Many of the filament storage solutions on this list require the use of desiccants. A desiccant is something that is so hygroscopic that it preferentially absorbs all of the ambient moisture in a room. Desiccants are most commonly found inbut can also be purchased as beads.
Packets are the most common form of desiccant. They are practical, inexpensive and available in many different sizes from 0.5 to 500 grams. It is recommended to buy in bulk as 50 gram packets can be purchased in a pack of 24 for around $24, a dollar each.
The desiccant packets contain the silicate beads themselves. These beads are approximately 2 to 4 mm in size and can be purchased by weight and used directly. If you need a large amount of filament drying power, the beads are a good choice. It costs about $35 for a gallon, so 7.5 pounds of pearls.
Aside from disposable desiccants, most beads and packets can be “charged.” This is achieved by baking the desiccant at a very low temperature in an oven, dehydrator, or even microwave. When the desiccant becomes saturated, simply recharge it by baking out the excess moisture and you’re ready to go. Remember, the more desiccant you have in a given container, the less often you will need to refill it.
Many desiccants on the market offer a color display function. That is, when the desiccant is saturated with water, the color gradually changes from blue to purple or from orange to green, depending on the desiccant. This feature is available on both packets and beads, although it can sometimes be difficult to see the color change through the packet’s fabric.
How much is needed
While it never hurts to err on the side of caution when it comes to desiccants, there is a formula for how much desiccant is needed for a given volume of air. Simply find the volume of your container in cubic feet and multiply it by 1.2. This will give you the number of desiccant units you need for this container.
A desiccant unit is approximately one ounce, but can be more specifically defined as the amount required to absorb three grams of water at 20% relative humidity and six grams of water at 40% relative humidity, both at 25°C (77 °F). For simplicity, it is much easier to stick to the formula: 1 unit of desiccant = 1 ounce.
Now that we know what to do with desiccant, let’s take a look at storage options!
Silica gel desiccant packets
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