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
Dremel tool with cut off wheel
Step 2: 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
The Dremel leaves a nasty edge, a razor blade makes easy work of cleaning it up.
Step 4: 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
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
I copied the vent slot pattern from the dehydrator lid and cut it into the bottom of the bucket.
Step 7: 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
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!