How long can your 3D printer keep filament? The shelf life of the filament varies per material. In this article you can read what you should keep in mind if your filament is stored for a long time.
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Remember that every 3D printer filament is allergic to moisture. One material is more sensitive than the other, but in the end, moisture is a culprit. And with moisture we mean the moisture that just floats around in the air. If you expose the filament for a long time (> 2 months) to this "moisture" (just air), it absorbs this moisture with all its consequences. The moisture starts to boil during 3D printing and causes air bubbles (steam) in your 3D print, making layers incomplete. Not so good.
In addition, there is a plasticizer in every filament. This ensures that the filament remains tough. This plasticizer evaporates if you put the filament outdoors for a long time (> 5 months). Without this plasticizer, the filament is rock hard and brittle, which causes it to break very quickly. Compare it with your bones. When you are young you have a lot of cartilage, which means that they do not break easily and are relatively flexible. In old people, who have a lot of lime and little cartilage, the bones are hard (not flexible), making them break very quickly.
All right, back to the filament. To prevent moisture absorption and volatilization of the plasticizer as well as possible, it is best to keep your filaments, as supplied, vacuum-packed. We also understand that you probably do not have a vacuum machine in your garage. That is why you can order vacuum bags at the hema (link below article) that you can easily vacuum yourself with the vacuum cleaner. Then add the moisture eater bag that you get with the filament and you can keep the filament good for years.
Which filament is sensitive to moisture?
As good as any filament. But Nylon and PVA in particular. These two materials can already produce ugly 3D print results when exposed to moisture for more than a week. For any other material you will only notice after about 5 months that there may be moisture in the filament. But even here at the store we have had a few filament rolls open for a year that can still be used. So it differs per material and of course the place where you store them.
My filament has been exposed to moisture what now? #Filamentdrying
Suppose you read this article and you remember that for some time some filaments have been sucking themselves full of moisture. No problem, you can easily dry any filament. This means that a large part of the moisture disappears from the filament. Place your filament in a hot air oven at about 80 ° C for 4 - 6 hours. The moisture will not boil above 100 ° C. Furthermore, regularly check whether everything is still going well.
When did the plasticizer disappear?
A lot of time passes before your plasticizer has flown. We ourselves have had a number of filament rolls that after a year were still good enough for 3D printing. If you want to test how your filament roll is, you have to bend the filament 90 °. If this does not break immediately then you are in the right place! If it does break immediately, that is a sign that your plasticizer is already gone. Not that bad, only your filament is more likely to break during 3D printing, so you have to start all over again.
If you still have questions about storing filament, mail or call us! Contact