If you’re new to 3D printing, and even if you’re not, you may not have known that over time your filament can absorb the humidity in the air. This phenomenon leads to what we call “wet” filament and can completely ruin your prints.
There’s a reason spools of filament come vacuum sealed from the factory with packets to absorb moisture. However, even all of those precautions cannot ensure that your filament will arrive 100% dry.
What happens if you print with wet filament?
The results of wet filament often include stringing issues that will drive you crazy as you tweak settings on your printer trying to figure out the culprit. All the while, it’s your filament causing the problems. Additionally, wet filament will reduce the strength of your prints and can feature uneven extrusion lines or unsightly oozing. If the filament has absorbed an extreme amount of liquid from the air, you can even hear it pop or crack due to the heat from the extruder causing bubbles.
What can you do about it?
One way you can try to prevent your filament from absorbing humidity is by using sealed boxes lined with material that absorbs moisture. However, another way, is to use a filament dryer which heats the filament up and helps draw out all of the moisture before printing.
Thankfully, our friends over at Sunlu make just such a device and sent over the FilaDryer S2 for review.
Sunlu FilaDryer S2
The Sunlu FilaDryer S2 has a stylish round design with enough space to fit 1KG spools of filament. It even includes rollers on the bottom and a hole allowing you to run filament straight out of the dryer. There is a large touchscreen display on the side jam-packed with info, including the set temperature, current temperature, running time, material, and humidity level inside of the FilaDryer S2.
The temperature range of the Sunlu FilaDryer S2 is 35-70 degrees Celsius with a heating element on the top and bottom to heat your spools evenly. It is compatible with 99% of 3D printing filaments on the market, including PLA, PLA+, PETG, ABS, Nylon, and more.
How well does it work?
I gave the FilaDryer S2 a try with a spool of black silk filament the company sent out to me for testing. After leaving the filament in humid conditions for a period of time, I tried printing out a benchy to see what effects it would have. As you can see, the print came out very poorly.
There was an abundance of stringing and oozing due to how much moisture the filament had absorbed, and overall, the print was a mess.
Afterward, I tried drying out the filament using the FilaDryer S2. This required letting the spool of filament “bake” at 70 degrees Celsius for six hours. I then tried to print the same benchy. This time the print came out much cleaner and it was a 100% improvement over the last one printed with wet filament.
Some things to note about the Sunlu FilaDryer S2 is that the flashing LED light ring can be disabled, and the humidity sensor seems to be inaccurate so I wouldn’t rely on its readings. Otherwise, everything else works great and this is an easy way to avoid throwing out ruined filament.
Printing 3D models is what I like to call a frustratingly fun hobby. There are many variables to consider when 3D printing, and lots of settings to tweak in order to get the best results. The last thing you want to do is throw in another variable, like wet filament, if you can avoid it.
The Sunlu FilaDryer S2 is a simple and affordable way to eliminate hours of troubleshooting your printer looking for an issue that isn’t there. If you live in a humid area, then this could be a lifesaver, and also save you a lot of money on wasted filament. I know I always like to pick up rolls on sale when I can, but if you don’t use it immediately, then you’re looking at a lot of wasted filament unless you dry it out.
You can pick up the Sunlu FilaDryer S2 in white or black for $80 or less from Amazon or Sunlu’s website.
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