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How to Dry 3D Printer Filament

When troubleshooting a 3D printer it is easy to forget about one of the most crucial steps to getting great prints--dry filament.


Many users struggle with this because it isn't something easily detectable until after you have printed. Also, certain filament is more prone to water absorption than others and may be less forgiving. 


Polycarbonate and Nylon are two types of filament that are highly hygroscopic which means they will absorb water from the air at a much higher rate than something like ABS.



E-Sun Filament Dryer

When Do You Dry Filament?

When and how often you need to dry your filament depends on the which material type you are using. I have left PLA out for over a year and was still able to get great prints out of it without drying. Nylon and Polycarbonate on the other hand almost always needs to be dried even before printing the first time. While PC and Nylon are usually shipped in a vacuum-sealed bag with desiccant packs, it is rarely enough to dry the filament.

Symptoms of Wet Filament:

  • Popping and cracking sounds coming from extruder during prints
  • Poor surface finish
  • Poor adhesion between layers (weak parts)
  • Uneven layer lines

Filament Drying Data:

Method 1: Dehydrator 

(Recommended)

ABS

Max Drying Temp (°F): 140

Dry Time (Hours): 3

PC

Max Drying Temp (°F): 165

Dry Time (Hours): 6

PEEK

Max Drying Temp (°F): 165

Dry Time (Hours): 6

PEI (1010)

Max Drying Temp (°F): 165

Dry Time (Hours): 4

PEKK

Max Drying Temp (°F): 250

Dry Time (Hours): 4

PETG

Max Drying Temp (°F): 150

Dry Time (Hours): 3

PLA

Max Drying Temp (°F): 110

Dry Time (Hours): 3

PVA

Max Drying Temp (°F): 110

Dry Time (Hours): 8

Nylon

Max Drying Temp (°F): 165

Dry Time (Hours): 10

Method 2: Oven

ABS

Max Drying Temp (°F): 170

Dry Time (Hours): 2-4

PC

Max Drying Temp (°F): 250

Dry Time (Hours): 4

PEEK

Max Drying Temp (°F): 250

Dry Time (Hours): 4

PEI (1010)

Max Drying Temp (°F): 250

Dry Time (Hours): 4

PEKK

Max Drying Temp (°F): 250

Dry Time (Hours): 4

PETG

Max Drying Temp (°F): 150

Dry Time (Hours): 2-4

PLA

Max Drying Temp (°F): 150

Dry Time (Hours): 2-4

PVA

Max Drying Temp (°F): 150

Dry Time (Hours): 4

Nylon

Max Drying Temp (°F): 190

Dry Time (Hours): 4

Once you are sure your filament is dry it is important to keep it in a sealed enclosure with desiccant to ensure you eliminate any moisture which can be reabsorbed by the filament. For filament like PC and Nylon, it is even a great idea to keep it in a dryer while printing. ESun makes a great filament dryer that can be table-mounted or placed on top of your printer to eliminate moisture on long prints:


Link: ESun Filament Dryer


While the ESun does a good job maintaining filament moisture levels, it does not have enough airflow and heat to dry wet filament. For this job I recommend a true dehydrator like the one made by presto:


Link: Presto Dehydrator


Regardless of what your material is it is important to keep an eye on moisture in your filament. It can cause a lot of issues during your print and a lot of wasted time. Once you properly dry your filament make sure you have a system to ensure you prevent moisture from coming back. Whatever route you choose, be diligent about your routine and you will see a noticeable difference in your printing performance.


-3DMaker

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