If you were to jot down a list of reasons that a 3D print could fail, that list would include things like cheap filaments, jams in the extruder, a poorly sliced model, an uncalibrated printing bed or even an unaccounted for cool breeze throwing off the temperature. But a likely reason for a lot of failures is improperly stored filaments. Because it is a plant-based material, PLA has a bad tendency of absorbing ambient moisture, especially if there is a high rate of humidity in the room where it is stored. An easy way to curb the absorption of moisture is to keep any unused spools of filament in an airtight container in a cool and dry place, but even that isn’t a guarantee. Not to mention the huge pain of having to dig through a box of filament each time you want to print something.
South Dakota’s Odin Manufacturing and Design Consultants just launched a new crowdfunding campaign for a product that could potentially eliminate both of those hassles and keep filament easy to access and nice and dry. The 3D Printer Filament Storage Stand was just launched on Kickstarter this week and is looking to raise $25,000 to fully fund its production. The campaign is well on the way to meeting its goal with the first ten units offered at a discounted price having sold out within the first thirty six hours. That already pushed the campaign to a quarter of its final funding goal.
Odin’s filament storage stand not only organizes up to six standard 1kg spools of 3D printing filament, but it seals it inside of a stand that feeds it directly to the 3D printer. Additionally, the storage stand is completely sealed and designed to control humidity levels, which prevents the filament from absorbing moisture. During the testing phase, Odin measured the humidity inside and outside of the cabinet and the filament chamber easily maintained 10% or less relative humidity even when the relative humidity level outside of it was over 50%.
Those low humidity levels are obtained by combining two common methods of drying filament and incorporating them directly into the cabinet. The first is a large bag of rechargeable silica stored inside, similar to the smaller bags of silica individual spools of filaments come with when they are purchased and shipped. You often find small bags of silica in electronics or boxes of shoes because the material absorbs large amounts of ambient moisture very effectively. The bag shipped with Odin’s cabinet will last for about three to six months and can easily be recharged by baking it in an oven on low temperatures.
Odin also designed an integrated low wattage heat source that keeps the air inside the chamber slightly above room temperature and helps circulate it throughout the cabinet. The heated air will prevent moisture from building up in the chamber and the dry, recirculating air will prevent the filament from getting damp. The cabinet and heating element is powered by a simple 110V outlet.
The storage cabinet was designed to hold a standard sized (16” deep by 19.5” wide) 3D printer on top of it, allowing the filament to be feed to the printer from below. It was designed to work well with MakerBot Replicator 2/2X 3D printers, but will also easily support any printer of a similar size. This adds a stable place to store filament for printing without taking up any additional desk or work table space.
At this point Odin has completed the testing phase, completed a sample of the production ready product and already sourced components for the first set of units. The Kickstarter campaign was launched on 8-17-2015 and will run until 9-16-2015. The campaign offers a $10 and a $25 thank you pledge, ten $269 earlybird priced cabinets that have already sold out, twenty more units available at a discounted $299 and $349 for full priced units. Odin is also offering discounted multiple unit packs of five cabinets or ten cabinets for $1,299 or $2,589 respectively.
Let us know what you think of this new filament storage solution over on our 3D Printer Filament Storage and Dryer on Kickstarter forum at 3DPB.com.
Take a look at the Kickstarter campaign video here: