When it comes to 3D printing, the quality of the filament used plays a crucial role in the outcome of the print. But did you know that how you store your filament can also impact its performance? Proper storage is essential to maintain the integrity of the filament and ensure optimal printing results. In this blog post, we will explore the best ways to store 3D printer filament to prolong its shelf life and preserve its quality.
Vacuum Sealing for Long-Term Storage
One of the most effective methods for storing 3D printer filament for an extended period is vacuum sealing. By removing all the air from the storage container, you prevent moisture from entering and damaging the filament. Moisture can cause the filament to become brittle, resulting in poor print quality and potential clogs in your 3D printer's nozzle. Vacuum-sealing the filament in airtight bags or containers can help preserve its quality and ensure consistent printing performance.
Vacuum Bags: One of the most common and cost-effective methods involves using vacuum bags designed explicitly for vacuum sealing. These bags are typically made from puncture-resistant, multi-layer materials that offer protection against environmental elements. To vacuum-seal filament using these bags, you place the spool inside, seal it partially, attach a vacuum pump to the dedicated valve, and then remove the air. Once the bag is fully compressed, you complete the seal. These bags are transparent, allowing you to easily identify the stored filament.
Airtight Containers: For those looking for a more robust and reusable solution, airtight containers are an excellent choice. These containers are specially designed to create a sealed environment. They often feature silicone gaskets and secure latches that provide an airtight seal. To vacuum-seal filament within an airtight container, place the spool inside, secure the lid, and then use a compatible vacuum pump or adapter to remove the air. These containers come in various sizes, allowing you to store multiple spools of filament simultaneously.
Vacuum Sealing Machines: To achieve professional-grade vacuum sealing, you can invest in a vacuum sealing machine. These devices are highly efficient and offer precise control over the vacuum and sealing process. They often come with adjustable settings, ensuring that you can customize the level of vacuum and sealing to meet the specific requirements of your filament. Vacuum sealing machines work well with both bags and containers, making them versatile for various storage needs.
Using Desiccant Packs to Control Moisture
Moisture is the enemy of 3D printer filament, and controlling humidity levels is crucial for its storage. Desiccant packs, which are small packets containing moisture-absorbing materials like silica gel, can help maintain the ideal moisture level inside the storage container. Placing a few desiccant packs alongside the filament can help absorb any moisture that might be present, preventing it from affecting the filament's quality. While desiccant packs are efficient, they have a saturation point. Once they have absorbed their maximum moisture capacity, they become less effective. To maintain their efficiency, it's essential to monitor and periodically replace the desiccant packs. Most desiccants change color as they saturate with moisture, serving as a visual indicator for replacement.
Regularly replacing the desiccant packs ensures that the filament remains dry and in optimal condition for printing. Therefore, desiccant bags are suitable for short-term 3d filaments storage.
Keeping Filament in a Dry Cabinet
If you live in a humid climate or frequently face high humidity levels, storing your 3D printer filament in a dry cabinet is highly recommended. A dry cabinet or filament storage box is designed to maintain a controlled environment with low humidity. These cabinets are equipped with moisture-absorbing materials and often have built-in temperature controls. By storing your filament in a dry cabinet, you can significantly reduce the risk of moisture absorption and ensure the filament remains in excellent condition for printing.
Another similar solution could be to using Sunlu’s FilaDryer S4 which you not only can store your filament inside but can also print while the filament is drying! Now isn’t that cool ?!
Temperature Control for Filament Storage
In addition to managing moisture levels, controlling the temperature is another crucial factor in storing 3D printer filament. Extreme temperature fluctuations can adversely affect the filament's quality and performance. It is recommended to store the filament in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Avoid storing it in basements, attics, or near windows where temperature variations are common. Keeping the filament at a stable temperature will help maintain its integrity and ensure consistent printing results.
Proper storage of 3D printer filament is essential for maintaining its quality and achieving optimal printing results. Whether you choose to vacuum seal the filament, use desiccant packs, store it in a dry cabinet, or control the temperature, taking the necessary steps to preserve the filament's integrity will go a long way. By following these best practices and organizing your filament spools, you can ensure that your 3D printing projects are successful, and your filament lasts longer.