Would you like to use loose silica gel in your filament box instead of a silica gel bag*? Then the 3D printed silica gel box is just the thing. Here you get the 3D print files for the silica gel box. It offers space for approx. 500 g silica gel granules and can be attached to the lid instead of the original holder. If you want to build the filament box, you can get the necessary 3D print files in the shop.
The article contains affiliate links / advertising links, these are marked with an asterisk (*).
Why the conversion from the original bracket?
Do you already have silica gel and do not want to buy a new silica gel bag* or do you want to buy cheaper loose silica gel then print the silica gel box here. The box is provided with fine ventilation slots at the top and bottom so that the air can get to the dry granulate. To close the lid, it is placed slightly offset on the box and then moved about 1 cm, wedging itself at four points and thus closing securely.
With the help of 3D printed holders, the silica gel box is then held in the filament dry box. The Silica Gel Box can then simply be pulled out of the holder by lifting it up. The the silica gel could be dried or the box refilled with new one. If the 3D printed silica gel box is installed, the dry box looks shown in the following photos.
Instructions: Build a DIY silica gel box
The instructions are divided into individual steps. The safety instructions, required 3D printed parts, purchased parts and needed tools are summarized right at the beginning.
Safety first! Read and follow the assembly instructions and the operation manual!
Read the entire instructions and operation manual carefully and adhere to the instructions and safety guidelines. If anything is unclear, simply contact support (email@example.com). In the 3D print files for this project, the instructions and operation manual are also attached as PDF, keep it because you may need it later. A one-page quick guide is also included in the files with a link to this page – you will always find the latest version of the instructions and the operation manual here. If you are giving the project to someone else, then print out the instructions, operation manual and, above all, the safety instructions and pass them on with the project.
Before you start the project, also check whether the project meets the safety regulations of your respective country.
Warnings and symbols
Safety instructions for this 3D printing project
Never eat silica gel granules / desiccants – toxic!
Never leave the filled silica gel box open and keep it out of the reach of children and animals!
Do not leave the 3D printer unattended while printing! If the printing is interrupted or the 3D printer makes unusual noises, switch off the 3D printer immediately, check the filament box and the filament feed!
Also read through, follow and keep the operation manuals and safety instructions for the purchased parts!
Attention for all purchased parts: Before assembling, check whether they meet the safety regulations in your country and whether the dimensions, function and stability are fine. Repeat this safety check at regular intervals and before using the project. If a part is damaged or unsuitable, do not continue to use the project until the affected part has been replaced.
Attention for all self-printed parts: Due to incorrectly set printing parameters, poor material, incorrect material selection, poor layer adhesion and other reasons, these can sometimes not meet the requirements needed on them and thus break, fail or their functionality cannot be guaranteed. In the event of a break, the parts can splinter and the fracture surface leave sharp edges. Take particular care when replacing these parts, there is a risk of cuts! Check 3D printed parts for cracks, stability and functionality at regular intervals and before using the project. If a part is damaged or unsuitable, do not continue to use the project until the broken part has been replaced with a new, improved part.
When printing parts, sharp edges can occur (usually on the first layer), there is a risk of cuts! These edges have to be ground down in order to deburr them.
Do not put the 3D printed silica gel box in the oven to dry the silica gel, the components can warp and become unusable.
3D printed parts
The files of the required 3D printed parts are available by subscribing to the email list, so you don’t miss any new projects and discounts.
These are purely digital products, you get all the files you need to print it yourself. All STL-files for the required components are summarized in a ZIP-file.
The largest 3D printed part of this project (Box) requires a base area (X, Y) of 175 x 80 mm and is 45 mm high (Z). Any 3D printer with a build volume (X, Y, Z) of at least 180 x 180 x 50 mm is suitable for this project.
3D print settings
For all parts:
- Layer height 0.2 mm and 20% infill (rectangular)
For the used orange PETG* as well as the transparent PETG* following settings have proven themselves:
- Nozzle temperature: 250°C (First layer: 240°C)
- Bed temperature: 90°C (First layer: 85°C)
- Perimeter speed: 45 mm/s (First layer: 10 mm/s)
- External and short perimeter speed: 25 mm/s (First layer: 10 mm/s)
- Infill speed: 80 mm/s (First layer: 10 mm/s)
- Top solid infill speed: 40 mm/s
Used 3D printing filament and 3D printer
For this instruction Prusament PETG Prusa Orange* and Prusament PETG Prusa Clear* Filament was printed on a Prusa i3 MK3s* 3D printer with a standard 0.4 mm nozzle.
Approximately 118 g PETG Prusa Orange and Clear filament* is needed for all required 3D printed parts of one silica gel box. At a price per kilo of EUR 29.90, this is around EUR 3.50 in material costs for one silica gel box. The total 3D printing time for all required components is approx. 12 hours. To calculate the total 3D printing time, all printing times are added up, whereby the total number of pieces of a component is always printed at once.
Because of the higher stability and the low warpage, I recommend a PETG* filament. The parts could be also be printed with ABS, ASA* or with PLA*. However, no test prints were made with these materials. With PLA, the parts could not be stable enough due to the more brittle nature of the material.
Bill of materials: Needed purchased parts for the silica gel box
500 g Silica gel granules* (approx. 14 EUR / kg)
4 pcs Cylinderhead screw M3x14 DIN912* (approx. 7 EUR / 50 pcs)
4 pcs Nuts M3 DIN934* (approx. 7 EUR / 50 pcs)
The total costs of the purchased parts come to approx. 8 EUR. For the calculation only the costs for the required parts for one silica gel box were added together.
