Introduction: 3D Printing Filament Dryer

Picture of 3D Printing Filament Dryer

The most common 3D printing filaments are hygroscopic materials, which means that they will absorb moisture from the air over time. After a point filament absorbs so much water that it noticeably negatively affects the quality of your prints!

The 3D Printing community commonly uses desiccants to help extend storage life, but they don't actually "pull" the water out of the filament. They just keep it from getting worse. Once wet, filament needs to be heated in a dry environment to dry it out.

This project is a simple tool for removing water from 3D printing filament, and for regenerating used desiccant packets!

Step 1: Tools & Materials

Picture of Tools & Materials

TOOLS:

Dremel tool with cut off wheel

Razor Blade/scissors

Diagonal Cutters

Elmer's glue

MATERIALS:

(1) Rubbermaid 12-Quart Plastic Container

(1) Electric Food Dehydrator

OPTIONAL:

(1) Temp/Humidity Monitor

Step 2: Cut the Plastic Bin Base

Picture of Cut the Plastic Bin Base

Use the Dremel tool and other tools to cut the rim off the bucket. This bucket is nice because it is tapered, so you can choose what the bottom diameter will be by choosing the height you cut it at. Although as far as I know most dehydrators are about the same dimensions because the drying racks seem to be standard sizes.

Step 3: Deburr the Bucket Edge

Picture of Deburr the Bucket Edge

The Dremel leaves a nasty edge, a razor blade makes easy work of cleaning it up.

Step 4: Cut the Drying Rack Grate

Picture of Cut the Drying Rack Grate

One of the racks will get permanently attached to the bucket. We want to cut the grate off so we can drop it over the top of the filaments.

After I cut the grate I decided to paint the dehydrator parts. This is purely optional and I only did it because mine was used/old/ugly and I had no intention of ever using this for food again, and the black looked a lot better. If you buy a new dehydrator I would not paint it because it is more work for no reason and you can still use it for food too.

Step 5: Press Lid in Grate & Glue

Picture of Press Lid in Grate & Glue

Pretty much any glue other than hot glue will be fine. This is a low stress connection but it will get pretty warm.

Step 6: Cut Vent Slots in Bucket

Picture of Cut Vent Slots in Bucket

I copied the vent slot pattern from the dehydrator lid and cut it into the bottom of the bucket.

Step 7: Regenerate Dessicants

Picture of Regenerate Dessicants

Once a desiccant gets fully saturated with water it will no longer work. I successfully dried out my used packets and got measurable loss of water weight after only an hour of drying. The water removed from the various packets (from large to small) was: 2.1g (7.8% of weight), .3g (5.3%), .2g (8%). (This is the type of scale I used.)

Step 8: Other Uses

Picture of Other Uses

I recently learned that PLA will melt down if you thread holes in it too quickly. To solve this I tap PLA parts underwater to ensure that the heat doesn't distort the part.

Since printed parts are partially hollow they end up full of water. I like to put them in the dryer for a while before I package them up so they don't leak out later.

The hot environment didn't change the way the parts look in any noticeable way, but the wamr temp was enough to make PLA parts noticeably softer/squishier. Ill keep this in my back pocket in case i want to try to intentionally shift/deform a part feature.

That concludes all the things I've found this build to be useful for. If you get any other ideas leave a comment, and if you enjoyed this project then give it a vote in the Instructables 3D Printing Contest!

Comments

Dark Alchemist (author)2017-08-30

This dehydrator operates at a preset temperature of approximately 165°. OUCH for PLA that wants to be dried around 45-55c MAXIMUM per the filament manufacturers. I would grab a different dehydrator that had a temp selector so I could dry out all kinds of filament.

CwazyP (author)2017-08-24

It looks to me like it would be more efficient to block the ducts round the edge of the bucket, in normal operation, mine blows hot air up the side slots which are vented into each layer but the only holes are in the lid, I guess this is to keep pulling warm air out of the lid vents, if you don't block these you are losing this air straight up without it passing over the food/filament? Looked at a different way, if you glued the bucket to the lid and cut a hole in that, the vents round the side would not be open. Interested to hear what you think as I am about to make mine based on your excellent design.

critical1 (author)2017-02-24

DO NOT DRILL OVER A BUCKET OF WATER....

EricK13 (author)critical12017-05-05

lol, pretty common thing to do when using a mud or paint mixer in your drill. chill. it's battery powered.

IshamP (author)2016-06-28

I bought the items listed and I have noticed my dryer grates are slightly different. In step 5 when the bucket is attached does it have vent holes outside of the bucket.

MechEngineerMike (author)IshamP2016-06-29

No it does not and should not. I would recommend NOTt cutting the bucket then to keep the extra large lip to help span that gap.

IshamP (author)MechEngineerMike2016-06-29

I already cut it. It wouldn't have been wide enough anyways. I think i need to plug those holes with tape. Correct me if im wrong but it seems the hot air rises from the outer rings. Then circulates down the center. When the rings are seated on top of each other there is a gap for the heat to flow through to the grates and then down.

About This Instructable

7,799views

61favorites

Bio: Hi I'm Michael! I'm a dog owner, husband, writer, and mechanical engineer and I love getting my hands dirty building stuff. If you ... More »
More by MechEngineerMike:A Practical Guide to FDM 3D Printing GearsEasy Removable Milk Crate for a BikeAutomated Ultrasonic Misting 3D Print Polisher PRO
Add instructable to: