Why to dry 3D Filaments?
Drying 3D filaments is important if you want to achieve consistent results while 3D printing. Most of the 3D filaments when exposed to air, they absorb moisture and loose some of their properties. This indicates the Hygroscopic nature of the filaments.
Some filaments such as PETG, Nylon, PC and ABS exhibit more hygroscopic nature than other filaments like PLA. Therefore it is necessary to dry them before printing.back to menu ↑
How do you know whether your filament has to be dried?
a. Filament Popping & Vapors during Extrusion
It is recommended to preheat the nozzle to the prescribed temperature according to the filament you are using and start extrusion upto 100mm. If you hear small noises (pops) or sizzling sounds or vapors near the nozzle, its an indication that filament has moisture and needs to be dryed.
During extrusion, water in the filament results into vapor creating problems during printing.
b. Stringing is more common
Stringing is usually the first clue that your filament must be dried. There are many reports that users who had a good print quality once are facing stringing problems after a few months inspite of the filament brand being same. It might be possible that an old PETG roll that printed perfectly may get you problems when you try to print after 6 months.
If the filament is dryed properly, it can greatly reduce the stringing problems or eliminate them completely.
c. Extrusion Flow is Not Consistent
Another factor that indicate the mositure presence in the filament is extrusion inconsistency and incorrectly aligned layers.
During the moisture absorption, the filaments usually does so unevenly, with some portions of the filament absorbing more moisture than others. When that part of the filament containing more moisture is extruded, it rises up the nozzle pressure and extrudes more plastic for a short time. As a result, your layer lines look uneven and final printed parts will not be good and smooth.
Furthermore,the filament can also swell when moisture is absorbed. This means that instead of the 1.75 mm filament, there could be 1.8 mm diameter accumulations in certain regions, indicating the extrusion quality to be poor.
4. Filament snaps easily and is very brittle
Often, PLA filament get snap and brittle when is cathces up moisture. This makes PLA to loose its flexibility to some extent. Filament will regain its flexibility after drying and get resistant to snap.back to menu ↑
Prerequisites for filament drying
In order to achieve effective removal of moisture from filament, a machine that can insulate filament while gradually increasing the temperature is needed.
The filament drying can be made easy and most efficient method by using an oven.This is possible only if the oven temperature can be controlled accurately.
Before you put your filament in the oven, ensure the accuracy of the oven thermostat. To check the temperature, take a standard thermometer and place it in the oven. Check that the oven’s temperature is the same as your set. If there are any inconsistencies, adjust accordingly.
Using an infrared thermometer to measure the oven temp would be good. This gives accurate measurements helps to set the correct values.
Some ovens can be inaccurate and you could easily ruin your PLA filament if the oven temperature exceeds the set point even for a short duration.
A food dehydrator is another popular way to dry filament. You can find many online guides on how to make a food dehydrator into filament drying equipment.
A food dehydrator’s main problem is its limited capacity. The size of the filament you are drying will determine how many spools you can dry at once.
A food dehydrator is easily available at your stores locally or on Amazon. It doesn’t have to be brand new, as you will only use it for drying filament.
b. Filament Dryer
I dont like filament dryers much considering their price. They can dry only one spool at time. But, they’re worth it if you are printing with PETG or Nylon because, filament dryer can directly feed your printer. This ensures that the filament remains dry until it reaches its nozzle, where it is extruded.
SUNLU has just released their Drier Box S1 with a temperature range of 35C-55C and a timer. You can use it for regular filaments such as PETG, ABS, and TPU, but you will need to dry the filament for longer periods of time for best results.
Other filament dryers are also available like the eSUN Filament Dryer Box.
As mentioned above, you can dry filament using a special filament dryer by setting a required temperature for prolonged duration as 5-6 hours. You can also dry filament, using Oven or Vaccum bag combined with dessicant packs. Leveraging DIY airtight containers, or food dehydrator could be another best alternative.
These are the usual ways of drying the 3D Filaments. Continue reading to find more helpful information on this.back to menu ↑
How To Dry PLA?
PLA can be dryed for 4-5 hours in an oven at 40-45degC. A specialized filament dryer for drying and storage is an another option. You can also dry PLA using the heat generated by printbed, but we recommend that you stick with the other methods.
Let’s look at the different methods you can use for drying your PLA filamet:
- Drying PLA 3D Filament using Oven
- Filament Dryer
- Using Food Dehydrator
- Using Printer’s heatbed.
a. PLA Drying in Oven
PLA can be dried in an oven. This is often a question that people ask. The simplest and most cost-effective way to dry PLA spools in your oven is right at home.
