DRYING FILAMENT

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MDVolle
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:00 pm

DRYING FILAMENT

Postby MDVolle » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:30 pm

I have been wanting to print items in Nylon and some of the other more "troublesome" materials and it was obvious that learning to dry my materials would be an essential part of the process.

Lots of reading indicated that storing filament with a desiccant would not be enough to actually dry moist materials.

It seemed that the "commercial" solution is to use a vacuum oven - essential an oven heat the filament with the ability to draw out all of the air (or replace the air with some other gas).

First response was "oh ^*&%#%$^$ - these things are hugely expensive new - look at eBay - still more expletives and I began to see that just getting the oven was half the battle - you also needed to purchase a vacuum pump (or not).

My pockets are not lined with gold - so I did some more research -

This food dehydrator comes in several sizes - I bought the larger unit on Amazon - roughly $140 - the smaller unit is $100.

It seems to work GREAT for drying filament and significantly changed the way my filament prints - even "new" NylonX from Matterhackers improved with additional drying as did my Taulman materials.

The ONLY thing I had to do was take out a few of the 9 trays to place my spools on the other trays and I was ready to dry filament. Even the smaller unit would still hold more than one roll of material and should perform just as well.

Problem solved ! and I still have enough change for lunch...

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Jetguy
Posts: 1790
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:40 am

Re: DRYING FILAMENT

Postby Jetguy » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:19 pm

Great link and explanation. Yes, dehydrators have been used in many cases to dry certain filaments.
The only caution is just to warn folks- low temp filaments- PLA and PVA- they take lower temps and longer drying times.
Examples are no more than 60C for PVA filament and ~40C for PLA. This is because these filaments can deform on the spool even at what you might consider relatively low temperatures.

Another very good article on the topic with some great pictures showing what prints look like with filament that needs dried.
https://www.matterhackers.com/news/filament-and-water

Here is yet another good read http://3dprintingforbeginners.com/how-t ... -filament/

Vice Chief
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:04 am
Contact:

Re: DRYING FILAMENT

Postby Vice Chief » Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:12 am

Great tip. I've been looking at ovens, too. I have access to a "standard" food dehydrator (a round one) but I hadn't seen them in this oven-like format.

It's a little tough to tell from the pictures, how many rolls can you dry at once with the larger unit?

MDVolle
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:00 pm

Re: DRYING FILAMENT

Postby MDVolle » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:46 am

I've had four 1Kg rolls in it so far - no problem Smaller spools can fit two to a shelf but by moving trays around, you can stack two 1kg rolls on the same shelf - I haven't tried to really max it out.

This isn't an "end all" solution - its just plastic with a bit of metal where needed but it goes up to 158F and has a timer that will set for up to 24 hours at least (maybe longer?) Temp can be adjusted in strange steps (maybe degrees C but reading in F?) but has a wide range.

I wanted something "rated" for home use so I can sleep at night - I had visions of homemade contraptions melting into puddles in the garage - maybe its just Halloween approaching but that made me want to find something that I could use "as designed" for the most part.

Toaster ovens were interesting too but most won't set reliably at a low enough temp - they would work for tempering printed objects but might deform the filament when drying.

The units designed for making jerky have higher heat ranges (like this one). Some units max out at about 120F - ideal for some foods but slow for filament.

I've dried PLA with a slightly lower setting or on the bottom shelf while drying nylon on the top - I need to get out my digital thermometer to see just how even it really is but it cleared up all of my moisture problems very quickly - now I don't feel pressured to unload and store the nylon materials immediately after finishing a print - I can just give them a little drying time before I put them away - its caused me to try a lot more things in nylon and CF nylon - which has been a real champion for some of the things I'm focused on - light weight and stiff but no worries about it deforming on a toasty day - the CF Nylon is really difficult to destroy once printed -

MDVolle
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:00 pm

Re: DRYING FILAMENT

Postby MDVolle » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:51 am

These are a few of the microphone rigs and adapters printed in CF Nylon (using matter hacker's NylonX) - it REALLY likes to be dry before printing but then it works great; using a 0.6 coated nozzle on a glass bed with glue stick. These are accessories to a Rycote windscreen system to make changing configurations faster and more repeatable

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Vice Chief
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:04 am
Contact:

Re: DRYING FILAMENT

Postby Vice Chief » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:40 pm

Great looking parts. Aside from the layer height, they look comparable in quality to much higher end nylon machines I've seen at tradeshows. What layer height are you using with your .6mm nozzle?

MDVolle
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:00 pm

Re: DRYING FILAMENT

Postby MDVolle » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:09 pm

I've been experimenting with layer heights with the 0.6 nozzle a bit - it takes some work to sort out the flow rates with the 0.6. Where things seem to center around 95-105% with the 0.4, things seem quite different with the 0.6 - even PLA seems to need a significantly greater flow rate - Ive had to run 130% for first layer with some filaments.

That said, the NylonX seems to work great from about a 0.2 layer to about a 0.35 layer - I'm mostly focused on strong usable parts - so less focused on detail but still want a decent (cool looking?) surface finish. These were printed with a 0.2 and 0.25 layer height - both on glass with Gluestick and a 0.25 first layer (no raft). Because I was planning to machine a 1mm grove in the bottom (rather than printing support for that - which doesn't grab the plate well), these were printed with 8 bottom layers and then the 16mm wide grove was machined on a mill - the NylonX machines great but it doesn't take fine threads well - 1/4-20 and larger seem to work without an insert for moderate load.

I've found that I almost have to print at least one skirt line to get the extruder flowing - with all materials - but have been working without a raft for almost everything.

PLA I have run layers up to 0.4 with the 0.6 nozzle - which means that even at moderate speeds, you can print a lot of material/hour - I've had prints run as much as 12-13M of filament/hour


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