Shelf life of filament?

I was wondering if ABS or PLA have a “shelf life”, that is an amount of time after which their properties irremediably change or degrade…

I’m planning to purchase a couple of 1kg reels but my printer does not see heavy use, my 3 existing 5lbs. spools still have a LOT of plastic left. I just want more colors. :slight_smile:


I have used 3mm ABS that was left in an open cardboard box for a year with no ill effects. Since ABS and PLA will absorb moisture out of the air I would recommend storing it in a nice sealed container with some desiccant.

Oh I hadn’t thought about a sealed container. :blush: Thanks for the tip!

I am about to order a Taz 2, my hope is to make this a little more than a really expensive hobby. I think a good application is in manufacturing some simple boat parts, my first question (of many) concerns the material. Is there a material that can withstand direct sunlight for prolonged times? I have some ideas for the first products but It would be comforting to know they will hold up and not delaminate—suggestions?
Another biggie is that I will need to produce a few parts that are longer than the building platform, is gluing parts together my only option?


ABS plastic is basically the same thing that LEGO’s are made out of. It can fade over time, and certain colors are more susceptible to that then others, but they also do make certain car trim pieces out of it. That being said, fusion deposition layer printing is going to leave lots of tiny hairline spots where algae and whatnot could get in over time and cause separation or finish dulling. You would probably be just fine if whatever you plan to make could then be coated in a gelcoat paint or wrapped in carbon fiber and laminated or veneered, but by itself in it’s own right it probably would not be the best choice for a marine environment without a surface treatment.

As for building things bigger, the best solution would be to make the platform itself bigger. you would need an additional power supply, possibly a second controller, a second heatbed, , longer bearing rods, belts, frame pieces, a second platform mount, and a really long sheet of borosilicate glass. You would have a temperature differential right at the join edge, but the part itself would be long enough that probably wouldn’t matter as much as it would for something smaller. You might be able to get away with a single controller and a really beefy power supply, but you would need someone better versed in electronics than me to tell you exactly what could be done. You would also lose a lot of print speed in the Y axis direction due to the additional weight, so you might have to go with dual Y axis motors, larger belts, dual belts, etc.

If that sounds like too much work, gluing parts, or using fastners of some sort would be your best bet. or redesign the parts so they use the variety of relatively inexpensive carbon fiber, steel or aluminum tubes as bridging members.

Thanks! I’m not familiar with any part of a 3D printer yet, this is going to be a new part of my life. The first idea for boat accessories is a rain guard over the ports just like the ones on cars so gelcoat won’t work there but you did spur another idea—fusion paint for plastic may work if the material alone doesn’t cut it. Perhaps after I get comfortable with the Taz 2 I’ll pick up a printer kit and build a larger printer from the ground up.

I am sure to have more questions!

I was thinking getting one of those Foodsavers to use in conjunction with some desiccant. I think that would work well.