Not a Printer, But Closely Related

Some of you know I’ve been searching for a way to store opened spools of filament, 1 that keeps them dry. This is easiest in a vacuum container. Having not really found anything, I was toying with making my own.

Well, that’s out the window. I just found this on KickStarter:…&term=printdry. The project is over, but the containers & a pump for them are now available to order, which I just did. It’s a kit of 5 containers + 1 pump. I’m thinking, after drying out the filament, then putting it into a container with a small canister of silica gel & a hygrometer, my filaments should be good to go for a long time.

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[SIZE=8px]#printdry #vacuum #container #pump[/SIZE]

While the thing looks nice and probably has much use for other people, I think at least here in northern Germany I put my stuff into the shelf without any box. I would also have to remove my spool holders from the spool before placing them into the box, which is kind of a hassle, too.

Maybe when I print PETG or other highly water absorbing materials, but currently I even have my TPU in the open and no issues at all.

You are very fortunate my friend.

I use vacuum storage bags that I got off ebay. I have a vacuum pump on my router so can pull a good vac with no effort. So far seems to be working well for me. Throw some desiccant in and we are off to the races. Here in Ga, USA we have high humidity so I use it even for pla. As I write this, the official humidity at the weather station about 10 miles away is 97%.

The bags are a lot cheaper also. I think I paid $16 for 10 16x20" (~400x500mm) bags.

I’ll second that! I think @Ender5r’s solution is excellent. I think you might find you run into trouble when the days are more humid - depending on the part of the world you live in, humidity can be a problem or you might not even notice it. High humidity is bad for many plastics, even PETG and PLA but Nylon seems to be one of the worst. I tried low-cost vacuum sealer bags and they lasted, oh, maybe a day before the vacuum started to fail. They looked good though!

I’d still use some “catcher” material (that shows my age… back in the day, valves (even modern ones) have a catcher which absorbs the last little bits of gas from the vacuum tube to make it even more of a vacuum than is otherwise possible. Of course, a perfect vacuum is impossible to achieve but that’s another thing entirely.

I use a sodium hydroxide catcher in mine but it’s probably safer to use a custom-designed desiccant in a bag.

I’m using re-sealable bags ATM, but they haven’t been reliable over the long run.

I don’t think humidity will be a problem. The canisters are vacuum sealed, & I plan to put 1 of these in each canister: [U][/U].

I have 2 sets of 5 of the PrintDry vacuum containers purchased from Matterhackers. They work well, but there is a problem in how they are packaged. As packaged for shipping, the tubs are nested with only a thin sheet of plastic between each tub. The tubs are so tightly nested that it can be almost impossible to pry them apart. With the last set I received, it took me several hours to get them separated.

Interesting. I will keep an eye out for that when my arrive.


Received my package today, intact with no damage.

@akc, I see what you mean by being tightly nested. Mine came with a folded strip of 1.5" wide kraft paper tucked into the side of each tub. After a couple of minutes I figured out that I could press in & up on either side of the paper strip, which let in some air. That popped the bottom tub down a bit. Then, I moved to the other side & repeated the move. Overall, it took about 5 to 10 minutes to get them all separated.

They are all in use:

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I’m contemplating how to arrange things for the future. The idea of putting the vacuum container on top of spare boxes of the same filament has some appeal. But, it might take up quite a bit more room.

As you can see, even just a few hours in the container has reduced the humidity to what I consider an almost ridiculous level.

I may need to order another set of containers.

The only negative is that I cannot read the hygrometer while the lid is on. That may not matter in the long run. If I can count on the humidity being in the 10% range, it seems reasonable to not even bother with the hygrometers. Their main use may be to monitor the condition of the silica gel.

Just to update that the containers are working very well. No issues except that, if I’m not careful, the latch hoop disconnects from the lever. I just pop it back in, but it would be better if the connection was a little stiffer.

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Just an update to show my filament storage system. I have used 3M VHB tape to move the hygrometers to the inside wall of the containers. It was just too hard to read them when they were under the center of the lid. Now, I an monitor and have a better idea as to when I need to change the silica gel.

Wow. Very impressive. I wish I was that organized.

That is quite impressive.

It’s just an Ikea bookshelf in my basement.

Having figured out how I’m going to store open spools of filament, I next needed a way to keep it as dry as possible. I bought a jug of orange indicator silica gel from amazon. I then took a design for a perforated container from thingiverse, modified the design a bit, and printed a few in clear PETG. They’re OK, but I have 2 problems with them: [LIST=1]

  • the containers are 50mm wide, almost the width of the hole in a common spool. This makes it hard to remove them.
  • the containers are a little shorter than the width of common spools. Again, this makes it hard to remove them. [/LIST] So, I redesigned the containers to be 40mm in diameter and 80mm tall. This allows me to insert and remove them from the center of the spool when it's in the vacuum tub.

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    I did find 1 other issue: the vacuum tubs use a flexible silicone rubber nipple in the center of the lid as the air seal. The vacuum hand pump is pressed down over the nipple and the air is extracted. When the pressure gets low enough inside the tub the center of the nipple gets sucked downward. To release the pressure, you press the side of the nipple to create a crack between the nipple and the edge of the hole in the tub lid.

    1 problem: when extracting the air from the tub, the center of the lid gets drawn down to the top of the silica gel container. Trouble is, it can get sucked onto the lid of the container and won’t let any more air be extracted.

    I redesigned just the lid to have 1mm grooves in a radial pattern, allowing air to get past the seal between the nipple and canister lid.


    1 last issue is handling silica gel. It is very bouncy. Drop beads on a hard floor and they bounce all over the place. Since the canister is now only 40mm in diameter, I decided to create a funnel that threads onto the canister.

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