the magic behind dry filaments and their pivotal role in impeccable 3D printing!
Why the Emphasis on Dry Filament?
Oh, how many times I’ve chanced upon forum threads, remarks, and pieces where print enthusiasts grapple with subpar 3D print outcomes without pinpointing the culprit. Often overlooked, dryness is the key! Filaments, particularly the ever-popular PLA, have this quirky tendency to soak up ambient moisture, a phenomenon termed ‘hygroscopic’. This implies that certain filaments are more susceptible, making it crucial to champion the cause of filament dryness. Did you know? Materials like PLA or ABS can latch onto nearly 10 grams of water during drying. Nylon, on the other hand, can deteriorate swiftly in humid surroundings. If you’re not proactive, this absorbed moisture can wreak havoc, leading to filament fragility, stringiness, and even steam formation when it contacts the printer’s hotend. Sometimes, you might even discern a telltale sizzle or snap, indicating moisture-laden filament. Worst-case scenario? A sodden filament could jam your hotend, demanding intricate fixes or even total replacement. To bolster your 3D printing journey, I penned a piece on ‘Navigating & Averting Nozzle Blockages’. Do give it a read!
Top Strategies for Ensuring Filament Dryness
1. Sealing in Vacuum Pouches: These pouches are nifty tools, especially ones fitted with vacuum valves. By sucking out all air, they shield the filament from moisture, smells, dust, and minuscule contaminants. When sealing your filament, double-check that all air has been evacuated. Pro tip: Always opt for pouches with valves!
Remember those packages your filament arrives in? Yep, they employ a similar principle. If you’re scouting for recommendations, the SUOCO 6-Pack Vacuum Storage Pouches are splendid. With durability and an efficient seal, these can be hooked to a regular vacuum for a swift air extraction.
If you’re inclined towards the premium route, the VacBird Vacuum Storage Pouches with an Electric Pump are a dream. The swift electric pump, robust material, and multi-utility make it an asset.
2. Storing in a Dry Container or Case: These are airtight containers, sometimes DIY-ed, incorporating desiccants that absorb moisture. Add a spool mount and a connector for a Bowden tube, and you can print straight from the box, guaranteeing impeccable dry filament every time.
Popular containers like the Dry & Dry Premium Silica Gel Packets are fantastic. They keep your filament pristine and can be paired with filament drying boxes for enhanced drying.
3. Housing in a Dedicated 3D Filament Box: These are game-changers! They come with inbuilt heating mechanisms; simply adjust the temperature and duration, and let the box work its magic. Top-notch filament boxes like the SUNLU Filament Dryer Box are worth their weight in gold. They allow concurrent drying and printing, and their silent operation ensures zero distractions.
4. Drying in an Oven or Food Dryer: If you detect moisture, consider oven-drying your filament. But proceed with caution. An oven can distort the spool, even if the filament remains unscathed. As an alternative, food dehydrators, like the Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator, offer stable temperatures and less risk. Especially handy for moisture-sensitive filaments like Nylon.
Can Filaments Become Overly Dry?
Amid the drying frenzy, it’s natural to ponder if filaments can end up too parched. Overdrying can compromise filament integrity, resulting in frailty. Small moisture levels can actually aid in smoother extrusion. Despite thermoplastics’ ability to melt and resolidify, excessive reheating is a no-no. Recurrent drying can deteriorate the filament’s quality. Hence, once dried, proper storage is paramount to avoid endless drying cycles.