How to properly store your 3D printing filaments
At our Print Your Mind 3D, we make sure to serve all your 3D printing needs with a wide variety of state-of-the-art filaments. 3D Printing provides small companies, educators and home users their own means of manufacturing and greatly opens up their creative capacities. With that comes the need to properly store 3D printing materials.
The most important aspects of filament storage are:
Airtight sealing Extruded 3D printing filament is mostly composed of polymers, long chains of molecules that rely on their structure to guarantee the stability of the filament. Water vapor is one of the saboteurs of filament quality because it bonds with the polymer chains and causes swellings and scissions. This is especially the case for nylon, PVA, ABS and Ninjaflex. Be aware that in hot and humid climates, the air can contain up to a gram of water per cubic foot, almost ten times the amount of the humidity level in cold and arid climates! While we at Print Your Mind carefully compose our PLA filaments to withstand ambient influences, also these to some extent will react to moisture and become more brittle over time. Our Polypropylene (PP) filament enables several new applications as well as being most resistant to environmental conditions.
We reccomend to store all filaments in an air tight container away from direct sunlight. Every filament order includes a ziplock bag. You can store your spool in this bag with the included desicant from every spool. Alternativley, you may want to consider are larger airtight container with multiple desicant packs.
UV protection Light in the UV spectrum that we know from the sun contains enough energy to degrade filament quality, so it is essential to keep your filament rolls in a dark area away from direct sunlight. In particular nylon, ABS and PP are susceptible to UV degradation, so make sure to store these in opaque containers such as scuba boxes or buckets.
For every roll of filament you purchase at Print Your Mind, you additionally receive a slide lock bag with desiccant to keep your filament stored dry. In case your filament has taken in enough water to influence its 3D printability – it can become too brittle or create pops of steam when exiting the extruder – it is recommended to dry it in a food dehydrator or a good quality oven for 4 hours no hotter than 140 F. For filament that has been catching dust for long periods, we recommend preventing it from entering and clogging the extruder by wiping it with a dry cloth.
Convenience It takes some discipline to put your filament roll back in storage after printing every time, yet it is worth the effort if you want to keep your filaments in mint condition. Put the filament end into the hole in the side of the spool to prevent it from unwinding. Some Taulman filaments come with a net that you can reapply after use.