PLA filaments should be dried at 40-45degC for a time duration of 4-5 hours. This is below the point at which filament starts softening to some extent. This is also called as glass transition temperature.
Although using an oven is simple and inexpensive, a special care is needed in configuring certain parameters. Otherwise, the process can have detrimental effect.
First, check that the set oven temperature is matching to the actual temperature inside or not.
Most of the Home based ovens aren’t precise in their temperature accuracy and exhibit a huge variation. This can cause filament damage.
It may happen that your filament will become too soft and bond together, making it almost impossible to use.
Before you place the filament in the oven, heat it to the right temperature. Ovens can get too hot as they heat up the interior temperature. This could cause filament to become soft and unusable.
You can use a special filament dryer if you are not confident on your Oven.
After facing issues with PLA filament drying on Oven, many people turned to Filament Dryers. A filament dryer is a better and more professional method of drying filaments.
A filament dryer is an equipment designed specifically to dry filament spools.
One best filament dryer I would recommend is the SUNLU Upgraded Dry Box (Amazon). At a price of $50, it certifies for its filament drying efficacy and worthwhile investing.
The SUNLU dryer has a good reputation on Amazon at the time this article was written. It boasts a 4.6/5.0 overall score and a lot of positive reviews.
One person claimed that the humidity was more than 50% near their home due to presence of lake. PLA is not able to withstand this humidity so they tried the SUNLU drybox and got amazing results.
The EIBOS Filament Dryer Box, available on Amazon, can also be used. It can hold two spools and can reach 70°C.
c. Dry using a Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator can be used to dry PLA filament, which is a great alternative to an oven or filament dryer. They can also be used to dry filament for 3D printers, despite their primary purpose of drying food and fruits.
Sunix Food Dehydrator is an excellent product I recommend. It is a 5-tray, electric based dehydrator. It has temperature control and is priced at $50.
Robert Cowen’s video below shows you how a food dryer works to dry out filament moisture. They are extremely popular in 3D printing to dry all types filament. I would definitely recommend to leverage this machine.
d. PLA Drying using Printer Heat Bed
You can dry your PLA filament using a heated print bed on your 3D printer.
Heatup your 3D printer bed to 45-55degC and place PLA filament on it. Let the PLA Dry approximately for 2-4 hours. This method is best done in an enclosed environment by using encloser cover. You can also use cardboard box to cover the filament in the absence of printer cover.
You can also opt for Fliament dryer or Food dehydrator to dry PLA and this is the effective than the heated bed method. PLA drying using heated bed is less effective and may cause wear to 3D Printer.
Heated bed method is significantly long for TPU and Nylon filaments ranging from 12-16 hours. So, it is not recommeded.
e. Filament Storage using Vacuum Bags
Another way of keeping PLA spool dry is to put them in a non-moisture environment. This can be achieved by using Vacuum bags with silica gel or desiccants. This is similar to how you receive your spools during delivery. Vacuum bags that have a valve are good because they can be used to remove oxygen from the bag.
You must ensure that your PLA filament is completely sealed in a vacuum bag without oxygen. This can only be done if the vacuum bag has a separate valve that helps to bring out oxygen inside.
I recommend the SUOCO Vacuum Storage Sealer bags (Amazon). They come in packs of six and are made from a durable, high-quality material.
f. Filament Storage – Dry Box
A dry box is another cost-effective and quick option for storing PLA filament. The notable difference between vacuum bags and dry box is that dry box allows to print while storing the filament.
You will need to find an airtight container that is large enough to hold your PLA filament spool. Then, add silica gel packets to absorb water from the air.
For PLA filament spool storage, I recommend HOMZ Clear Storage Container. It’s strong, spacious, and completely airtight.
The following video will give you a detailed explanation if you decide to make your own dry box.
You can purchase the items you need to create your own filament drying box, which allows you to print directly from Amazon.
After research, I found that many people use dehumidifiers such as the Eva Dry Wireless Mini Humidifier from Amazon. This can replace the Silica get packets inside the dry box.
Usage of dehumidifier inside dry box is testimonied by many people who have been impressed with its effectiveness. Just place it inside a container along with PLA and forget about moisture.back to menu ↑
How to Dry ABS?
You can dry ABS in a regular oven or toaster oven at 65-70degC for 2-6 hours. Usage of dedicated filament dryer is another alternative so that you can also print while drying. A food dehydrator is another best method for drying ABS. Once ABS is dryed, make use of aluminium foil bag to store.
