Oct 21, 2016 | By Alec

You don’t need to be a 3D printing veteran to know how much can go wrong during 3D printing. Incorrect 3D printer settings, problematic designs and poor material choices can all affect the final print quality. While plenty of advice on dealing with these issues can be found within the 3D printing community, another problem is often overlooked: moisture, which can absolutely ruin entire filament spools and result in nozzle clogs, poor surface quality and weak inter-layer bonding.

To combat these issues, PrintDry has introduced an in-line filament dryer, which helps prevent moisture buildup and removes water molecules from spools, reducing the likelihood of moisture-related defects. Now available on Kickstarter, the PrintDry can help you get the most value out of your filament.

Bottom: typical results with filament affected by moisture.

It’s a problem that is often ignored by filament manufacturers, who simply pack spools in airtight bags and send them on their way. But 3D printing materials are notoriously hygroscopic, meaning that they absorb moisture continuously once exposed to open air – especially in more humid climates. This starts as soon as that filament is unwrapped and continues during use until a state of moisture equilibrium is reached with the surrounding air. During that process, the filament becomes increasingly un-printable until you can just through it out. No one wants to deal with weak inter-layer bonding, nozzle clogging, and rough or grainy surface textures.

What’s more, this affects most kinds of filaments and isn’t solved by simply leaving it out to dry. As the Canadian PrintDry team explained, the problem can be traced to a molecular level. “The water molecules inside the filament are attached to the polymer molecule chains, forming a strong inter-molecular bond. This bond is what makes drying the filament difficult. The desiccant packs used inside the filament's packaging are not strong enough to break the inter-molecular bond and "pull" the moisture out of the filament,” they say. “Instead, desiccant packs help to prevent moisture content in a filament from increasing quickly rather than reducing it.”

But that is, in a nutshell, exactly what the PrintDry filament dryer does for you. After years of dealing with these frustrating moisture-related defects, the Ontario-based team set out to build a custom drying solution: the PrintDry 3D printing filament dryer. Using a heating element, it warms up and dries the air within the chambers, where both 1.75mm and 3mm spools can be placed. A fan blows out the moist air via an air vent, and over a number of hours the water molecules are pulled out of the filament’s surface. It also has a selectable temperature range of 35°C to 70°C (95°F to 160°F) to accommodate different materials.

Of course it’s not an instantaneous process, but it will ensure the best possible 3D printing results. For optimal drying, they have also developed special D-Spools, which let airflow reach as much filament surface as possible and this makes the drying process much quicker and more thorough. What’s more, a special turn table can be used to feed the filament into the 3D printer straight out of the drying unit, ensuring that the filament doesn’t start absorbing moisture all over again. Alternatively, you can also simply dry and carefully store the filament with moisture-absorbing desiccant packs, which you usually find included with filament spools.

This potent drying tool has been under development for years, and after extensive testing is now being made available to a wider public. First becoming available for pre-orders back in May, the Canadian startup has now taken the PrintDry to Kickstarter – where it is already a big crowdfunding success. With still two weeks on the clock, the PrintDry has already gathered more than double its pledge target of $9900 CAD (or $7500 USD). What’s more, there are plenty of early bird slots still available, enabling you to pick up a PrintDry for just $75 CAD (or $57 USD). Check it out on Kickstarter here.



Posted in 3D Printer Accessories



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cadcoke5 wrote at 10/21/2016 4:49:34 PM:

Food dehydrators often show up in local thrift stores. I have seen them as cheap as $3. New, they around $60-$70 USD. Though, I don't know if they go as high in temperature as the PrintDry, who may have modified it.

drier wrote at 10/21/2016 12:43:10 PM:

did they just re-invent the cheap kitchen top dessicator?

Daniel wrote at 10/21/2016 11:10:43 AM:

Those printing problem photos are totally innacurate, they are caused by another printing problems as seen in where you took the photos from without even linking this webpage.

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