Raw 3D printing material symbolizes infinite possibilities unlocked by the user’s creativity; however, if the raw material is mistreated and improperly handled, that potential vanishes. Making sure to take proper care of raw materials and store them in their intended conditions is the best way to ensure high quality prints. In times of extended shutdowns, or simply long hiatuses between prints, it’s imperative to store material properly.
Storing 3D Printing Materials
While different 3D printing materials each have their own storage recommendations to ensure that the material is capable of peak performance, there are some general guidelines to make sure to follow when storing any 3D printing material. You always want to be sure to keep the material stored in a cool, dry environment, with a means of controlling the temperature such as a thermostat. Also, it is imperative to avoid any unnecessary UV exposure. Lastly, as a general practice, always observe material expiration dates, making sure to use the oldest material first, and to never use expired material in the printer. This could result in parts with a subpar performance, or even damage your machine.
How to Store FDM 3D Printing Materials
Stratasys F123 Series material spools should be stored in mylar bags when not in use to prevent the material from absorbing any moisture, as this can affect the print quality. In addition to being stored in mylar bags, each material spool contains desiccant packs stored in the inner race, which help prevent the material from absorbing moisture. Storage bags should be sealed tight with the air removed. If a mylar bag is not available, a space saving storage back with a vacuum suction port can be used.
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Stratasys Fortus Plus and Fortus Classic canisters should be stored vertically as shown in the image below to prevent the material from cross-winding inside the canister. When materials are removed from the printers and ready to be stored until their next use, it is important to replace both orange rubber seals, to prevent any unwanted moisture from entering the canister.
How to Store PolyJet 3D Printing Materials
Stratasys PolyJet 1 kg canisters should be stored as shown below with the self-sealing foam facing upwards, and the label legible to the user. When replacing partially used canisters, try to realign the previous puncture holes to avoid any unnecessary holes in the foam.
After removing a Stratasys PolyJet 3.6 kg material canister from the machine, always remember to replace the white cap over the black nozzle and store the canister with the nozzle in the position as shown below. A good way to tell if its stored properly, is that the label should be easily legible to the user.
As for the Stratasys PolyJet 4 kg material canisters, they should once again be stored as shown below, with the label legible to the user.
In addition to proper material storage during extended periods of time without being used, it is important to use head cleaning and shutdown wizards appropriately to help maintain the health and longevity of your 3D printer. These wizards are easily accessible under the Options tab on the main screen of the host computer.
When printers and materials are not in use for extended periods of time, it is important to take proper care of them to ensure their longevity. By abiding by storage protocols, being aware of material expiration dates and using shutdown and cleaning wizards when appropriate, you can avoid wasting usable material, and prevent potential damage to your machine.
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