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  1. #1
    Engineer-in-Training
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    390

    Dehydrate your filaments?

    Lots of light to heavy rain here lately.

    I keep my printers in a detached, unheated, not sealed too well, garage.

    Been noticing the last couple of days that I have been getting some tiny spots in my prints and getting worse. Still new to the printing world I took to the net to find out that moisture....hmm...can cause these issues. Hydroscopic filament..ok. What can you do to fix this?

    Oven, microwave, bonfire, buy a new roll?

    I did find some posts and videos talking about using a dehydrator to pull the moisture from the filament. I love me some beef jerky, so I already own one....on to the test.

    4 rolls of PLA and one roll of ABS is in the dehydrator as I type. ABS on the bottom of the stack, nearest the heater, with a big ass stainless steel pot sitting upside down on top (only thing I had that was big enough to fit on my dehydrator).

    I'll find out tomorrow if it helped at all and then the next step is to keep it from happening again. I have seen totes used to hold the filament with moisture absorbers in them. I do have a mini dehumidifier that might be the better way.

    Anyone else ran into this issue and came up with a fix for removing the moisture and keeping the moisture out?

  2. #2
    Engineer
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    May 2016
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    Annapolis, MD
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    499
    The best approach is prevention. Don't let it get wet in the first place. Lots of folks take a dry box approach, you might look that up on Thingiverse. Most use desiccant, but there are also some small dehumidifiers around. I think the small dehumidifiers are mostly a little heater. Cheap, easily re-sealable, air tight (mostly) containers are available at Sam's Club, Walmart, Target and others. One brand is Sterilite. (https://www.target.com/p/sterilite-1...h/-/A-15066036 ) There are many others. Also several folks on Thingi have designed clips to hold the lids on them down more tightly. Another approach is to use really big Zip Lock bags with desiccant in them as well. But be gentle as the zip lock bags will hole easily.

    Be very careful not to get the temperature on your filament too high as you try to dry it. You know this stuff does melt... I have heard reports of drying filament (or keeping it in a slightly warm oven for several hours) both working, or having zero effect. I have two rolls of ABS that sounds like popcorn when I print with it. Little bubbles form as it comes out of the nozzle when ever I use it. It came from the factory that way and I have tried "drying" it in the oven but that didn't seem to do anything at all.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Engineer-in-Training
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    Jun 2017
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    390
    It worked, somewhat. I left it in there for 12 hours. The hottest temp I read on the outside of the pot I had covering it was only 90 F. Did a small test print with it today and it got rid of 90% of the spots. I'll put it back in for another few hours and see what happens. My next step is to tackle the prevention.

  4. #4
    Engineer
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    May 2016
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    That's great! Better luck than I experienced with my poppin' ABS. FYI, the "Sterilite" box claim to fame is the very compressible foam that runs around the entire lid joint. It does a substantially better job of sealing the contents from ambient air / humidity. Most of the other box varieties don't have that feature, hence the "hold down clip" interest. I've seen a similar box at Sam's Club lately, but didn't catch the brand or pricing.

  5. #5
    Engineer-in-Training
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    Jun 2017
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    One of the other filaments that I had in the dehydrator had some stringing issues that was slightly worse than others. I have been running small tests on each filament I buy and writing the results on the side of the roll to remember them when I use it. This particular filament had me using a 6.5mm retraction with a Bowden setup. While digging around last night I found some statements discussing the dehydrating helping with that as well. Plopped it into the printer and ran it through some more tests. I was able to knock it down to 4mm! Tickled pink and I am now contemplating dehydrating all of my filament and even new purchases.

    Placed an order for some tubing and quick connectors to make a container to hold my filament. Hopefully, I'll only have about an inch of open space (where the filament goes through the extruder) open to air when it is all said and done.

  6. #6
    Engineer
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    May 2016
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    This is the one I saw at Sam's Club. It may be larger than desired.
    https://m.samsclub.com/ip/sterilite-...x/prod21161032

    The one from Target holds 4 spools of filament, however, not all filament vendors use the same size spool, so YMMV.

  7. #7
    Engineer-in-Training
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    390
    I am going to have to say this was a complete success. The black PLA that I was having the most issues with is printing nice and clean. I got busy and didn't really track how much longer I left it in there the second go around, but probably close to 6 more hours. So close to 18 hours total. I have ran a bunch of parts with it today to make sure it wasn't just the outside strings and everything is looking good so far. Hopefully it will remain that way throughout the rest of the spool. I would say it was close to 80% of it left when I put them in the dehydrator. My push to lock and extra tubing will be here tomorrow, so I'll plan on Sunday to make the tote to hold them.

  8. #8
    Engineer
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    May 2016
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    I'm trying something new for my dry box revision 2. My initial version had a suspended shaft upon which the rolls of filament were mounted. It works great, but is a complete pain whenever you want to swap a roll out. The whole set of rolls and the shaft have to be removed from the dry box just to change one spool. Not an easy procedure at all.

    So now I'm printing a slightly modified version of this: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2457788 The magnets came from here: https://www.banggood.com/8pcs-N52-20...-p-977519.html I put a steel sheet I reclaimed from some old air duct materials onto the floor of the dry box. So the idea is the filament roll positions can be wherever makes sense, and I can swap out any of the rolls independently.

  9. #9
    Engineer ralphzoontjens's Avatar
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    Tilburg, the Netherlands
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    Yes moisture has an enormous effect on your filament quality. Sealing your filament in buckets with desiccant is a great solution. To get a filament good as new, put it into the oven at 60C for 4 hours.

  10. #10
    Engineer-in-Training
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    Jun 2017
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    390
    If I could trust my oven to keep a temp that low, I would have done it. Probably should have used my electric smoker. Dry out the filament and make it smell good at the same time!

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