Let’s go through some of the best ABS drying methods
- Use a Toaster or Regular Oven
- Filament Dryer Designed for Filaments
- Mylar Foil Bag
- Food dehydrator
a. ABS Drying with Regular or Toaster Oven
Drying of ABS is possible using a refular oven or toaster oven. Many people have tested it and found it to be a reliable method. It is simple to use and doesn’t cost anything.
With Toaster oven, best results are achieved when your ABS filament is dried for 2-6 hours at 65 to 70DegC. Make sure to place ABS filament away from the heating element inside the toaster oven.
You can also dry filaments in a regular oven at 80-90degC for approximately 4-6 hours.
b. Dedicated Filament Dryer
A specialized filament dryer can be used to dry ABS in a professional manner, much like you would with PLA.
Many people dry ABS using these devices and say it usually takes 6 hours to dry at 50°C. Check out the SUNLU Filament Dryer on Amazon. It might be the good choice.
c. Food Dehydrator
To dry ABS, you can also use a food dryer in the same way as for PLA. Sunix Food Dehydrators are ideal for ABS filament drying, as well as other filaments.
After your ABS has dried, you can keep it dry by sealing it in a bag made of aluminum foil.
Cheap Mylar foil bags can be found online. Amazon’s Resealable Stand-Up Mylar Bags are a great option. They have a lot of positive reviews from people who use them to store filament, and a rating of 4.7/5.0 overall.
They have been praised by many for being strong, thick, and high-quality aluminum bags. These bags allows easy fillings and make sure to squueze out excess air before sealing.back to menu ↑
How To Dry PETG?
PETG can be dried in an oven at 65-70°C for the duration of 4-6 hours. PrintDry Pro (Purchase Here) is the best option to efficiently dry and store the filament. You can also use a food dehydrator to dry PETG. A filament dryer is also available for PETG that keeps it dry and free from moisture.
Let’s look at some ways to dry PETG.
- Dry in the Oven
- Filament Dryer
- PrintDry Pro Filament Drying Systems
- Food dehydrator
a. Dry Using Oven
A regular oven is one of the best ways to dry PETG. If your filament has been out in the open for a while, this is an easy way to remove any moisture.
PETG filament drying temperatures should be between 65-70degC and 4-6 hours.
b. PrintDry Pro Filament Drying System
PrintDryPro Filament Drying System created by MatterHackers is a specialized highly for PETG. It can be purchased for $180.
PrintDry Pro from MatterHackers, has a digital display using which temperature can be varied with an automatic humidity control. It can also hold up to two standard-sized spools simultaneously.
It has built in timer that can be used to set timer for onger duration as good as 48 hours at low tempratures. This keeps away moisture from the filament.
c. Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator is a tool that 3D enthusiasts use to dry PETG. After placing filaments for 4-6 hours at 70°C perfect prints can be obtained.
You can order one online if you don’t own a food dehydrator. You can purchase the Sunix Food Dehydrator or the Chefman Food Dehydrator on Amazon. Chefman is better and offers better features than Sunix.
One user shared how simple it was to dry filament by setting the temperature and time, and then letting it to heat. You could hear a slight fan sound, but it’s not unusual for an appliance.
Another user stated that they can accomodate 5 rolls of 1KG filament into this machine. 3D printer owners who purchased this dehydrator really appreciate the digital interface.
d. Filament Dryer
PETG can be dried quickly using a special filament dryer similar to ABS and PLA.
A filament dryer such as the SUNLU Filament Drier for PETG is a great option. It’s affordable and works amazing right out of the package.
It is consistent and makes the filament dry after about 4-6 hours.
e. Bonus Method for PETG
People have used PETG filaments to dry by placing them in a freezer. This works even with 1-year-old spools.
Although this is unusual, it does dehydration of the filament. It can take as long as a week for the changes in filament to take effect. This is why this process is time-consuming.
Sublimation is a process that makes a solid substance a gas, bypassing the liquid state. This makes the filament to dry.
This method of filament drying is experimental. However, it works and can be used if time is not an issue.back to menu ↑
How to Dry Nylon?
Nyon drying can be done in the oven for 4-6 hours at 75-90degC. You can aslo dry Nylon in a food dehydrator for up to 4 hours. However, if you need to store it effectively, get a specialized filament dryer so that you can also print while it dries.
Let’s look at the best ways to dry nylon.
- Dry in the Oven
- Use a Filament Dryer
- Food dehydrator
a. Oven Nylon Drying:
While drying in Oven, the recommended temperature range for Nylon is 75-90degC for the duration of 4-6 hours.
One user had great success with Nylon after keeping it at 80°C for five hours in their oven. They were able print high-quality parts using their Nylon filament after drying it with these parameters.
b. Filament Dryer for Nylon
The best method to dry Nylon is by using a special filament dryer.
