FLASHFORGE LAUNCHED NEW 3D PRINTING FILAMENT DRYING STATION

3D printer manufacturer Flashforge has announced the launch of its first-ever 3D Printing Filament Drying Station.

3D Printing Filament Drying Station

A SOLUTION FOR THE MAIN PROBLEM OF 3D PRINTING…

The Flashforge solution to the moisture problem, which it calls the great enemy of 3D printing, comes in the shape of its new Filament Drying Station. Built to fit seamlessly with the Creator 4, the multifunctional unit features a movable draw, in which users can store their filament.

FlashForge 3D Printing Filament Drying Station

Designed to help unlock guaranteed part quality, the new unit allows users to easily store moisture-sensitive materials, in a way that protects them from humidity and degradation. When used with the firm’s Creator 4 3D printer, the station is said to ensure the stability of any filaments used throughout the entire workflow, thus allowing manufacturers to avoid product defects and maximize their uptime.

MOVING INTO THE PROFESSIONAL SPACE

Since it was founded in 2011, Flashforge has established a strong system portfolio, packed with features designed to meet the varying needs of its different users. While its lineup started with maker-friendly machines like the Adventurer 3 and Adventurer 4, the firm has steadily built out its offering to include more capable 3D printers, including the dual-extrusion with Creator Pro 2.

As of 2021, the company has also begun to address the professional market with higher-end systems such as the Creator 3, Creator 3 Pro and Creator 4. The nozzles on each of these units feature a sensor which allows for automatic bed leveling, and some are even able to process materials at temperatures of up to 360°C. That being said, the latter is available in the Creator 4-F, Creator 4-A and Creator 4-S iterations, with each boasting their own set of extruders and individual material compatibility.

In the spirit of meeting the more demanding needs of its professional users, the firm has now also launched a Filament Drying Station, that’s said to turn the Creator 4 into a complete solution for 3D printing workshops and enterprises everywhere.

THE NECESSITY OF FILAMENT STORAGE

As anyone with a working knowledge of Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), 3D printing will tell you, most plastic filaments are highly-hygroscopic, meaning that they’re prone to absorb ambient moisture. When this happens, even if only a small amount of moisture sets into the material, the impact on the characteristics of the resulting parts can be significant.

Not only can printing damp filament cause surface quality defects to appear, but it can also interfere with the material’s properties, potentially making the resulting parts unfit for end usage. In an effort to demonstrate just how problematic filament humidity is, Flashforge recently conducted a study comparing the performance of components produced via wet, dry, annealed, and unannealed materials.

Filament Drying Station
Filament Drying Station

During the evaluation, the firm exposed PVA, PA, PACF, and TPU filaments to an environmental humidity level of 25%, causing them to result in poor-surface quality prints, while those stored at levels of 10% or less performed perfectly well.

Likewise, Flashforge found that annealing PA-based materials such as PA, PAHT, and PA-CF, was able significantly to improve their strength, and help them maintain a high level of toughness. Later, the study also revealed that drying PAHT and PACF raised their impact resistance and tensile strength by as much as 100% and 44% respectively, proving the benefits of filament heating definitively.

FLASHFORGE REPRESENTS FIRST 3D PRINTING FILAMENT DRYING STATION

Powered by the firm’s Intelligent Drying Technology, the station is capable of heating materials to temperatures of up to 120°C, making it ideal for drying those that have absorbed moisture, and restoring their properties. The unit also features a silica gel desiccant, which when discharged through hot air circulation around the shelf, works to ensure that filaments remain dry even during long-term storage.

Weighing in at 120 kilograms, the system itself is substantial enough to hold the weight of the Creator 4, and can comfortably be used as a base for the 3D printer. In terms of capacity, the unit’s drawer is large enough to hold six one-kilo rolls or two 2.5-kilo rolls of filament as well and boasts compatibility with a variety of moisture-sensitive materials. The system also ships with preset drying parameters for several different material types.

FlashForge Creator 4 & 3D Printing Filament Drying Station
Filament Drying Station silica gel
FlashForge Filament Drying Station