Is it necessary to buy a filament dry box?

2022-08-25
3D Printing

Many people who work with 3D printers would like to have a filament dry box. But is it really necessary? In this essay, we will explore the benefits of having a filament dry box and whether or not it is worth the investment.

filament dry box

1. When will you need filament dry box

As to filament dry box, from the name you know it’s a tool to stop your 3D filaments from getting moist and to dry your filament as to recover the filaments’ print properties as before. When will you need a filament dry box? You consider these two factors: the hygroscopicity of 3D printer filament you are using and the air humility where you are living and using the 3D printer.

1.1 Check the hygroscopicity of 3D printer filament types

First and foremost, let’s learn the concept of hygroscopicity. Hygroscopicity is a measure of how much a substance absorbs moisture from the surrounding environment. To make it simple, we can explain it as Water Absorption Rate. This is an important consideration when it comes to 3D printer filaments, as different 3D printer materials have different levels of hygroscopicity. If you live in a humid climate, the air humility would be in a higher degree and the 3D printer filaments with higher hygroscopicity are easy to absorb too much moisture and cause printing problems.

The table below shows hygroscopicity (water absorption rate) of different 3D printer filament types in a temperature of 23℃. Check it to see what water absorption rate your filament is at. 

3D printer filament

Water absorption rate (%)

3D printer filament

Water absorption rate (%)

3D printer filament

Water absorption rate (%)

PA12-CF15

0.3

PA6/66

3.2

PLA PRO

<0.3

PA6-CF10

0.6

PA1010

0.3

PLA

<0.3

PA66-CF10

<1

PAHT

0.5

PETG PRO

<0.2

PET-CF15

<0.3

PC

0.8

PETG

<0.2

PETG-CF10

0.8

PC-ABS

0.8

ABS PRO

1

PLA-CF10

0.5

ASA

1

ABS

1

 

 

HIPS

1

 

 

1.2 Test the air humidity surrounding 3D printers

The higher humidity it gets, the more moisture the air contains. So, use a hygrometer and you can test the air humidity in your house. 

air humidity surround filament drybox

If your house location is in a costal city where the air humility is generally over 15% and you are using a 3D printer filament whose water absorption rate is over 0.3%, you’re strongly suggested to use a filament dry box. 

2. What if your filaments get moist?

High-performance 3D printing materials for industrial purposes, such as engineering filaments (PA, PC, HIPS, PVA ) and their composite filaments with carbon fiber or glass fiber (PA-CF, PA-GF, PTE-CF, PLA-CF) are easy to absorb moisture in air. Filaments getting moist will not only affect the printing process and the printout results, but the physical properties of the filaments would get damaged as well that would lead them 3D printed objects incapable of meeting requirements in practical uses. How to dry filament becomes an indispensable issue to resolve.

2.1 Lower success rate of 3D printing

Use filament dry box to preserve filament. Once 3D printing consumables get wet, it will directly affect the success rate of printing. You may meet the following print problems:

  • Hear cracking sound when extruding filament
  • Model base hard to stick on the build plate
  • Uneven extruding flow of melted filaments
  • Abnormal stains or bubbles oozed on the model surface

2.2 Printout results get worse

Once the filament absorbs moisture in the air, their physical properties and 3D printing performance would go worse, causing phenomena of filament line becoming crisp, easy to get broken, and frequent nozzle clogging on the 3D printer.

why you need a filament drying box

The bad results on printed objects when using moist 3D filaments include:

  • Unwanted wire drawing on models
  • Model layer faults
  • Air pockets on model body
  • Print breakage

3. Necessary to purchase a filament dry box?

The correct storage method to keep 3D printer materials dry are quite necessary. To make better use of 3D printer filament, you definitely need a filament dry box, but is it necessary to purchase one? Someone tend to DIY filament dry box. See steps on how to make a cheap and simple dry box for your filaments. 

3.1 DIY filament dry box

diy filament dry box

Step 1: Buy an airtight plastic container

1.Go to Amazon and track down a airtight plastic container of correct size, can be it a rice storage container or else. Make sure the container is big enough to contain a roll of filament.

Step 2: hold the filament roll inside

DIY filament dry box. Use a spool holder like the kind that you probably got with your 3d printer container, and use two screws to hold the spool holder in place. Remember to put hot glue around the connector to make sure it a nice airtight seal.

diy filament dryer

Or, if you don’t intend to break the wall the the plastic container, you can 3D print a bracket with two holes to undertake the spool holder, in this way, you’ll not drill holes on the container. Self make filament drying box.

Step 3: Drill a hole to undo the filament thread

DIY filament dryer. Drill the hole on the corner so that the thread would be easy to point out and up. Use a bowden tube connector to make the hole seal well.

filament dry box diy

Step 4: Add silica beads to the container

How to dry filament? Make this container a real dry box by adding particles which absorb the moisture inside the box. Undo the filament thread it through the exit hole and then put the lid back on. All right, DIY filament dry box, this baby is made out!

Self making a filament dry box may bear a great deal of your affection on maker’s spirits. While many errors may appear if you’re in the first time of DIY, errors such as breaking container’s wall, holes being too big, or not airtight. The pros of DIY are saving your money and make it customized as you want; cons are it takes much time and the utility may be not that good. 

3.2 Purchase a ready-made filament dry box

Someone else would like to purchase a ready-made product, saving their own time and saving bothers on recovering DIY errors. Filament dry boxes on sale are generally divided to two kinds: one is the kind of a little case only containing one roll of filament; the other is the bulky one that is capable of containing 6 rolls of filament.

The former type is commonly sold in market. Please check its size is large and proper enough to hold you filament before purchase. 

The latter type is usually sold as a professional device for professionally used 3D printers. Flashforge has launched this type of filament drying box. It is a multi-functional dryer station that integrates features of 3D printer station, 3D printer filament storage and drying, and movable shelves. It’s a perfect partner of Flashforge Creator 4 3D printer.

filament dry box

This filament drying station has a large storage space, which can accommodate up to 6 rolls of 1-kg filament or 2 rolls of 2.5-Kg filament, ensuring long-term storage in a dry environment. Features on how to dry filament include:

- Recover functional performance of damp engineering filaments
- Ensure the dry storage of 3D printer filaments, 
- Effectively improving printing efficiency 
- Excellent print quality in professional applications.

Conclusion

Filament storage is an important part of 3D printing. Not only does it help to keep your filament organized and dust-free, but it can also help to preserve filament quality for future prints. Whether you choose to DIY or purchase a filament dry box, it is necessary to keep your 3D printer materials in a moisture-free environment. If you don't take the necessary precautions, your filaments could become moist and unusable, resulting in poor prints and wasted money. Make sure to follow the instructions provided above so that you can protect your 3D printing materials and get the most out of your 3D printer.