3D Printer Filament Dry Box

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Introduction: 3D Printer Filament Dry Box

About: Making and sharing are my two biggest passions! In total I've published hundreds of tutorials about everything from microcontrollers to knitting. I'm a New York City motorcyclist and unrepentant dog mom. My wo…

This Instructable describes how I made a dry box for my 3D printing filament. It protects the PLA from absorbing moisture from the air, which can lead to failed prints and nozzle clogs. The dry box dispenses the filament to the 3D printer too, providing convenient storage.

This box fits four standard rolls of filament. This is an easy project that takes less than an afternoon to complete, and then you'll reap the filament-preserving benefits for countless days to come!

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Step 1: What You'll Need

You'll need a gasketed plastic container that's at least as tall and deep as a roll of filament, and as long as you want to accommodate your shelf space or filament collection.

Besides the box, you'll need a piece of PVC pipe or closet rod to match the length of your box (I cut mine with a hand saw), some teflon tubing to feed your filament to the printer, some silica gel packets to absorb moisture from the air inside the box, a step drill and screw gun, some O-rings and screws (with appropriate drivers), and some 3D printed parts I found on Thingiverse.

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Step 2: 3D Print Some Parts

The first is a closet pole socket from Johan Codinha, which I had to scale to match my pipe, and then some of these screwless filament feeders by Steve Reisig, which were a perfect fit.

Step 3: Install Pole Sockets

I wanted to rest the box on its' side, so that I could easily remove the lid and change filament rolls without removing the whole box from its shelf. So when it came time to mark and drill the holes for the pole sockets, I tilted the mounting axis a bit towards the box opening, but you should feel free to orient your pole sockets to suit your box's orientation. Put an o-ring on each screw before tightening down the bolts.

Step 4: Install Filament Feeders

I test fit a roll to find the natural unspooling level of the filament, and drilled more holes to accommodate the filament feeders, which also get o-rings before being tightened and fitted with a piece of teflon tubing, which keeps dust and air off the filament on its way to the printer.

Step 5: Load and Enjoy!

Then it's time to load it up and feed the filament through the tubing! Mine then feed down behind their shelf to the printer below, but you could just as easily feed the filament up from below your printer if that's what your space allows.

With this new dry box and this piece of vinyl to insulate my printer from drafts, my setup is feeling vastly improved. I'm using it to store my most frequently used colors, and archive the rest using my colleague Paige's ziptop bag method. She also has a recipe for rescuing damp filament by baking it at a low temperature for several hours.

Thanks for following along! I'd love to hear your filament storage methods in the comments.

To keep up with what I'm working on, follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

Workshop Hacks Challenge 2017

Participated in the
Workshop Hacks Challenge 2017

5 People Made This Project!

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30 Discussions

0
GergelyD
GergelyD

2 years ago

Nice instructable, but I'm afraid you've forgot something importanat to mention.
If your goal is to dry out and keep your filament dry, you have to use PREDRIED silica gel in a certain amount, since silica gel's moisture absorbent capacity is not infinite, therefore if you'd kept your silica gel the same "wet" place where your filaments got moist, all you do is conserve this state in your container since silica gel tries to achieve an equlibrium with its environment.

Let's consider your container is hermetically closed. Now all you need to do first is to calculate the amount of silica gel you need:
Rule of thumb used in museums for art-piece containers:

at 25°C by 20%rH (relative humidity) silica gel can absorb 11% water of its weight

at 25°C by 60%rH (relative humidity) silica gel can absorb 32% water of its weight

at 25°C by 80%rH (relative humidity) silica gel can absorb 35% water of its weight

and

to dry air in a closed box you'll need 15g silica gel to every 100l of air

to dry objects you'll need (calculated for organic objects like wood) 600g silica gel for every kg

Best way is to spread the grains the larges surface possible.

To predry you'll have to put silica gel into an oven and keep it at least 80°C for 6 hours, then let it cool in a really hermetically closed container prior use.

Since actually nothing is hermetically closed you might want to monitor the humidity in the box regularly and repeat the drying process when rH starts to rise.

Hope it helps.

0
bekathwia
bekathwia

Reply 2 years ago

Thanks for your note!

