Over the last couple years there have been a few filament dryers that have become available to help with that pesky thing called moisture that may affect your filament. The premise behind a filament dryer box is that it is relatively sealed, provides some heat for the drying process, and better yet, a port for your filament to be used while its in a dryer if you happen to be using a more sensitive material type. Sovol has a filament dryer box that may be the right fit for your needs.
Full Disclosure: Sovol provided this dryer box, free or charge, for review/testing purposes. They have not influenced this review and this article is my own opinion, as unbiased as possible.
Capacity: 2 Standard Spools
Temperature: Adjustable choices of 40C, 45C, and 50C
Timer: 6 hours up to 12 hours
Display: Real time temperature and humidity display
Price: At the time of this article it is available for $59.99
I received the filament dryer well packaged with foam in a cardboard box and unboxing was very straight forward. It came with the appropriate power supply for my country’s outlets and when I plugged it in, it powered up just fine.
I clicked through the menu options by pressing the M, and setting the temperature and timer with the arrow button, it was a very easy process. When it was turned on I could feel the heat rising from the heatbed underneath the filament spool rollers and there was a 40mm fan blowing, relatively silent, to circulate that warm air around the internal volume of the dryer box. There is a silicone seal around the perimeter of the opening, and 2 Teflon sealable ports for filament passthroughs.
The first thing I did was compare the real time display vs a spare temperature and humidity sensor I had lying around. As expected the readings were quite close to each other so I did have some confidence in the readings being accurate.
After an initial test run to confirm the real time reading I popped in my first filaments. I had a spool of black ASA and Transparent Green PETG that have been open for a few years on a shelf. I assumed they would have absorbed moisture in the time. I assumed incorrectly. Weighing the spools before and after 8 hours of drying time showed zero weight loss. I also did test prints prior to drying, and to my dismay for the purposes of this review, the filaments printed perfectly fine. It would appear that my house does not have a moisture issue and is quite dry.
What could I try next? I thought I could try some TPU but my memory failed me and I couldn’t find any on the shelf that I thought I had leftover. I don’t print with Nylon, but I do have a spool of Taulman 645 Nylon that ended up in my possession I found buried on my shelf. I took the partial spool and submerged it in water for about 8 hours. The weight of the spool increased from 556g to 570g. The 570g was the weight with a bunch of shacking and drying of the physical water off and in the filament winding.
I ran the filament dryer for multiple cycles, up to around 32 hours and over the course of the Sovol filament dryer box testing it reduced its weight to 560g. Each cycle I would weigh it and it dropped in weight. I still need to run it a little more but the dryer proved the point that it was pulling moisture out of the spool/filament over that time period. While I did not have other filament that performed poorly due to moisture, this was the next best test I could try with what I had on hand.
Is the Sovol Filament Dryer Box the right 3D printing accessory for you? I would say, that depends. My experience has shown that it greatly depends on your environmental conditions and the filaments you use. I use primarily PLA, with some PETG and more recently some more ABS. I run through most of my filaments fairly quickly and the standard materials and colours get used up so generally I would say I don’t need to use a dryer.
That being said, more hygroscopic filaments are going to benefit from being in a sealed enclosure managing moisture levels while you print. Less fussy filament use, and a manageable environment, might not mean this tool is a must have for you. However, I for one am glad to have it and I am scoping out some exotic filaments that require this level of humidity and moisture management now that I have the ability to do so. For the price of 2 high quality spools of filament, this filament dryer box could save you from failed prints, frustration, and time.