When Filament Gets Temperamental
Nothing beats the level of excitement as your new roll of 3D printer filament arrives. You eagerly start the first print with your new filament and a few hours later, you’re showing your beautifully printed object to family and friends. A few days later, you decide to print again and conveniently you have left the new roll of filament installed and ready to print. You’ve even left the original G-Code file used to print your first object. The print begins and after a few hours you check up on the print and with great disappointment, you see that the print quality is not like your first attempt. The nozzle appears to be blocked and the filament has snapped near the extruder. You can't understand why this has happened, the print is aborted and restarted. This time you observe the print in progress and pick up on a popping sound around the hotend. Once again, the print quality is still poor.
Why has this happened?
3D Printer filaments such as PLA (Polylactic Acid) are hygroscopic. This means the filament will absorb moisture if left out in the open and not stored properly. The scenario above illustrates a typical case of wet filament and some of the printing issues that may be encountered. Therefore, it is important to store 3D printing filaments free of moisture.
How can I prevent this from happening?
There are a few ways to store 3D printing filament:
- Use the resealable bag and desiccant sachets that come with your DaVinci Lab filament.
- The dry box method - Where a sealable box with moisture absorbers are used to not only prevent moisture from entering the box but also absorb any moisture that may be in the box and ultimately create a dry environment to store filament.
Rolls of filament that have already absorbed moisture can be saved!
There are specific filament drying devices that can be used, however they are often expensive and can only dry one roll at a time. Baking the roll of filament in the oven at about 60-70 degrees for at least four hours, is a good option that many 3D printing enthusiasts use. At DaVinci Lab, we use a DriBuddi (clothes dryer) to dry our filament. Not only does it hold up to twelve rolls, we can also print from the DriBuddi.
Wet filament is definitely something we, as 3D printing enthusiasts, want to avoid. Hopefully this will help you to prevent or significantly minimise the hygroscopic effect on your filament.