0
tperraut
tperraut

Reply 8 months ago

I personally use one of the "eva-dry" mini dehumidifier. Basically a box that contains the silica gel and a heater. You plug it for 12 hours (outside of the box) to dry the silica gel, and it will show one color. Then put it in the box. Besides looking at a cheap hygrometer you put in the box, you can check the color of the gel in the dehumidifier. If it starts to change, you need to redo the steps to plug it...
That likely works best to keep some humidity level vs. drying things.

Also I added a reptile heating mat (from another dry box project). 7W, and great to keep the temp higher for minimal electricity cost, which should help get a bit better humidity control for the filament. (I'm hoping at higher temp it will be more likely to release humidity)

0
MillennialDIYer
MillennialDIYer

Reply 2 years ago

People really are way too unaware of this. It makes me chuckle when people think they can toss a jar of silica in their closet to keep it dry for a few months...

0
tperraut
tperraut

Tip 8 months ago on Step 2

You can take the pole socket and besides scaling to your side (in openscad), make a matching backplate version of it, so the nuts and bolt will rest on that plastic and not on the fragile box's plastic.

Thank you for these helpful tips. I am taking over a classroom and materials processing workshop where the previous staff left a Makerbot sitting open in a closet with about a ton of junk, moldy papers... you name it. Such a shame!

I'm now looking for a way to keep the filament dry and dust-free, along with the 3d printer and noticed your hanging curtain. I may have to proceed with something similar but might use a shower curtain with some magnets to hold it down tight. The workshop area can get pretty dusty! I'm open to any suggestions you might have as I was concerned about airflow and heat buildup too.

I think I also want to mount a timelapse camera to share with the students and for monitoring. Hmm... lots of things to think about on this setup! Thanks for the helpful tips!

0
bekathwia
bekathwia

Reply 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing! I put a vinyl curtain in front of my makerbot to specifically cause heat buildup, as the warm air caused parts to warp less (since my rep2 doesn't have a heated bed). It keeps out dust too! Recommend taping the vinyl at the top and using magnets on the side edges.

0
DouglasG57
DouglasG57

1 year ago on Step 5

For drying filament, rather than having your oven on for hours, buy a cheap or garage sale food dehydrator. Get the kind with the stacked plastic racks and cut the centers out of them. They are made to be on for hours and you can dry two or three rolls at a time. I found one on a local used sale site for $10.

0
aCuriousCreator
aCuriousCreator

2 years ago

This is really great. My 3D hasn't arrived yet, but as soon as it does I'm making one of these! Thanks for sharing!

0
shaberli
shaberli

2 years ago

I have purchase the box to do this for my printer filament... didn't think about outing it on its side...

I think I'll use your idea with the box on its side and the dowel holders.,... thanks,..

When done,... I'll post the update. Thanks.

0
Gunther45
Gunther45

2 years ago

Don't have a 3D printer yet but on the note of your project . You might want to try The Dollar Store they have 2 types of ( Blue lid -Regular/Black Lid with Charcoal) for $1 and they work great for usual use of desiccants. Since you have a printer you could make ledges that would use 4 units as leg supports while still aborbing any moister. Just a thought! You will get a lot more desiccant than the little pouches.

0
MillennialDIYer
MillennialDIYer

2 years ago

Now I just need something like this that dispenses Twizzlers...

0
Bobmonkey07
Bobmonkey07

Reply 2 years ago

Not as well contained, but...

https://hackaday.com/2017/09/13/hackaday-prize-entry-room-tracking-red-vines-flinger/

0
MillennialDIYer
MillennialDIYer

Reply 2 years ago

WTF! God bless the interwebs!

0
MidnightQuads
MidnightQuads

2 years ago

Don't forget to add silica desiccant or something similar! That will help protect the filament further.

0
bekathwia
bekathwia

Reply 2 years ago

It's listed in the supplies! Thanks, I'll add a reminder note to the "load and enjoy" step. =)

0
Dragonhen
Dragonhen

2 years ago

Brilliant idea.!! :D Cool.

0
ChrisC74
ChrisC74

2 years ago

Wife and I were just talking about this the other day, as we have ordered a 3d printer for our daughter. Thank you for sharing.

0
Mark Rehorst
Mark Rehorst

2 years ago

Teach a man to dry his filament, and he will print for a day. Teach him to keep his filament dry, and he'll print for the rest of his life...

0
bekathwia
bekathwia

Reply 2 years ago

Hahaha thanks, Mark! =D