3D printing is growing with more advanced printers and a much wider selection of printing materials becoming available at a pace we have never seen before. However, as many of us know from experience, a lot can go wrong with 3D printing. Incorrect printer settings, wrong choice of materials and/or problematic printing designs/files can lead to defective 3D printed objects. There is, however, another very important factor, very simple but often hard to identify, which continues to plague many printing jobs -- moisture buildup in the filament.
Most filaments absorb moisture from the air readily. When moisture content goes up in a filament, the printability goes down and may lead to the filament becoming un-printable.
After many years experiencing moisture related problems during our in-house 3D printing. We have finally come up with a powerful solution -- The PrintDry filament dryer.
The PrintDry filament dryer is an in-line filament dryer, which is designed to dry and to feed the filament into a 3D printer at the same time. It has the following features.
The migration of moisture into the filament occurs over time and will eventually slow and stop when the moisture content reaches a state of equilibrium with that of the surrounding air. At the equilibrium point, the moisture content will be evenly distributed throughout the entire filament's interior. The water molecules inside it are attached to the polymer molecule chains, forming a strong inter-molecular bond. This bond is what makes drying the filament difficult. The desiccant packs used inside the filament's packaging are not strong enough to break the inter-molecular bond and "pull" the moisture out of the filament. Instead, desiccant packs help to prevent moisture content in a filament from increasing quickly rather than reducing it.
The PrintDry filament dryer is designed based on the following principles:
- drying temperature
- moisture concentration differential
- drying time
- air flow
The filament is heated up in a PrintDry unit forcing the molecules inside the filament to move more vigorously, this weakens and breaks the bond between the moisture and polymer allowing water molecules travel freely through the filament towards it's surface.
Inside a PrintDry unit, a moist filament is surrounded by very dry (low dew point) air, this encourages newly freed water molecules to migrate to the filament's surface. Just as it takes hours for moisture to get into filaments, they do not dry instantly. It takes time for heat to penetrate/distribute throughout the filament's interior, especially those that are deeply buried inside the spool. As well as taking more time for newly freed water molecules to diffuse to the surface of the filament.
The airflow carries heat to the filament and also carries water molecules away.
What is a D-spool?
For more effective drying, we recommend our open-concept D-Spool to be used with a PrintDry unit. Most filament spools have only a portion of filaments exposed to airflow, as shown on left in the picture below, and the rest of filaments are deeply 'buried'. A D-Spool, as shown on the right in the picture, lets airflow reach as much filament as possible and this makes the drying process much quicker and more thorough.
What will be shipped?
The picture below shows a PrintDry unit (desiccant packs and spool clips are not shown) with two D-spools and one upper deck filament feeder, with it one can feed two filaments at the same time to serve one dual head printer or 2 printers. The package will be 370x370x370mm and 3.8Kg or 15x15x15" and 8lbs. Please note the early bird deal does not include the D-spools and upper deck filament feeder.
Originally, the PrintDry filament dryer was developed for our in-house 3D printing to tackle the moisture-related problems. Below, you'll see a brief outline of the journey of PrintDry.
Since the prototype was made, we have been using PrintDry units in our 3D printing lab for about 10 months. We were very pleased with the difference the PrintDry unit made. Since it works so well for us, we want to bring the PrintDry unit to help the rest of the 3D printing community. That is why we have decided to launch this Kickstarter campaign.
Please ask always. Shoot us a message or post a comment and we'll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.
The PrintDry unit will be shipped worldwide!
However, please be aware that VAT/duties may incur upon receipt of your unit. These fees are the responsibility of each international backer. In addition, shipping rates may seem higher than usual due to first class international shipping. We calculate international shipping rates beforehand and are able to pay for some of the shipping costs.
Distributors: If you would like to work with us to distribute PrintDry units around the world after we successfully finish this Kickstarter campaign, please contact us at email@example.com
Thanks: Special thanks to everyone who has supported the creation of PrintDry filament dryer, especially Tom Martzall of Taulman3D, who tested the prototype and made very valuable suggestions. We also want to extend our thanks to the online 3D printing community of makers for giving us advice, feedback and inspiration!
Keywords: 3d, printing, 3d printing, 3d printer, filament, materials, moisture, dry, dryer, printdry, nylon, pla, abs, petg, dry filament, air tight, taulman, taulaman3d, nylon 680, nylon 645, pctpe, nylon bridge, nylon 618, nylon 230, alloy 910, breathe-3dp, phoenix nylon.
Risks and challenges
The PrintDry filament dryer has been used for in-house 3D printing for about 1 year and we are very satisfied with its performance. We don't see any challenges in the manufacturing process. However, the only remaining challenge for us is how to ship the unit to backers on time. We pledge to keep our backers updated in a timely manner throughout the entire production and shipping process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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