How do I know when filament is getting old, and what things can I do to correct for it?

I’ve heard I should store filament in sealed container, preferably with a desiccant.

But let’s say I let a spool get a little old on the printer, or I purchased a filament spool that was old or improperly packaged. How would I know? How would this impact prints (what kind of symptoms would I see)? What things could I do (perhaps in the slicer) to correct for this and prolong the life of marginal filament?

And the corollary… in a typical environment, how long can filament be left out without suffering from the exposure?

I’m thinking mainly about PLA, but responses for ABS and other materials are useful, too.

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Filament storage?

What’s the best way (outside of silica beads) to store filament sensitive to moisture? I feel like filament buried under a couple pounds of rice will stay pretty dry.
I understand that frequently exposing the rice to humid air will cause the rice to less effective but I would only plan on opening the container to put a new spool in and replace the old one.

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How do I know when filament is getting old, and what things can I do to correct for it?

I’ve heard I should store filament in sealed container, preferably with a desiccant.

But let’s say I let a spool get a little old on the printer, or I purchased a filament spool that was old or improperly packaged. How would I know? How would this impact prints (what kind of symptoms would I see)? What things could I do (perhaps in the slicer) to correct for this and prolong the life of marginal filament?

And the corollary… in a typical environment, how long can filament be left out without suffering from the exposure?

I’m thinking mainly about PLA, but responses for ABS and other materials are useful, too.

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Good sources of filament “sampler” pack? [closed]

The local stores have started to stop selling filaments in the smaller 0.5 kg spools, and it’s getting harder to maintain an assortment without buying lots of big spools.

I mainly just want a bunch of different colors (red, black, blue, green, etc.), ideally as a bunch of small spool “samples” or like a “sampler pack”. — Even if they’re at .25 kg spool sizes… — I don’t want to spend a ton of money on buying and storing a ton of 1.0kg – 2.0kg spools.

I prefer to print in PLA, but ABS is fine. I can only print 1.75mm filament.

The seller should to be able to ship to western US, and have filament of decent quality that’s not going to ruin my printer.

What do you recommend?

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Good methods to clean extruder gear (hobbed) from filament pieces?

I’m using a CraftBot original to print PLA, but some of the filament has become stuck in the teeth of the extruder gear on its way into the hot end. I’m having issues with the gear becoming stuck and “clicking” instead of turning, and I suspect it is because of the clogged teeth. I haven’t changed materials in a long time. I’ve cleared several print head clogs, but each time the gear gets back around to the one spot, it seems to get stuck again.

Are there any good ways to clean this gear? I was thinking of putting it in a toaster oven and trying to melt the PLA off it, ideally without setting my house on fire in the process. Anyone have better ideas?

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What causes bubbles in extruded filament?

I’ve noticed this on almost ever print I’ve ever had. On the initial first line that clears the extruder nozzle tiny little bubbles/craters seem to form on the line. While I don’t think these are causing any issue with my prints I’m curious to know the reason why they form at all.

Is this due to water absorption in my filament that turns to steam, which then bursts through the molten plastic? Is it due to air bubbles in the filament that are cause by the manufacturing process of the filament? Or is this more an indication that my nozzle is damaged or clogged in some way?

Bubbles in extrusion

This image was made using ABS plastic and a heated build plate. I’ve noticed these same ‘bubbles’ appearing using PLA, and Nylon.

Edit: Nozzle temperature 240°C, build plate temperature 150°C, Nozzle diameter 0.4 mm, filament diameter (measured 1.75 mm) retraction distance 1.7 mm. Using the Makerbot Desktop Slicer.

The first line that my printer extrudes, where I’m seeing these ‘bubbles’ is a nearly full line. Makerbot starts from the right side of the image, extruding to the left.

Single line extrusion on printer bed

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How important is the dimensional accuracy of filament relative to the detail of a print?

In this answer user Barafu says,

Yet I manage to keep my tolerances +- 0.05 mm which is enough for everything but miniature printing.

I have asked for clarification on that answer regarding what is meant by “miniature printing” but in the meantime, I want to ask the general question.

What impact does dimensional accuracy of filament have on final print quality, and why? Does it vary between different filament types?

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What makes a good PLA filament?

The quality of the filament is frequently mentioned either as the source of an issue but also as the solution to a problem.

I know that the way you use,store and protect your filament will greatly impact it’s quality, especially overtime, but here I’m interested to understand what makes a brand new, out of the air-tight package, good or bad? What to look for when you buy filament (specs,chemical,weight,…)? What are some brands that are notoriously know to make “high quality” filament?

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Identifying the plastic type of an unknown spool of filament or recyclable waste

Is there any way to test what kind your filament is? There are no labels on the spools and I don’t know whether they are ABS or PLA.

I got the plastic with the printer, which is no longer sold (Solidoodle 2). Since I bought it on eBay that is probably why it has unprofessional filament.

I set my extruder to 210°C and bed to 50°C and it printed fine (with tons of hairspray and painters tape).

I figured out where I got it. I got it from Solidoodle (who have gone out of business) when I bought the Solidoodle 2 right after it came out.

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Is PLA filament conductive?

I am planing on printing something that will make contact with PCB boards. The print will be most likely to be in PLA. I don’t want to fry the PCB board so I want to know if 3D printed PLA objects are conductive.

I googled and found out about special non-conductive PLA and conductive PLA. But what about the conductivity of normal PLA?

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