Screws and nuts: They are usually much cheaper in hardware stores and can be bought there in the required number of pieces.
There are many suppliers of silica gel, the more you buy, the cheaper the price per kilo becomes (e.g. with the linked supplier for 4 kg at 9.50 EUR / kg).
Wood drill bit 2 mm* und Wood drill bit 4 mm* (wood drill bits cut best through the plastic of the box)
Allen key set* (M3 key 2,5 mm)
Wrench set small* (M3 wrench size 5.5 mm)
Step 1: Printing the box and preparing the brackets
Printing the 3D printed components
- 2 pcs 001900_Carrier
Layer height 0.2 mm and 20% infill (rectangular)
- 1 pcs 002000_Box
- 1 pcs 002100_Lid
Layer height 0.2 mm and 20% infill (rectangular)
Assembling the silica gel box for the filament box
The whole thing is very simple. Fill the silica gel box with dry granulate up to the locking mechanism.
Do not fill in too much desiccant, the four locking mechanisms at the top must remain free, otherwise the box will not close properly.
The granulate must not be too fine, otherwise it will trickle out of the box. The slots in the base and in the lid are 1.25 mm wide. Standard dry granulate has a diameter of approx. 3 mm.
To close the lid, position it slightly offset and slide it. For the 3D printed carriers, small bars are printed on the bottom of the box so that the silica gel box can not slip.
The locking mechanisms are slightly conical and should wedge a little when closing to keep the lid closed. If this is not the case, because the mechanisms are already worn out or the parts have warped during printing, simply fix the lid with some adhesive tape.
Screw the 4 cylinder screws into the pre-printed holes in the carriers. The box is now ready for installation.
Step 2: Prepare the filament box lid and screw the carriers on
The drilling distances in the filament box lid are slightly shorter than those for the holder of the silica gel bag, instead of 160 mm it is only 100 mm. Again, first mark the distances on the two central ribs of the cover. Here in the picture the first two holes are already in place.
As with the original bracket, the first two holes are approx. 15 mm away from the rubber seal. The next two holes then follow at a distance of 100 mm. Drill the holes about 5 mm from the edge of the rib.
It is best to pre-drill with the 2 mm wood drill bit and then set the final holes with the 4 mm wood drill bit. Due to the lack of space, the cordless screwdriver has to be set at an angle. Drill slowly so that the lid is not damaged when the ribs are pierced.
Attention when drilling at an angle, there is a risk of slipping! Wear protective goggles to protect against chips!
The filament box lid with the 4 mm holes.
Now insert the two prepared carriers from the inside and secure with a nut.
Secure the screws with the M3 nuts and tighten them. Perform for both sides.
Check if the carriers are screwed securely and correctly. They must not come loose when operating the filament box.
Put the lid on the filament box and insert the 3D printed silica gel box.
If the 3D printed silica gel box sits too loosely in the bracket or if it slips, check whether the carriers are too big or the distances between the mounting holes are too far apart. If necessary, scale the carriers smaller and reprint them or place the holes closer to one another.
If the 3D printed silica gel box sits too tightly in the carriers and cannot be removed, check whether the carriers are too small or the distances between the mounting holes are too close to one another. If necessary, scale the carriers larger and reprint them or move the holes further apart.
Check the stability and secure fit of the silica gel box. It must not come loose when operating the filament box.
Every time the filament box lid is put on, check visually if the silica gel box sits correctly and check again before each printing process.
Congratulations, now you can keep your boxes dry with loose silica gel granules. Enjoy printing!
Do you want to build a filament box to keep your filament dry and dust-free? Does the filament roll change on the printer annoy you and you want a simple solution for changing filaments?
Then you are well advised with the DIY filament box, here you can find the filament box assembly instructions and the 3D print files in the shop.
Operation manual silica gel box
Perform a safety check before 3D printing:
Before printing, check that the silica gel box is well closed and that it sits securely in the carriers!
Before printing, check whether the silica gel box or the carriers are touching or blocking one of the filament rolls!
Check the locking mechanism when changing the silica gel granulate:
When changing the silica gel granulate, check whether the locking mechanisms of the lid are intact and whether the desiccant box closes properly. If the locking mechanism is damaged, simply fix it with super glue or print a new lid. If the lid is very loose, fix it with adhesive tape.
Maintenance of the desiccant (silica gel):
Check the color of the silica gel (desiccant) at regular intervals (1-2 weeks) – if the saturation of the silica gel is reached very quickly (less than 4 weeks), the box may be leaking.
When saturation is reached (discoloration of the indicator dye) regenerate the silica gel bag according to its instructions.
Normally the selected amount of silica gel (for approx. 100ml water absorption) last about 3 to 6 months until it is saturated and has then to be regenerated according to its instructions.
Do not leave silica gel granules or bags open in the room for too long – always store them in the closed filament storage box or a closed plastic bag! Also keep the opening of the box to change a filament roll as short as possible, so the desiccant lasts longer without having to be regenerated.
The instructions and the associated files are ANYBOT’s inspiration to build this project yourself. Since ANYBOT has no way of checking and influencing the required quality of the printed components and purchased parts as well as the quality of the assembly and the correct functioning of the project or if any inadmissible changes and modifications to the project has been made, ANYBOT accepts no liability for functionality, stability or the damage incurred by the project.