Many people love the JAYO Dryer Box from Amazon. The product currently has a rating of 4.4/5.0 on Amazon, with 75% of users leaving 5-star reviews.
It is reasonably priced and less noisy compared to SUNLU Upgraded dry box at 10 decibels.
c. Food Dehydrator/Dryer
A food dehydrator is safer and easier than using an oven to dry nylon.
To dry your Nylon filament, I recommend the Sunix Food Dryer.back to menu ↑
How to Dry TPU?
You can dry TPU in a home oven at 45-60°C for about 4-5 hours. A Filament Dryer can also be tried to dry TPU and print simultaneously. Usage of DIY drybox with silica gel packets ias another option. However, a food dehydrator has shown the best results for TPU so far.
Let’s look at the best methods to dry TPU.
- Drying TPU in an oven
- Food dehydrator
- DIY Dry Box
- Use a Filament Dryer
a. TPU Oven Drying:
TPU can be dried in an oven at 45-60 degrees Celsius for approximately 4-5 hours.
For best results, TPU needs to be dryed after every print. One user mentioned that they got high quality parts after drying for 4 hours in oven at 65degC
b. Filament Dryer for TPU
For TPU, filament dryer comes in handy for drying and storing at a time. The nature of the TPU is not hygroscopic than other filaments, so printing it in a dryer is a great way to achieve high-quality prints.
Amazon has the SUNLU Upgraded dry box, which most people use to dry their TPU spool. You can also find other options online.
c. Food Dehydrator
Another quick and easy method to dry TPU is to use a food dryer. You can easily find one online if you don’t already have one.
The Chefman Food Dryer is a great option for drying TPU. This product has a remarkable Amazon reputation it has an average rating of 4.6/5.0.
d. DIY Dry Box for TPU
A combination of Airtight container and desiccant packets does wonders in storing and drying TPU Filament.
Along with desiccant to dry the TPU in your own dry box place a 60-watt utility lamp inside and close the lid. Leave it for whole night or entire day to get perfect print quality.back to menu ↑
How to Dry PC?
Polycarbonate can be dried using many methods. The First one is to use Oven with a set temperature of 80 to 90degC for the duration of 8-10 hours. For efficient drying, you can also use a food dryer. For printing Polycarbonate while drying it, a specialized filament dryer is an excellent option. Also, a dry box with desiccants inside is another great option.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the best methods to dry your PC.
- Dry Box
- Dry in a Convection oven
- Filament Dryer
- Use a food dehydrator
a. Convection Oven Drying
With Convection Oven, the Polycarbonate filament needs to be dryed at 80 to 90 degC for the duration of 8-10 hours. One user of a PC says that 9 hours of drying at 85 degress gave him a great result.
b. Food Dehydrator PC Drying:
Food Dehydrator drying of polycarbonate is another effective method. To dry the filament, you just need to adjust the temperature and place it inside.
For drying of Polycarbonate filament, I recommend the Chefman Food Dehydrator.
c. Filament Dryer
A filament dryer is a great way to dry and store Polycarbonate and get good results.
The drying temperature for polycarbonate should be between 80 and 90 degrees Celsius, while SUNLU’s max temp is 55 degC, just double the drying duration.back to menu ↑
Can Filament Be Too Dry?
After reading about the drying methods of different filaments, it is only natural to wonder if some filaments may become too dry.
Too much filament drying can deform the chemical composition and can result in lower strength and less quality printed parts. Its better to avoid excessive drying by properly keeping filaments away from absorbing moisture.
Many filaments for 3D printers contain heat-sensitive additives they get removed upon repeated drying.
Over drying can also make the material brittle and less.
Although the rate at which this would occur would be very slow, it is still possible. So, its better to protect filament spools from absorbing moisture at first place rather than drying them.back to menu ↑
Is Drying Needed for PLA Filament?
PLA filament doesnt demand drying, but results will be best when moisture is dryed. When PLA has moisture, it reduces the surface quality. PLA that has been dried will give you better prints and less failures.
Its better to dry PLA filament if its kept open for sometime in an open environment. When there is moisture, printing issues such as bubbles, oozing and stringing can occur.back to menu ↑
Are Filament Dryers Worth It?
Filament dryers can make 3D printing more enjoyable, boost the print quality and save prints from possible failure due to moisture. A good quality filament dryer will cost you around $50 which is not expensive. Numerous users have had great success with filament dryers.
Below is a video showing a PETG part with moisture and one that was dried in an oven for approximately 6 hours. It is obvious and very noticeable.