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Store PLA

Posted by Replace 
Store PLA
March 14, 2012 08:22AM
I wander,

Some articles state that PLA will attract moisture, kind of hygroscopic material ?

Anyway, I received a number of spools oit of a Swedish factory and all were sealed and included Silicagel
However, when i walk through the Thingiverse library, I see people having multiple spools mounted above their printer.

This seems nice, put 10 colors on the ceiling and choose whichever to start printing from.

Main question than remains: will the PLA degrade over time being just there, doing nothing ?

Rgrds Thomas
Re: Store PLA
March 14, 2012 10:40AM
It depends how humid your room gets. In the UK I have about 50% humidity indoors and I don't have a problem storing PLA for years in open spools. Other people have reported they need to dry it before use, otherwise they get steam bubbles and ooze.

Re: Store PLA
March 14, 2012 05:20PM
I get the picture.

So, I will get me a hygroscope in the garage.

How would someone dry the PLA before usage if it had been to moist?

Re: Store PLA
March 15, 2012 05:57AM
Different solutions were experimented :

- put it in an owen for some time :
* fast.
* dangerous for your filament quality (have to experiment with temperature and duration in order to avoid the filament to deform / stick to itself).

- store it in a sealed packaging with some moisture-greedy material.
* slower than the owen (might take weeks).
* possible materials : rice, various dessicants.

Most of my technical comments should be correct, but is THIS one ?
Anyway, as a rule of thumb, always double check what people write.
Re: Store PLA
March 21, 2012 06:33AM
As a manufacturer of Filament I hopefully can throw a little light in here.

PLA is very Hydrscopic it attracts and retains moisture like a sponge (not litterally), we have had to manufacture a very large forced air preheater running the return air throught a box full of Silica Gel.

Store in zip lock bags where possible,
Double bag it if feasable. -- USE Silica Gel Sachets in each Bag the more the better.

If you have to dry the PLA -
1st -- Fan Forced Oven on the coldest setting possible so the oven is JUST running.
2nd option is to make a light box drier, basically a large sealable cardboard box with a standard 60 watt globe set throught a hole in the lid.

you will need to set a decent gap between the light bulb and te PLA as it will get hot under the globe 2 ft or 600 mm minimum.

simply seal the box and switch the light on for a few hours and please check ocassionally as this is a rudimentary oven ( I have seen chickens cooked this way !) See here if you want to cook a turkey using this method

hope this helps

Re: Store PLA
March 21, 2012 03:16PM
Hi mr Snowman,

Would you confirm that leaving the PLA in the garage, on the spool, no seals, that printing would suffer in the future?



Orca V4.4 rebuild to Ramps with Mk8 and E3D, as well as a Rostock Delta Mini and an OLO in backorder :-)
Re: Store PLA
March 25, 2012 11:36PM
I've had PLA sitting out for months with zero problems. I do, however, live in Arizona where the air is quite dry.

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