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Title:
ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING SPOOL INCLUDING MOISTURE ABSORBING MATERIAL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/005459
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A spool assembly includes a barrel for receiving thermoplastic filament, a first flange disposed at a first end of the barrel and a second flange disposed at a second end of the barrel. The spool assembly includes a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material. Methods for making a spool assembly for receiving thermoplastic filament for use in an additive manufacturing process and methods for using an additive manufacturing spool assembly having moisture absorbing properties are also described.

Inventors:
WILLIAMS JOHN A II (US)
LY KIM LOAN THI (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2017/039453
Publication Date:
January 04, 2018
Filing Date:
June 27, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SABIC GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES BV (NL)
WILLIAMS JOHN A II (US)
International Classes:
B65H75/14; B29C64/118; B33Y70/00; C08J3/20; C08K3/34; C08K3/36
Domestic Patent References:
WO2001062652A12001-08-30
WO2015019212A12015-02-12
Foreign References:
JPH0541937A1993-02-23
US2605979A1952-08-05
US5139209A1992-08-18
EP0994063A12000-04-19
US20010030383A12001-10-18
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
QUICKER, Katrina, M. et al. (1170 Peachtree Street NESuite 240, Atlanta GA, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

That which is claimed is:

1. A spool assembly comprising a barrel for receiving thermoplastic filament, a first flange disposed at a first end of the barrel and a second flange disposed at a second end of the barrel, wherein the spool assembly comprises a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material.

2. The spool assembly according to claim 1 , wherein one or more of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange comprise the thermoplastic resin and the moisture absorbing material.

3. The spool assembly according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the thermoplastic resin comprises polypropylene (PP), poly(p-phenylene oxide) (PPO), polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyamide (PA) or a combination thereof.

4. The spool assembly according to any of claims 1 to 3, wherein the thermoplastic resin comprises PP, PA, PC or a combination thereof.

5. The spool assembly according to any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the moisture absorbing material comprises activated alumina, silica gel, a zeolite, adsorbent clay, kaolin, activated bauxite or a combination thereof.

6. The spool assembly according to any of claims 1 to 5, wherein the moisture absorbing material comprises a zeolite.

7. The spool assembly according to claim 6, wherein the zeolite is in a form of a molecular sieve.

8. The spool assembly according to any of claims 1 to 7, wherein the spool assembly comprises from about 40 wt % to about 70 wt % thermoplastic resin and from about 30 wt % to about 60 wt % moisture absorbing material.

9. The spool assembly according to any of claims 1 to 8, wherein the moisture absorbing material in the spool assembly absorbs moisture from the thermoplastic filament.

10. A method for making a spool assembly for receiving thermoplastic filament for use in an additive manufacturing process, the method comprising:

combining a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material to form a mixture; and

forming the spool assembly, the spool assembly comprising a barrel for receiving thermoplastic filament wound thereon, a first flange disposed at a first end of the barrel and a second flange disposed at a second end of the barrel,

wherein at least one of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange comprise the mixture.

11. The method according to claim 10, wherein each of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange comprise the mixture.

12. The method according to claim 10 or 1 1, wherein the barrel, the first flange and the second flange are integrally formed.

13. The method according to any of claims 10 to 12, wherein the thermoplastic resin comprises polypropylene (PP), poly(p-phenylene oxide) (PPO), polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyamide (PA) or a combination thereof.

14. The method according to any of claims 10 to 13, wherein the moisture absorbing material comprises activated alumina, silica gel, a zeolite, adsorbent clay, kaolin, activated bauxite or a combination thereof.

15. The method according to any of claims 10 to 14, wherein the moisture absorbing material comprises a zeolite.

16. A method for using an additive manufacturing spool assembly having moisture absorbing properties, the method comprising: acquiring a spool assembly comprising a barrel, a first flange disposed at a first end of the barrel, and a second flange disposed at a second end of the barrel, wherein at least one of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange comprise a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material; and

using the spool assembly in an additive manufacturing process, wherein the moisture absorbing material absorbs moisture from thermoplastic filament wound onto the barrel or from air proximate the thermoplastic filament.

17. The method according to claim 16, wherein the method minimizes additive manufacturing printing defects caused by moisture in the thermoplastic filament.

18. The method according to claims 16 or 17, wherein each of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange comprise the thermoplastic resin and the moisture absorbing material.

19. The method according to any of claims 16 to 18, wherein the barrel, the first flange and the second flange are integrally formed.

