How to Store 3D Printer Filament: Tips for Perfect Prints
Have you experienced the amazing magic of 3D printers? The process and the product can be awesome. But have you seen some cases of 3D printing failures? Apart from operations, the quality of 3D printer filament might be the biggest cause and improper storage can damage its quality. So, to ensure a smooth and perfect printing result, proper 3D printer filament storage is crucial.
In this article, we will provide you with expert tips on how to store your 3D printer filament to ensure the best printing experience. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced 3D printer enthusiast, these tips will definitely help you!
Why Is It Important to Keep Filament Dry?
While storing 3D printer filaments, moisture can be a filament’s worst enemy. It can cause a range of print quality issues and even damage the printer itself. Here are some reasons explaining why it is important to keep your filament dry.
- Preserves filament color and appearance:Moisture can cause discoloration and fading of filament. Keeping filament dry helps maintain its original color vibrancy, ensuring visually appealing prints.
- Minimize filament breakage:Moisture-absorbed filaments are often brittle, which makes them easier to break down, causing failed prints and wasted material, as well as potential damage to the printer's extruder and other components.
- Prevent nozzle clogs:When filament with moisture is extruded through your 3D printer, it can create steam and bubbles. They can cause nozzle clogs and affect the printer's overall functionality. Dry filaments can reduce such risks effectively.
Enhance print quality:When filament absorbs moisture, it may lead to printing problems such as bubbling, uneven layers, and poor adhesion. These issues will compromise the quality of your finished products. Therefore, keeping filament dry is the key to optimal print quality.
How to Store Filament?
As keeping filaments dry is essential for maintaining the printer's functionality and ensuring excellent prints, we should find out the best way to store these filaments.
Organize Filament on Shelves
The simplest way to store filaments is to keep them organized on shelves. To prevent deformation and tangling, it is recommended that spools be stored vertically, and stacked upright. Remember to keep the storage area clean and dry with stable temperature and humidity levels.
Choose Proper Filament Storage Containers
When selecting filament storage containers, it is preferable to select those that provide an airtight seal to protect the filament from exposure to moisture and dust. Clear or translucent containers are preferred because they allow easy monitoring of the stored filament without opening the container.
Use Filament Dryer
For moisture-absorbed filament, using a filament dryer can be a workaround. Such dryers use heat and a fan to dry out and rejuvenate filament, restoring it to optimal printing conditions.
Vacuum Seal Filament
Vacuum sealing filament is a great way to store 3D printer filament for long periods of time. A vacuum sealer creates an airtight seal around the filament spool, preventing air and moisture from damaging the filament.
What to Do if Your Filament Becomes Too Wet?
If your filament becomes too wet, please dry it before using it in your 3D printer to prevent serious printing problems. Here are various methods you can try to absorb filament moisture.
- Dry it out with a filament dryer:If your filament has absorbed moisture, using a filament dryer is the most straightforward solution. Just place the wet filament in the dryer, set the appropriate temperature and time, and let it gradually heat and remove the moisture.
- Bake the filament in an oven:If you have no access to a filament dryer, you can try a conventional oven to dry out the filament. Preheat the oven to a low temperature (around 50°C or 122°F) and place the filament on a baking sheet. Leave it in the oven for a few hours and periodically check to ensure it doesn’t overheat or melt.
Store the filament in a dry box with desiccant:After drying the filament, remember to store it properly. A dry box with desiccant is highly recommended to remove minor moisture. Desiccants, such as silica gel or desiccant packs, will also absorb the moisture in the sealed container.
Two Best 3D Printers for Multiple Filament Compatibility
When it comes to 3D printing, the output quality not only depends on the filament quality, but also on the 3D printer. To achieve optimal printing quality, it's wise to select a 3D printer that can handle multiple filaments. Let’s take a look at two recommended options.
AnkerMake M5 3D Printer
The AnkerMake M5 3D Printer is a versatile option that offers excellent filament compatibility. Its hot-end design and extrusion system can handle a wide range of filament diameters and materials, from standard PLA to more advanced filaments such as Nylon or flexible TPU. With its precision and double CPU structure, this printer stands out in dealing with cryogenic materials, especially under multi-task circumstances.
AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer
The AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer is another great choice for handling multiple filaments to ensure ideal printing conditions. Compared with M5 3D printer, it features an advanced hot-end temperature control and a robust extrusion flow, allowing for quicker printing speed with more filaments used in specific engineering. Besides, its one-CPU design makes it more dedicated to specific printing tasks. Its consistent and reliable performance will also guarantee a smooth printing experience.
In conclusion, understanding 3D print filament storage is crucial for achieving optimal printing results. Proper storage guarantees filament quality, ensuring flawless prints. Moisture control, as emphasized, is pivotal for success. Employing storage methods like organized shelving, suitable containers, filament dryers, and vacuum sealing safeguards filament integrity.
Additionally, if you're interested in using multiple filaments, selecting the right 3D printers that offer compatibility with various materials is key to expanding your creative possibilities.
How long can 3D printer filament sit out?
3D printer filament can sit out for varying periods, depending on the material. PLA filament can sit out for a few weeks to a couple of months without significant degradation. However, some materials which are more sensitive to moisture such as ABS, nylon and PVA may start to absorb moisture within a few days.
How to store PLA filament?
For correct PLA filament storage, keep it in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag with desiccant packs to prevent moisture absorption. Store the container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to maintain its integrity and prevent print quality issues.
Is filament dryer worth it?
Yes, a filament dryer is an effective helper for 3D filament storage, especially for those who regularly work with moisture-sensitive filaments. The dryer can effectively remove moisture from the filament, in order to save time and bring improved print quality.
What happens if you don't dry your filament?
If you don't dry your filament before printing, there are several negative effects that can affect your print. Here are some common problems you may encounter.
- Steam bubbles:The moisture within the filament can turn to steam during the heating process. This can cause steam bubbles to form in the print, which can affect the structural integrity of the printed object.
- Clogging:Moisture can cause the filament to swell or expand, which can lead to nozzle clogs in your printer. Clogging prevents smooth extrusion and can interfere with the printing process.
- Printer damage:When using wet filament for 3D printing, the moisture can condense or evaporate inside the hot-end or other components of the printer. Over time, this can damage the internal mechanisms of the printer, requiring repair or replacement.