Taking care of 3D printer filaments is one of the difficulties of a 3D printing enthusiast. You may think you’ve been doing enough, but apparently, it isn’t. Everyone has been guilty of leaving a filament out in the open for far too long. Here are the possible issues you may encounter with poorly stored filaments.
- Rougher texture: Filaments that have absorbed moisture from the air produce prints that are rough and textured.
- Higher printing temperature: Filaments that have been exposed also require a higher printing temperature for proper extrusion.
Poor layer adhesion: Exposed filaments have difficulty in layer adhesion due to the higher temperature required.
- Filament breaking: Filaments become more brittle when they absorb moisture, making them more prone to breaking during printing.
- Diameter changes: Filaments that have absorbed moisture tend to bloat more.
- Popping or cracking sounds: Moist filaments emit cracking or popping sounds during printing. It is due to the water from the filaments boiling and evaporating.
- Filament tangling: Leaving the filament lying around without keeping it wound tight is bound to tangle your filaments, which can be a nuisance.
Moisture is the bane of a filament’s existence. However, some filaments are more sensitive to moisture than others. It is important to remember to keep your filaments in a tightly secured container at all times. Here are 7 secrets to storing your filaments properly.
1. Sunlu Filament Dryer Box
Sometimes, you can’t avoid getting your filaments exposed. When this happens you can still fix the damage by drying out your filaments with dryer boxes. Dryer boxes are made to reduce moisture by heating up the filament. Such an example is the Sunlu Filament Dryer Box, where it lowers the moisture by 8-15%. It can also be used as a storage box during printing.
2. Polymaker PolyBox Version 2
Polymaker PolyBox Version 2 is a secure filament storage box that stores filaments securely while allowing you to print with them. It features a thermo-hygrometer to monitor your filaments inside the box, while large bags of desiccants regulate the humidity. It can fit two 1kg spools or one 3kg spool.
3. Vacuum Bags
No longer just great for storing clothes, vacuum bags will also work well for keeping filaments dry. Vacuum bags ensure that there will be no air, mildew, mold, dust, bugs, and odours inside the bag. As an added measure, you can also add some desiccant inside the bag before vacuuming it. However, you still have to place them in a safe and secure place especially if you’ve got children or pets inside the house.
4. Desiccant or Silica Gels & Moisture Indicator Strips
If you already have an airtight box for your filaments, you can add some desiccant or silica gels to absorb any moisture and keep the humidity at bay. The best silica gels for the job are those that have moisture indicators. This lets you know how much moisture has been absorbed. However, don’t fret if you can’t find one! You can also buy separate moisture indicator strips instead.
5. DIY Drybox
What good is a 3D printer for if you can’t create your own item instead of buying it? You can easily create a 3D-printed DIY drybox. Creating your own dry box will only cost you $30 at the most. Don’t forget to add a desiccant to keep the insides moisture-free.
Check out the DIY drybox design here.
6. Secure the filament’s end
Getting your filaments tangled may not be an irreversible mistake, but it is still a mistake that can ruin your prints during printing. Make sure to secure the end of the filament with tape or inserting it in its designated hole in the spool. The key here is to avoid causing the roll to unwind. Always make sure that the filament is always wound tight.
7. Use your stored filaments regularly
You can’t just leave your filaments in storage, no matter how secured and airtight your storage is. While it can be tempting to stock up sometimes, especially during X3D’s amazing filament sales, you have to consider whether you’ll be using what you bought soon. Filaments only last for 12 months. Past its shelf life, filaments can start absorbing more moisture from the air. Check your upcoming projects first before shopping for filaments or better yet, just give the filaments you won’t be using to friends or donate it to schools.
Make your filaments last longer with these 7 Filament Storage Tips!
Storing your filaments properly contributes to your printing success. If you want to find more items to keep your filaments safe, check out our 3D printer filament storage and dryer accessories. For inquiries, contact us by email or phone.