20. The method according to any of claims 16 to 19, wherein moisture in the

thermoplastic filament is minimized without the use of a secondary drying procedure.

Description:
ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING SPOOL INCLUDING MOISTURE ABSORBING

MATERIAL

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0001] The present disclosure relates to additive manufacturing spools, and more particularly to additive manufacturing spools that include a moisture absorbing material that minimizes moisture in thermoplastic filament wound thereon.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0002] Thermoplastics are known to absorb moisture. Moisture in thermoplastic additive manufacturing filaments can result in voids, stringing or aesthetically unpleasing printed parts. The filament absorbs moisture when stored or while in use. Thermoplastic filament used in additive manufacturing processes is typically wound on a spool. One method to remove moisture absorbed by the thermoplastic filament to is put the entire spool into a desiccant dryer prior to using it. One issue with this method is that layers of filament wound on the spool that are not exposed to the air are not sufficiently dried. Another option is to minimize the absorption of moisture by the thermoplastic filament in the first place by storing the spool/filament with a desiccant, such as a silica gel pack. Such methods have limited efficacy, however, and result in increased product cost.

[0003] These and other shortcomings are addressed by the present disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0004] In the drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, like numerals may describe similar components in different views. Like numerals having different letter suffixes may represent different instances of similar components. The drawings illustrate generally, by way of example, but not by way of limitation, various aspects discussed in the present document.

[0005] FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a pair of additive manufacturing spools according to an aspect of the disclosure.

[0006] FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating methods for making a spool assembly for receiving thermoplastic filament for use in an additive manufacturing process.

[0007] FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating methods for using an additive manufacturing spool assembly having moisture absorbing properties. SUMMARY

[0008] Aspects of the disclosure relate to a spool assembly including a barrel for receiving thermoplastic filament, a first flange disposed at a first end of the barrel and a second flange disposed at a second end of the barrel. The spool assembly includes a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material.

[0009] Aspects of the disclosure further relate to a method for making a spool assembly for receiving thermoplastic filament for use in an additive manufacturing process, the method including: combining a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material to form a mixture; and forming the spool assembly. The spool assembly includes a barrel for receiving thermoplastic filament wound thereon, a first flange disposed at a first end of the barrel and a second flange disposed at a second end of the barrel. At least one of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange include the mixture.

[0010] Further aspects of the disclosure relate to a method for using an additive manufacturing spool assembly having moisture absorbing properties, the method including: acquiring a spool assembly comprising a barrel, a first flange disposed at a first end of the barrel, and a second flange disposed at a second end of the barrel; and using the spool assembly in an additive manufacturing process. At least one of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange includes a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material, and the moisture absorbing material absorbs moisture from thermoplastic filament wound onto the barrel or from air proximate the thermoplastic filament

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0011] The present disclosure can be understood more readily by reference to the following detailed description of the disclosure and the Examples included therein. In various aspects, the present disclosure pertains to a spool assembly including a barrel for receiving thermoplastic filament, a first flange disposed at a first end of the barrel and a second flange disposed at a second end of the barrel. The spool assembly includes a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material.

[0012] Before the present compounds, compositions, articles, systems, devices, and/or methods are disclosed and described, it is to be understood that they are not limited to specific synthetic methods unless otherwise specified, or to particular reagents unless otherwise specified, as such can, of course, vary. It is also to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular aspects only and is not intended to be limiting.

[0013] Various combinations of elements of this disclosure are encompassed by this disclosure, e.g., combinations of elements from dependent claims that depend upon the same independent claim.

[0014] Moreover, it is to be understood that unless otherwise expressly stated, it is in no way intended that any method set forth herein be construed as requiring that its steps be performed in a specific order. Accordingly, where a method claim does not actually recite an order to be followed by its steps or it is not otherwise specifically stated in the claims or descriptions that the steps are to be limited to a specific order, it is no way intended that an order be inferred, in any respect. This holds for any possible non-express basis for interpretation, including: matters of logic with respect to arrangement of steps or operational flow; plain meaning derived from grammatical organization or punctuation; and the number or type of aspects described in the specification.

[0015] All publications mentioned herein are incorporated herein by reference to disclose and describe the methods and/or materials in connection with which the publications are cited.

Definitions

[0016] It is also to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular aspects only and is not intended to be limiting. As used in the specification and in the claims, the term "comprising" can include the embodiments "consisting of and "consisting essentially of." Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this disclosure belongs. In this specification and in the claims which follow, reference will be made to a number of terms which shall be defined herein.

