Nothing lasts forever, including 3D printing filaments. When 3D printing filaments expire, their quality goes bad. The prints that they produce are riddled with issues that you’ve never experienced before. It can be especially frustrating since you’ll only see these issues after hours mid-print or when it’s done printing, just when you’ve invested plenty of hours already into the print.
But don’t toss out all your filament stocks just yet. Here’s how you’ll know if your filament has gone bad.
What is the common shelf life of 3D printing filaments?
The shelf life of filaments varies depending on several factors, such as the filament type and its method of storage. As we’ve said before, moisture is the number one enemy of filaments, so leaving them exposed can shorten their lifespan. With proper storage and care, you can use your filament for up to 12 months.
What does an expired filament look like?
Your filament was working fine before. Maybe it’s even your favourite to use. But you noticed that it’s been producing failed prints lately. There are also other tell-tale signs that your filament is expired depending on the type.
PLA is one of the easiest to print filaments until it goes bad. It is very hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air, which makes it easy for it to go bad. When a PLA filament absorbs moisture, it swells up, increasing the risk of extruder jams. Moisture also causes PLA to produce prints with bubbles and gaps on the surface, therefore ruining your prints. You’ll also notice that when PLA goes bad, it gets brittle and easily snaps off.
It is easy to tell if an ABS filament has gone bad. First off, its original vibrant colour fades away. When you use the filament for printing, there will be hairline gaps in between layers. These gaps make the print susceptible to molds and bacteria, separating the layers over time.
PETG is a long-lasting filament as long as it’s not exposed to moisture as it is highly hygroscopic. Therefore, it is crucial that it’s stored in an airtight container with desiccant in order to keep it dry. Fortunately, it is not as sensitive as PLA. A PETG filament can still be usable after a year of being in an open package.
Keep your 3D printing filaments longer by taking care of them!
With proper storage and care, 3D printing filaments can last you for a long time. However, if you need a restock of your favourite filaments, you’ve come to the right place! Check out our high-quality X3D Pro filaments here. For inquiries, we’ll be happy to hear from you through phone or email.