Proper storage of filament spools is very important. If stored improperly, moisture and dust can adversely affect the quality of prints and also clog nozzles.
Humidity and dust are natural enemies of filament spools. Some materials have no problems with humidity. Others, such as PVA or nylon, are very hygroscopic and absorb moisture after a short time.
A wet filament can be easily recognized by the sizzling noise during printing – and its horrible print result. More information on how to detect and dry damp filament can be found in our article How to Dry Filament.
Then, there’s dust. It can also settle on the filament and then get into the nozzle and clog it. Under extrusion or a failed print job is the result most of the time.
Therefore, it is especially important to store filament spools carefully and correctly. Here are some solutions so that your material can be printed flawlessly – even after a long pause in printing.
The Rolls Royce among the storage containers is definitely the Polybox from Polymaker. This slim box holds up to two 750g spools or one large 3kg spool mounted on ball bearing axles. The filament is fed to the feeder via several rubber couplings on the side and top of the box. The bottom contains two large desiccant packs to regulate the humidity in the box. And on the front, there is a small hygrometer to check the moisture inside.
The Polybox can be used for the safe storage of filament coils, but you can also print directly from the box. Thus the filament no longer has to be removed from a container. This is a big advantage for very hygroscopic materials like nylon or PVA because they absorb moisture very quickly and this can become a problem during longer print jobs.
The PrintDry Filament Container is a solution for the storage of single spools. The seal in the lid ensures that the box is airtight and reliably keeps moisture out. Also, a vacuum hand pump is included to remove the remaining air in the container.
The containers can be stacked easily to save space.
The Lock & Lock Container HSM952 is very similar to the PrintDry solution. The container holds exactly one spool 750g, and there is still room for one desiccant pack. The box is hermetically sealed by the all-around rubber seal in the lid.
You can stack several containers without any problems.
Ziplock and vacuum seal bags represent two of the cheapest and easiest ways to store filament. A six- or eight-liter bag can easily hold a spool.
In the case of ziplock bags, just keep in mind that you may want to reinforce the edges and opening with tape to prevent them from tearing when used frequently. Of course, you can vacuum seal ziplock bags, but it might not be so easy.
Vacuum seal bags are made for a variety of purposes, especially storing food and fabric. As such, the only trick with this option is to make sure that what you buy is big enough for your spools. Otherwise, sliding your filament in and sucking out the excess air with a household vacuum is easy as pie.
For all these solutions you need desiccant packs to keep the humidity in the containers to a minimum. Suitable for this are Silica Gel Packs, which reliably absorb moisture from the air and which can be quickly dried again in the microwave or in the oven to reuse them.
These packs are available in different sizes. For a single spool, about 50 grams should be sufficient, for larger containers, more should be added.
There are also packs that have a color indicator, so you can see at a glance whether the packs are already saturated and need to be recharged.
There are also several DIY dry boxes that are either for storage only or also to print directly from the box. Usually, simple plastic boxes are used which are then sealed accordingly. These boxes can be bought in all sizes and then equipped with the necessary features.
If you want to print directly from the box, we recommend installing a spool holder and a coupling for a Bowden Tube. Also, make sure that the couplings are airtight to keep the spools safe when not printing.
Various projects on Thingiverse also help to collect ideas for your box.
The proper storage of filament spools also includes a filament clip to prevent tangling of the filament. There are countless types of filament clips, but the most reliable ones are those that are clipped to the spool edge and stop the filament from unwinding.
Never store a spool with an unsecured filament end.
Filament must not only be kept dry: The nozzle has to be cared for to make sure dust and dirt don’t clog it. A dust filter, which is clipped onto the filament between the spool and the feeder to remove the dust, is a solution.
You have to print this dust filter and then cut two small pieces out of a sponge and put it on both sides of the dust filter case.
License: The text of "Filament Spool – 8 Ways to Safely Store Your Filament" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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