[0017] As used in the specification and the appended claims, the singular forms "a,"

"an" and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to "a moisture absorbing material" includes mixtures of two or more moisture absorbing materials.

[0018] As used herein, the term "combination" is inclusive of blends, mixtures, alloys, reaction products, and the like.

[0019] Ranges can be expressed herein as from one value (first value) to another value (second value). When such a range is expressed, the range includes in some aspects one or both of the first value and the second value. Similarly, when values are expressed as approximations, by use of the antecedent 'about,' it will be understood that the particular value forms another aspect. It will be further understood that the endpoints of each of the ranges are significant both in relation to the other endpoint, and independently of the other endpoint. It is also understood that there are a number of values disclosed herein, and that each value is also herein disclosed as "about" that particular value in addition to the value itself. For example, if the value "10" is disclosed, then "about 10" is also disclosed. It is also understood that each unit between two particular units are also disclosed. For example, if 10 and 15 are disclosed, then 1 1, 12, 13, and 14 are also disclosed.

[0020] As used herein, the terms "about" and "at or about" mean that the amount or value in question can be the designated value, approximately the designated value, or about the same as the designated value. It is generally understood, as used herein, that it is the nominal value indicated ±10% variation unless otherwise indicated or inferred. The term is intended to convey that similar values promote equivalent results or effects recited in the claims. That is, it is understood that amounts, sizes, formulations, parameters, and other quantities and characteristics are not and need not be exact, but can be approximate and/or larger or smaller, as desired, reflecting tolerances, conversion factors, rounding off, measurement error and the like, and other factors known to those of skill in the art. In general, an amount, size, formulation, parameter or other quantity or characteristic is "about" or "approximate" whether or not expressly stated to be such. It is understood that where "about" is used before a quantitative value, the parameter also includes the specific quantitative value itself, unless specifically stated otherwise.

[0021] As used herein, the terms "optional" or "optionally" means that the subsequently described event or circumstance can or cannot occur, and that the description includes instances where said event or circumstance occurs and instances where it does not. For example, the phrase "optional additive materials" means that the additive materials can or cannot be included and that the description includes spool assemblies that both include and that do not include additive materials.

[0022] Disclosed are the components to be used to prepare the compositions of the disclosure as well as the compositions themselves to be used within the methods disclosed herein. These and other materials are disclosed herein, and it is understood that when combinations, subsets, interactions, groups, etc. of these materials are disclosed that while specific reference of each various individual and collective combinations and permutation of these compounds cannot be explicitly disclosed, each is specifically contemplated and described herein. For example, if a particular compound is disclosed and discussed and a number of modifications that can be made to a number of molecules including the compounds are discussed, specifically contemplated is each and every combination and permutation of the compound and the modifications that are possible unless specifically indicated to the contrary. Thus, if a class of molecules A, B, and C are disclosed as well as a class of molecules D, E, and F and an example of a combination molecule, A-D is disclosed, then even if each is not individually recited each is individually and collectively

contemplated meaning combinations, A-E, A-F, B-D, B-E, B-F, C-D, C-E, and C-F are considered disclosed. Likewise, any subset or combination of these is also disclosed. Thus, for example, the sub-group of A-E, B-F, and C-E would be considered disclosed. This concept applies to all aspects of this application including, but not limited to, steps in methods of making and using the compositions of the disclosure. Thus, if there are a variety of additional steps that can be performed it is understood that each of these additional steps can be performed with any specific aspect or combination of aspects of the methods of the disclosure.

[0023] References in the specification and concluding claims to parts by weight of a particular element or component in a composition or article, denotes the weight relationship between the element or component and any other elements or components in the composition or article for which a part by weight is expressed. Thus, in a compound containing 2 parts by weight of component X and 5 parts by weight component Y, X and Y are present at a weight ratio of 2:5, and are present in such ratio regardless of whether additional components are contained in the compound.

[0024] A weight percent of a component, unless specifically stated to the contrary, is based on the total weight of the formulation or composition in which the component is included.

[0025] As used herein the terms "weight percent," "wt%," and "wt. %," which can be used interchangeably, indicate the percent by weight of a given component based on the total weight of the composition, unless otherwise specified. That is, unless otherwise specified, all wt% values are based on the total weight of the composition. It should be understood that the sum of wt% values for all components in a disclosed composition or formulation are equal to 100.

[0026] Unless otherwise stated to the contrary herein, all test standards are the most recent standard in effect at the time of filing this application. [0027] Each of the materials disclosed herein are either commercially available and/or the methods for the production thereof are known to those of skill in the art.

