I’ve received the question: “How do you store your filament?” many times, so I thought I’d create a page showing my system. The sources for all the supplies are listed at the bottom of the page.
Different types of filament are affected differently by the humidity in the air, but most filaments you will use can be affected (PLA, ABS, PET-G, Nylon, etc). The most common problems are the filament swelling and changing diameter, air gaps in your prints caused by steam escaping as the material is heated, and weaker prints.
You can dry “wet” filament in an oven at a low temperature for many hours, or you can prevent the filament from getting “wet” in the first place.
Previously I stored filament that wasn’t loaded into a printer in a Ziplock bag with desiccant bags. Later I switched to loose desiccant in a container with a humidity read out. To remove most of the air from the bag, I would use a straw to suck out the air as I sealed the bag.
While this method worked OK, it was cumbersome. Anytime I wanted to change filament it was hard to find the correct roll of filament without unstacking a bunch of spools. Plus it was getting expensive to buy enough temperature and humidity monitors to make sure the desiccant was still working as I accumulated more spools.
My new method of storing filament involves using Sterilite 20qt gasketed boxes. These boxes can store up to four rolls of filament. Each box has a temperature and humidity readout on the side of the box so that I can quickly tell if the desiccant needs to be recharged.
I recently added a Zigbee temperature and humidity sensor to each of my four filament boxes. This allows me to pull up the temp and humidity on a Hubitat (Home Automation hardware) dashboard. I’ve also set the software to notify me if the humidity in any of the boxes rises over 50% relative humidity.
I first started out using the little packs of desiccant that came with the rolls of filament. Then I switched to rechargeable desiccant packs, but then I found the “Inside Spool Silica Gel Containers on Thingiverse. These allowed me to use loose desiccant which is cheaper.
When the desiccant turns pink you can easily “recharge” it by baking it in the oven at 200°F (or as low as your oven goes) in a baking pan for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Sterilite 20qt Gasket Box with Latches Clear/Blue
- Interteck Packaging 5 LBS Premium Quality Blue Indicating Silica Gel Bulk Desiccant Beads, Industry Standard 2-5mm – Rechargeable (Blue to Pink)
- Inside Spool Silica Gel Container
- EEEKit Hygrometer Thermometer Digital LCD Monitor Humidity Meter Gauge, Black Round, Measure in Fahrenheit/Celsius, 3-Pack
- KONKE Zigbee 3.0 Open Protocol Temperature Humidity Sensor
- Hubitat Elevation Home Automation