Just as the traditional artist has their treasure trove of tools and supplies with charcoal, pastels, leftover palettes, and paints that can be very expensive and then tricky to store, the maker also has an assortment of items and materials for the 3D printing process—and in fact, getting passionate about the technology can lead you to become something you may never have expected: a bit of a materials scientist. And once you budget in and spend your hard-earned dollars on filament as well as spending hours on designs, you want the materials to perform to their highest potential. This—as you may find out the hard way—can be largely up to you as time goes on and hydrophilic materials like PLA soak up moisture.
The preserving of 3D printing filament, as well as drying it, is a subject we’ve delved into further as the art of making becomes more and more popular and the challenges involved are further discovered—and discussed. From simple advice on how to keep PLA and nylon filaments dry to customized storage cabinets, the processes we have seen so far have been fairly rudimentary, along with numerous 3D printing enthusiasts coming up with their own makeshift methods.
Drying of filament is about to go mainstream now too though, thanks to Canadian startup PrintDry. If you are experiencing issues with filament crackling, popping, clogging—and ultimately failing—this nifty new drying gadget, soon to be available on Amazon, is probably something you will want to add to your arsenal.
According to the PrintDry team, most filaments can collect an alarming amount of moisture from the air, affecting your prints. Because of this, they recommend that you dry all plastic pellets and filaments before use to eliminate defects like bumps, splays, voids, and reduced tensile and impact strength. It’s common sense that we don’t want to put water into our 3D printers—but if your filament has soaked up a bunch of moisture that’s not removed beforehand, that’s exactly what you are are doing—and looking for trouble in terms of seriously damaging your machinery. At the very least, you will probably end up fighting blobs and clogs, as well as being disappointed with weak models and poor surface quality.
PrintDry is just in the process of releasing their cool little filament drying machine, and it may prove indispensable in helping you prevent all the aforementioned issues. The dryer is capable of running for up to 40 hours continuously, with an internal heating element and fan to keep the air flowing evenly. It offers two trays, separated by a metal plate, for holding your filament—whether it is 1.75 or 3mm—and you can adjust the temperature (from 35°C to 70°C or 95°F to 160°F) according to materials. Users are able to feed the filament through a convenient opening in the holding tray.
The filament dryer also allows you both to dry the filament before printing for storage, as well as feeding and drying it during the printing process itelf. Not only that, but here’s some more fun: those little desiccant packs can actually be revived in the dryer too, allowing you to regenerate and reuse them indefinitely.
This is just one more great example of user challenges and demand around the world being met with a specific, quality solution presenting new hardware that is also easy to use, compact, and affordable. At only $79, if you live in a humid environment, this sounds like a superb way to set your mind at ease regarding materials storage and ongoing performance—and if you live in a desert-like, arid area with no need to worry about any of this, you’ve just discovered one perk emanating from that famous and often oppressive dry heat.
PrintDry expects this product to be on Amazon very soon, and shipping out by July. The machine has been tested by both Intertek and TUV, and users can be assured that it meets safety standards for North America and Europe. Is this a gadget you might find handy? Discuss in the 3D Filament Drying Machine by PrintDry forum over at 3DPB.com.