PrintDry has introduced version two of their inexpensive filament dryer system.
The Ontario, Canada based startup company splashed onto the scene a couple of years ago with the introduction of their inexpensive desktop filament dryer, selling over 20,000 units through a successful Kickstarter campaign. I actually obtained one myself, and it worked very well, particularly on ultra-hygroscopic materials such as nylon or PVA.
The problem being solved here is that these hygroscopic materials can dramatically decrease in print quality if exposed to humidity. Their chemical makeup causes absorption of water molecules that can corrupt 3D prints in several ways.
Hygroscopic 3D Printer Materials
The most common effect is that the water boils as it passes through the 3D printer’s hot end, resulting in gaps, bubbles and generally far less strong prints with extremely poor surface quality.
The effects of humidity can be overcome by consistently storing filaments in sealed bags with desiccant, but often that’s not practical. In those situations, it’s best to obtain a filament dryer. These devices hold the filaments in a relatively hot environment, which causes the moisture to slowly evaporate, leaving dry, high quality filament. It’s even possible to “recover” humidity-fouled filament using a dryer.
Many filament dryer operators use filament dryers not just for storage and recovery of filament, but also during 3D print jobs. This is accomplished by ensuring the dryer has an ability to rotate the spool as filament is consumed, as well as a small port through which the filament can travel to the 3D printer. Often that filament path is in a sealed tube to again minimize exposure to the atmosphere.
PrintDry Filament Dryer Features
PrintDry has learned much from their first filament dryer and has incorporated a number of interesting new features into version 2.0. They include:
A timer to shut off the heating after a specified duration
A digital display to indicate current dryer status, including temperature
Ability to accommodate three 1kg spools, up from two in the previous filament dryer
Ability to accommodate two 2kg spools
Ability to accommodate one 5kg spool
The ability to accommodate different spool sizes is perhaps unique among standalone filament dryers. The only large-spool dryers I’ve seen have been embedded into high-priced professional 3D printers. If you’re 3D printing a large nylon object, then you definitely want to 3D print directly from the dryer, as that material can be corrupted in only a day of exposure. Large 3D prints can often exceed that duration, making it challenging to complete the job with high quality.
PrintDry has the Filament Dryer v2.0 available now on Kickstarter at a price of US$156 for the base model. There are additional options for other combinations of large spools and additional chambers.
If you’re 3D printing with engineering materials and suffering from quality issues, you might consider obtaining a filament dryer.