Ever since we got into 3d Printing we’ve been a bit frustrated by the tendency of filament to absorb humidity and go bad. Try leaving some PLA out for a few days and you’ll see what we mean: blobbing, stringing, and frequent jams will be the result.
You can avoid this by always storing filament in a sealed container, but what about when you’re printing? Some prints might carry on overnight. A few prints like that and your filament quality will degrade just the same as if you stored it unsealed.
In the past we’ve solved this by drying out filament in a low fan oven. But it’s not without risks: oven thermostats can be a bit erratic, and if the temperature goes too high the filament begins to melt and develops kinks. And kinky filament is more likely to jam.
For all these reasons, we were very excited to be given the chance to review the PrintDry, a device designed to solve exactly this problem.
The PrintDry looks a bit like a large kitchen gadget. It is composed of a white base which contains a heating unit, fan, and temperature adjustment knob. Clear plastic containers are then placed on top of the unit, and the hot dry air is blown through them. There’s room for two 1kg rolls.
The unit can be used either to dry out filament, or, thanks to an internal turntable and small hole on the side, to keep filament dry whilst printing. The latter would be especially useful for Nylon filament, which is extremely sensitive to humidity. It also works for drying out sachets of silica gel.
So does it work? We found an old bit of grey filament that had been lying around the office. The photo shows two test prints we did with it – one before drying, one after drying for a couple of hours. The results are dramatic – far less stringing, and a much neater finish. Unlike in the oven, the drying process had no tendency to melt the filament – the temperature is very easy to control. We’ll be using this machine regularly to rescue old bits of filament.
The PrintDry is available from http://www.printdry.com/ for $99 (just under £80).