10 Must-Have 3D Printing Filament Maker Accessories
by 3devo on Dec 6, 2021 4:31:00 PM
Essential 3D Printing Filament Maker Accessories to Keep Your and Your Equipment Safe
One of the most challenging jobs of 3D printing filament makers is ensuring that filaments and filament extruders last long. A compromised filament can not only result in a poor-quality 3D-printed structure, but also damage the extruder in the process. It is also crucial to ensure human safety at all stages of filament-making and 3D printing. Thus, to be an efficient 3D printing filament maker, you need to have the right tools in your shed. This article enlists the ten must-have filament maker accessories.
1. Equipment to Remove Moisture From Your Filament
If 3D printing filament absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, it tends to soften. When a 3D printer extrudes this soft, damp filament, the resulting structure has trapped air bubbles. The presence of air bubbles compromises the structural and mechanical integrity of the 3D-printed structure. Thus, it is necessary to ensure that your filament is perfectly dry before you use it.
There are many methods you could use to dry your filament at home or with common appliances. You can already start this process before you make your filament, by using a polymer dryer. A polymer dryer removes surface moisture from the polymer pellets, regrinds or granulates that you use to make filament. Dry polymer pellets will enhance the quality and performance of the 3D printing filament.
In the time between you extruding your filament and 3D printing, there are several methods you could use to dry your filament at home, whether it be putting your filament spool in an oven, food dehydrator, or designed filament. If you’re not going to 3D print right away, look into storing your filament spools correctly.
2. Filament Storage
To avoid the trouble of frequently drying your filament spools, consider allocating a designated moisture-free storage space for them. There are many accessories that can help you keep your filament spools moisture-free, such as vacuum bags and silica gels. Vacuum bags not only protect your filament from moisture, but also keep bugs and mildew away from it.
Silica gel packs, on the other hand, absorb moisture from the surroundings to keep your filament dry. They are highly reusable, and some even come with an indicator to show when they are saturated with moisture.
3. Polylactic Acid (PLA)
PLA is among the most frequently used materials for filaments because it is safe, sustainable and easy to use. For this reason, PLA filaments have long served as the gold standard for quality control in extrusion-based 3D printing. If you are concerned about the cleanliness of your barrel or the condition of your filament maker, we recommend you opt for an at-home PLA quality check.
4. Nozzle Set
Filament maker nozzles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have the same function. Your nozzle choice will depend on your intended print design and the diameter of your 3D printers nozzle.
Sometimes nozzles get clogged during filament extrusion, and that’s ok! But, in these cases a backup nozzle set is a time-saving accessory that can preserve the structural and mechanical properties of your filament.
Wrenches are some of the most useful, multi-purpose and frugal tools in any toolbox. In the world of filament extrusion, wrenches find regular use in changing the nozzles of your filament maker. We suggest 13mm and 19mm wrenches.
Filament extrusion is a task that often demands thorough attention to detail. Especially if moving forward with 3D printing, precise measurements are indispensable. Calipers – Vernier, digital or others rank high among the various must-have filament maker accessories.
Calipers can help you verify the diameter of your filament during extrusion incase you are unsure that the output size is what you expect it to be.
Pliers are among those filament maker accessories that we mention first when someone is starting out with their filament extrusion journey. For starters, you can use the pliers to guide the extruding filament through the extruder’s spooling hole to keep it secure. Additionally, pliers can also prove to be quite convenient when removing jams (or unclogging) from an extruder nozzle. Finally, they can help cut the filament from your spool or trim any remnant fused after extrusion. It’s useful to trim your filament’s molten end with a pair of pliers to form a sharp tip.
Tweezers can help perform some of the same function as pliers. You can always use them in lieu of (or alongside) pliers to unclog an extruder nozzle. Tweezers are also great tools to pluck out the molten end of the filament coming out of your extruder nozzle.
9. Heat Resistant Gloves
To extrude plastic, a high temperature is necessary to create your filament. If you find yourself needing to change your filament nozzle half way through an extrusion, it is essential that you do so while wearing heat resistant gloves, as the temperatures of the nozzle can range anywhere from 100°C to 350°C+. Thermal gloves are also an asset if you’ve dried your filament spool or pellets in an oven and need to remove the tray.
10. Fume Hood
Fume hoods, like thermal gloves, are crucial accessories to ensure personnel safety in the 3D printing industry. Some polymers used to create filaments can release toxic fumes when heated up. Occupational safety experts thus recommend that filament extrusion be performed inside a fume hood for maximum operation safety. Luckily, you can easily build your own fume hood, which can be a relatively cheaper alternative to commercial hoods.
The Two-In-One Solution for 3D Printing and Filament Extrusion
The above-discussed filament maker accessories are just as critical and useful for 3D printing as they are to filament extruders. Some of the items in this list may seem pedestrian, but they are indispensable for any 3D printing filament maker. They ensure personnel safety, check material usage, minimize the wastage of time, and extend the life of your equipment.
Ultimately, these filament maker accessories help save a lot of money. So, make sure you are equipped with these valuable accessories before starting your next filament extrusion!