Filament Storage

I am setting up a Makerspace for our university and have four TAZ 5 printers. We have a wide variety of filaments that will change frequently and I am wondering how to store them. I hear a lot of concern about humidity, and they do come shipped sealed and with desiccant. Yet the Lulzbot machine is completely open and the company makes no recommendations that I have found.

There is always so much anecdotal contradictory advice when it comes to 3D printing, but is anyone aware of official advice from Lulzbot or filament manufacturers?

Fillament sensitivity to moisture really varies by fillament type and how long you intend to store it for. Nylon for instance will pretty much absorb all moisture available instantly, and will fail miserably if it contains moisture. You want to store it in a sealed container with dessicant. ABS will exhibit surface blemishes if it is exposed to moisture for a long period of time. I use ABS mostly myself in the Pacific Northwest (we have a rain forest) and I just store it out in the open with generally no ill effects. Sotring it in a sealed container with dessicant isn’t a bad idea. PLA can become brittle with exposure to moisture over a long period of time, store it in a sealed container with dessicant.

Heat can also play a role. Do not store your fillament inside a heated build enclosure. The constant heat-cool cycle will eventually render some fillaments (PLA and ABS in particular) brittle and prone to cracking.

Plastic watertight rubermaid containers and dessicant packs like they ship with HP servers work well.

Thanks for the advice. While not the pacific rainforest, I am in the very humid southeast, but in an air conditioned building.

If Nylon absorbs moisture that quickly, is it a problem to have it on an open machine during a lengthy print?

And why isn’t the manufacturer more forthcoming with advice?

Nylon starts absorbing moisture as soon as you take it out of the sealed package, but it usually takes a few days or so before it starts to become an issue. Putting it back in a container with dessicant (or better reusable vacuum bags and resealing it should be very effective. It’s one of the few fillaments that building a semi sealed dessicant equipped box with a filament passthrough probably actually makes sense.

Check with your IT department and see if they have any large packets of dessicant laying around. You can also get it at craft stores that sell flower drying stuff.

Has anyone used a product called The Filament Safe?

Looks like the exact solution I’m looking for, since I want the filaments to be on display as well. Might be overkill, and can be expensive if you need a lot of them.

For Storage, I found a sealed Kobalt toolbox at Lowes. It’s plastic and has a gasket around the lid. It’s probably airtight, but they only advertise “water resistance”. I too scavenge Silica packets from our IT guys and throw those in as well. The large one I got easily holds 6 full sized rolls.

Best regards,

I am the server guy here where I work, so that makes it really easy to scavenge them heh, Right now I’m sitting next to a pile of them that are going in my ROV pressure hull.

You can also check out making your own for a fairly low price. I do not remember much more than it used silica cat litter. :blush:

Well I got some of these

but only paid $7 at my local wall mart. I’ll throw in a dessicant pack. I’ll definitely use it for nylon, and might do some experimenting with other filaments. My PLA is brittle and often breaks on the spool. I would expect that to be overly dried out and not want to dry it further. But I will do some playing around.

And, as in all things 3D - so many contradictory opinions. Not may people have chimed in, so perhaps only a few are concerned about his topic. And the manufacturers say little.

PLA is a sugar based plastic. Moisture can break down the long polymer chains over time, but it takes it a very long time to show up as an issue (year or more) frequently breaking PLA can also be a symptom of cheap improperly mixed or filler filled PLA.

I keep mine in a cooler with a 1lb can of dessicant (available from any sporting goods store that sells firearms). Works great, and you can recharge it in your oven (if you get the kind without cobalt chloride).

I do not recommend using one of the heated dehumidifiers.