How Long Does Filament Dry? (Explained for Beginners)

How Long Does Filament Dry

If you own a 3D printer, it’s important to know how to manage your filaments, especially keeping them dry. You might wonder, ‘How long does this take?’ The answer varies based on several factors. We’ve compiled some key factors and tips for you to keep in mind to make this process easier and more effective.

Factors Affecting Drying Time

The drying time for filament can vary depending on several factors. Understanding these factors can help you determine the appropriate drying time for your specific filament type.

Filament Type

Different filament materials have varying levels of hygroscopic properties. Some filaments, such as nylon, are highly hygroscopic and can rapidly absorb moisture from the air.

On the other hand, filaments like PLA are less hygroscopic but can still absorb a significant amount of moisture over time. The hygroscopic nature of the filament will affect the drying time required.

Moisture Content:

The amount of moisture absorbed by the filament will also impact the drying time. Filament that has absorbed a minimal amount of moisture will require less drying time compared to filament that has absorbed a significant amount of moisture.

Filament Diameter

The diameter of the filament can also affect the drying time. Thicker filaments have a larger surface area, which means they can absorb more moisture. As a result, thicker filaments may require longer drying times compared to thinner filaments.

Ambient Humidity

The humidity level of the environment in which the filament is stored can also impact the drying time. In high-humidity environments, the filament may absorb moisture at a faster rate, requiring longer drying times.

Drying Method

The method used to dry the filament can also affect the drying time. Dedicated filament dryers, ovens, and food dehydrators all have different heating and airflow capabilities, which can impact the drying time required. It is important to follow the recommended drying guidelines for the specific drying method being used.

Read > Best Filament Dryer in 2024: Top 5 in the Market

Drying Guidelines for Different Filament Types

Each filament type has its unique drying requirements, and it’s important to follow the recommended guidelines to achieve the best results.

Here are some drying guidelines for different filament types:

PLA Filament:

  • Drying Temperature: 40°C to 50°C
  • Drying Time: At least 4-6 hours

PETG Filament:

  • Drying Temperature: 60°C to 65°C
  • Drying Time: At least 4-6 hours

ABS Filament:

  • Drying Temperature: 80°C to 85°C
  • Drying Time: At least 4-6 hours

TPU Filament:

  • Drying Temperature: 40°C to 45°C
  • Drying Time: At least 4-5 hours

Nylon Filament:

  • Drying Temperature: 80°C to 90°C
  • Drying Time: At least 12 hours

ASA Filament:

  • Drying Temperature: 80°C to 85°C
  • Drying Time: At least 4-6 hours

PC Filament:

  • Drying Temperature: 120°C to 130°C
  • Drying Time: At least 6 hours

During the drying process, it’s crucial to closely monitor the temperature to ensure it remains within the recommended range. Using a digital thermometer can help accurately measure the temperature and prevent any deviations that could affect the filament’s integrity.

After drying the filament, it’s important to store it properly in a dry and airtight container. This will prevent the reabsorption of moisture and maintain the filament’s dry state until it is ready for use in 3D printing.

Signs of Moisture Absorption in Filament

Detecting whether filament has absorbed moisture can be challenging, as it is not always visually apparent. However, several signs can indicate moisture absorption in filaments.

One common indicator of moisture absorption is a sizzling or popping sound coming from the extruder during printing. This sound is caused by the evaporation of moisture within the filament as it passes through the heated nozzle.

Another sign is the presence of bubbles in the filament as it is being heated. These bubbles result from the release of moisture within the filament, which can disrupt the extrusion process and lead to poor print quality.

Stringing is another common issue that can indicate moisture absorption in filaments. Stringing occurs when small strings of filament are left behind during printing, often connecting different parts of the print.

Poor adhesion between layers in the printed object can also be a sign of moisture absorption in the filament. When the filament is wet, the moisture can prevent proper bonding between layers, leading to weak and brittle prints.

Monitoring the Drying Process

Proper monitoring helps prevent overheating or under-drying of the filament, which can lead to issues during printing.

One important aspect of monitoring is to keep track of the drying time. As mentioned earlier, the recommended drying time for most filaments is between 4 to 6 hours. However, it is essential to refer to the specific drying guidelines provided by the filament manufacturer for the best results. Some filaments, such as Nylon, may require longer drying times, up to 12 hours.

During the drying process, it is also important to closely monitor the temperature. Using a digital thermometer can help accurately measure the temperature and prevent any deviations that could affect the filament’s integrity.

In addition to temperature, it is crucial to observe the filament for any visual changes. Look for signs of moisture absorption, such as bubbles or discoloration.

Another aspect of monitoring is ensuring proper airflow. If you are using an oven or a food dehydrator, make sure the airflow is not blocked and that the filament is evenly exposed to the drying heat.

Lastly, it is important to be patient and allow the filament to cool completely before storing it. Rushing the cooling process can lead to moisture reabsorption, undoing the drying efforts. Once the filament is cooled, store it in a dry, airtight container to prevent the reabsorption of moisture.

Proper Storage of Dried Filament

Proper storage not only protects your filament from humidity but also helps to extend its shelf life and maintain its optimal properties. Here are some key guidelines for storing your dried filament:

Use airtight containers: Storing your filament in airtight containers is crucial to prevent moisture from entering and affecting the filament. Plastic or metal containers with tight-fitting lids and gaskets are ideal for creating a sealed environment.

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Desiccant packets: Including desiccant packets in your storage containers can further help to absorb any moisture that may be present. Silica gel packets are commonly used as desiccants and can be reused by drying them in a low-temperature oven until they change color.

Vacuum-sealed bags: If you have access to a vacuum sealer, consider using vacuum-sealed bags to store your filament. These bags create a tight seal and provide an extra layer of protection against moisture and dust.

Keep away from direct sunlight and heat sources: It is important to store your filament in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and sources of heat. Exposure to sunlight and high temperatures can cause the filament to degrade and lose its optimal properties.

Monitor humidity levels: If you live in an area with high humidity, it may be beneficial to use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels in your storage area. Ideally, the humidity should be kept below 20% to prevent moisture absorption by the filament.

Avoid excessive handling: When handling your filament, try to minimize contact with your bare hands, as the natural oils on your skin can transfer to the filament and potentially affect its print quality. Using clean gloves or handling the filament with clean tweezers can help to maintain its cleanliness.

Conclusion

How long to dry filaments depends on so many factors but with the above suggestions you can do it properly. Always remember to properly dry and store your filament to ensure the best possible print quality, structural integrity, and overall success in your 3D printing endeavors.

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