For 3D printing there are three big things you can do to ensure that you have good prints. First, make sure your printer and print bed are calibrated well. Second, make sure you are using good temperatures and speeds. The third, however, isn't talked about very much but it is just as important as the other two: taking care of your filament.
Keeping your Filament Dry
Have you ever had prints not turn out well or even fail completely and you have no idea why? There is a good chance that its not your printer, or your settings but that your filament has too much water in it. Think back to when you first bought your filament. It probably came in a sealed bag with one of those desiccants(little white bags) inside of it. This is so that the filament can keep its moisture content down to around 10% which is ideal. When you take your filament out of the bag it starts to absorb the moisture from the air jumping up to 30% overnight. Nylon is the worst for absorption, so be extra careful with it. The longer it sits out the more potential moisture can be absorbed.
If you try printing with moist filament you can hear little popping sounds, see steam rising from your hot end, find voids in your prints, and not have good adhesion between layers. Sound familiar? Here are a few tricks to keep your filament dry.
- When you aren't using your filament keep it sealed inside a Ziploc bag that has a desiccant inside of it to help keep the filament dry.
- If you do notice that there is moisture inside of your filament and you have a dehumidifier (like a jerky maker or fruit dryer) you can stick your spool of filament inside of it to dry it out.
- You can take the spool and put it inside of your oven at the lowest temperature setting (Don't go above 100C/212F) and stick it in for an hour. Be careful because sometimes the spool can get soft and deform but if you keep your printer temperatures low you shouldn't run into any problems.