Five Best Practices for Storing Your 3D Printing Materials

With 3D printing, your print is only as good as your materials. The quality of your 3D printing materials impacts your prints, the overall cost of your project, and the life of your printer. Protect your investment! While specific storage conditions may vary between 3D printing materials, there are a few best practices to incorporate into your printing setup. 

Control the storage conditions. 

Most FDM 3D printing materials are hygroscopic, meaning they absorb and hold moisture. So, humidity is the mortal enemy of 3D printing materials. Most materials generally require a relative humidity of less than 50%. Though the optimal environment varies widely between materials, the ideal storage temperature for 3D printing materials is typically between 59°-77° Fahrenheit. It is hard to achieve this consistently without a temperature and humidity-controlled storage area. Sometimes desiccants are also employed to prevent moisture from ruining the 3D printing material. Again, we suggest reading the materials to see what the manufacturer recommends for your particular 3D printing material.

First in, first out. 

3D printing materials do have expiration dates. Materials degrade naturally, no matter how well you store them, and you don’t want a roll of filament, lost to the back of a shelf, to compromise the operation of your machine. A standard practice in all inventory management is to store materials according to FIFO – first in, first out. If you arrange your shelves where the first grabbed 3D printing materials are the oldest in your stock, you’ll never have to worry about expiration dates. 

Consider the container. 

Some 3D printing materials must be kept in the canister or mylar bag they are sold in. Dust is also an issue with 3D printing materials, so keeping them sealed in an airtight container can significantly prolong the life of your materials. It’s also essential to keep your 3D printing materials labeled. Without labeling, the chances of using the wrong material increase dramatically. Your labeling system should include expiration dates to make your FIFO inventory management system easier to execute. 

Store in a secure location. 

You may not be the only person with access to your 3D printing materials. This can cause problems not only for your 3D printing materials being stolen or used without your consent but also for your materials being misused, increasing the risk of damage to your 3D printer. Therefore, securing your storage location for your 3D printing materials is prudent to ensure you protect your investment in 3D printing

If you are interested in sourcing 3D printing materials for your next project, call us! 

Read the instructions. 

Every printing material is different – make sure you read the instructions and listen to the manufacturer! Certain 3D printing materials may have special storage needs to prolong the life and suitability of the material. As always, make sure you do your research for each material! If you’re dealing with materials that did not come with specific instructions, there may be information online, or you can always contact the manufacturer’s customer support. 

Did you throw away the instructions for your 3D printer or 3D printing materials? Reach out, and we can help connect you with the information you need.