Sustainable Living Center Oregon
Moisture is the Enemy of 3d printers …. introducing the 3D printer Moisture Free Filament Storage System.
There are a number of tell-tale signs that indicate that your filament may be too moist to use effectively.
Absorbing moisture will cause your PLA filament to swell. Whilst this is not always obvious to the naked eye, measuring with calipers may give an indication that your PLA is too moist.
One of the biggest reasons to keep your PLA away from moisture is that it causes it to become brittle. So if your filament is snapping like dried spaghetti, it’s probably due to excess moisture.
Popping When Printing
One of the most prominent indicators that your PLA filament is too moist is that you hear clear popping sounds when printing. This is due to the water in the filament heating up, expanding, and vaporizing. You may also see some steam from the melt zone.
Poor Layer Adhesion
If your layers aren’t bonding together well, then moisture in your PLA could be the cause. If you’re having issues with layers separating or splitting, your filament may be too moist.
Low Print Surface Quality
Moist PLA filament can also have a detrimental impact on the quality of your print surface. If your print surface is noticeably worse than usual, it may be because your PLA filament needs to be more moist.
Working with dry filament could be an excellent solution for improving your 3D print quality. However, if you have a lot of rolls of different filaments, they must be stored with proper care, or you will start noticing a degradation in print quality for older rolls.
The print quality will stay precisely as a new roll if storage has been done correctly.
A low-cost storage method is to place all your filaments in a five (5) or seven (7) gal bucket with our special moisture/oxygen-free bucket lids.
With our moisture Free Filament Lid Bucket Storage System, you can have long-term filament storage and instant access without having to dry your printer filament again.
To implement out system, you will need three (3) items:
Most 3D Printer Filament storage containers don’t just store filament but they store moisture.
Push the Moisture Elimination Lid into the bucket; the air is forced out of the bucket so you can adequately store whatever you have inside, regardless of how full it is.
The lid descends into the bucket by squeezing the handle; a valve is built into the handle that lets out the maximum moisture.
HDPE Buckets are water and air-tight. Therefore, it is necessary to use HDPE 3D Printer Filament storage containers made for food storage and must be made of HDPE plastic. HDPE buckets have the number “2” on the bottom.
Unfortunately, buckets from the big box stores are not designed for food grade (HDPE).
3D printer Moisture Free Filament Buckets MUST have oxygen absorbers to get the last little bit of moisture/oxygen out.
Moisture/Oxygen Absorbers are packaged in a vacuum in a pack of 10 -100, depending on the size of the absorber. Once the pack is opened, the absorbers immediately start to absorb oxygen.
You can store your Oxygen Absorbers in the Bucket until they are ready to use.
A five (5) gal 3D printer Moisture Free Filament Bucket will need to use 2000cc of Oxygen Absorber.
If you want 2000cc, it does not matter if you use four 500cc, two 1000cc, or one 2000cc absorber. There is no advantage or disadvantage to using one absorber or ten as long as they add up to the cc’s you are looking for.
The way to tell if absorbers will still absorb oxygen is by touch. An oxygen absorber that is still fresh will feel like it is filled with soft powder.
Absorbers used up become brittle inside and feel like they are filled with coarse sand. If you leave one out for a day, then handle it, you will notice the difference.
If you’re into 3D printing, then you probably have several spools of filament lying around. It turns out, however, that lying around may not necessarily be the best place for it. Whilst PLA filament isn’t as affected by moisture as some other types, if it’s stored in humid conditions, it can have a serious impact on the quality of your 3D printing.
PLA filament is what is known as a hygroscopic material. This means that it attracts and holds water from the surrounding environment.
If it isn’t stored correctly, PLA filament can become saturated with moisture. This can cause the filament to become brittle, or cause stringing, leading to problems with your prints. Whilst PLA is not as sensitive to moisture as other 3D printing filaments can be, correct storage can reduce the risk of too much moisture absorption.
There are many different ways to store PLA filament:
Zip Lock bags
Although these bags aren’t capable of creating a complete vacuum, they will slow the progress of moisture. Zip seal bags aren’t a great option for storing your PLA filament long-term, but in the short term they can provide useful protection at a low price.
By sucking out the air from the bag, the moisture levels are kept even lower. As with zip seal bags, air will eventually enter the bag. As with zip seal bags, air will eventually enter the bag.
Plastic cereal boxes are intended to keep moisture out of your cereal, which makes them a good choice for storing your PLA filament. Most of these plastic boxes include a seal to help keep them airtight. The biggest challenge is finding boxes that are big enough to fit your spools of filament. The largest cereal boxes are usually a good fit for a single spool. These boxes are relatively inexpensive to buy individually, but the price can add up if you have a lot of spools to store.
Sealed Plastic Storage Tubs
It’s important to find storage tubs that have a gasket seal to keep air out. A standard storage tub without a gasket won’t provide a tight enough seal to keep air and moisture out for very long.
A dry box is an airtight box. This keeps the humidity inside the box at a low level, regardless of the moisture of the room where you’re storing your filament. A dry box can keep your PLA filament in peak condition for long periods, although it is a far more expensive option than the other storage solutions listed above. However, if you keep your PLA filament in humid conditions, such as a garage, you may feel the cost is worth it.
One of the most critical factors that affect the quality of your PLA prints is the temperature of your printer’s bed and the room. Where the moisture cannot be changed quickly, the temperature in the room and bed can be changed promptly.
Room temperature does significantly impact your 3D print quality. Therefore, it’s advisable to maintain a room temperature range of between 68°F – 77°F. Your prints might have defects when produced at an extreme operating temperature regardless of whether it’s too cold (results in warping) or too hot (results in deformities).
The ideal PLA bed temperature is at which you can easily print with PLA filament. The ideal printing temperature for the PLA bed should range between 68°F -140°F degrees. Suppose you print at lower or higher temperatures. In that case, your prints may come out messy, respectively, with the material not sticking properly onto it, which will also result in warping if excessive amounts of heat were used during production due to either overcooling (too cold) OR heating too much.
If the bed temperature is too low, it can be easier for your printer to print correctly. However, warping and melting are also risks when using this material in high heat because of its natural tendency towards 180-degree changes with extreme cold or heat exposure over time.
If the bed temperature is too high, your print will start to deform, and you may see some bubbling on the surface. Additionally, if it’s too hot for too long, it can cause the PLA to become brittle and crack. Ideally, a good PLA bed temperature range falls between 68°F -140°F degrees.
The best bed temperature depends on the type of filament your 3D printer uses. The following the optimal bed temperatures.
Moisture Eliminate Lid = $40.
Used HDPC 5 gal buckets = $5
Used HDPC 6 gal buckets = $7
FOB Depoe Bay, Oregon
Sustainable Living Products
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