[0028] It is understood that the compositions disclosed herein have certain functions.

Disclosed herein are certain structural requirements for performing the disclosed functions and it is understood that there are a variety of structures that can perform the same function that are related to the disclosed structures, and that these structures will typically achieve the same result.

Thermoplastic Filament Spool Assemblies

[0029] With reference to FIG. 1, aspects of the disclosure relate to a spool assembly

100 including a barrel 110 for receiving thermoplastic filament, a first flange 120 disposed at a first end 130 of the barrel 110 and a second flange 140 disposed at a second end 150 of the barrel. The spool assembly 100 includes a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material. The barrel may be cylindrical (as shown in FIG. 1) or any other shape that allows the thermoplastic filament to be wound thereon.

[0030] In some aspects one or more of the barrel 110, the first flange 120 and the second flange 140 include the thermoplastic resin and the moisture absorbing material. In certain aspects, each of the barrel 110, the first flange 120 and the second flange 140 include the thermoplastic resin and the moisture absorbing material. In such aspects, the barrel 110, the first flange 120 and the second flange 140 may be integrally formed as shown in FIG. 1, but they need not be integrally formed. For example, each of the components may be separately formed and then assembled to form the spool assembly 100.

[0031] In particular aspects thermoplastic resin includes polypropylene (PP), poly(p- phenylene oxide) (PPO), polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyamide (PA) or a combination thereof.

[0032] As used herein, polypropylene can be used interchangeably with

poly(propene).

[0033] As used herein, poly(p-phenylene oxide) can be used interchangeably with poly(p-phenylene ether) or poly (2,6 dimethyl-p-phenylene oxide). Poly(p-phenylene oxide) may be included by itself or may be blended with other polymers, including but not limited to polystyrene, high impact styrene-butadiene copolymer and/or polyamide.

[0034] As used herein, polystyrene can be used interchangeably with poly (2,6 dimethyl-p-phenylene oxide).

[0035] As used herein, polycarbonate refers to an oligomer or polymer comprising residues of one or more dihydroxy compounds, e.g., dihydroxy aromatic compounds, joined by carbonate linkages; it also encompasses homopoly carbonates, copoly carbonates, and (co)poly ester carbonates.

[0036] As used herein, polybut lene terephthalate can be used interchangeably with poly(l,4-but lene terephthalate). Polybutylene terephthalate is one type of polyester.

Polyesters, which include poly(alkylene dicarboxylates), liquid crystalline polyesters, and polyester copolymers, can be useful in the disclosed thermoplastic compositions of the present disclosure.

[0037] As used herein, polyethylene terephthalate can be used interchangeably with poly(ethyl benzene- 1,4-dicarboxy late). As with polybutylene terephthalate, polyethylene terephthalate is a type of polyester.

[0038] As used herein, a polyamide is a polymer having repeating units linked by amide bonds, and can include aliphatic polyamides (e.g., the various forms of nylon such as nylon 6 (PA6), nylon 66 (PA66) and nylon 9 (PA9)), polyphthalamides (e.g., PPA/high performance polyamide) and aramids (e.g., para-aramid and meta-aramid).

[0039] The thermoplastic resin is not limited to those described herein. Thus, in some aspects the thermoplastic resin may include polymers in addition to or in the alternative to those described above, including but not limited to polyethyleneimine (PEI), poly ether ether ketone (PEEK), and combinations thereof.

[0040] In particular aspects the spool assembly according to any of the previous claims, wherein the thermoplastic resin includes polypropylene, polyamide, polycarbonate or a combination thereof.

[0041] The moisture absorbing material in some aspects includes activated alumina, silica gel, a zeolite, adsorbent clay, kaolin, activated bauxite or a combination thereof.

[0042] In a particular aspect the moisture absorbing material includes at least one zeolite. The zeolite may be natural or synthetic. Zeolites are alkali metal alumino-silicates. As used herein, the term zeolite includes natural silicate zeolites, synthetic materials and phosphate minerals that have a zeolite-like structure. Examples of zeolites that can be used include, but are not limited to, amicite (hydrated potassium sodium aluminum silicate), analcime (hydrated sodium aluminum silicate), pollucite (hydrated cesium sodium aluminum silicate), boggsite (hydrated calcium sodium aluminum silicate), chabazite (hydrated calcium aluminum silicate), edingtonite (hydrated barium calcium aluminum silicate), faujasite (hydrated sodium calcium magnesium aluminum silicate), ferrierite (hydrated sodium potassium magnesium calcium aluminum silicate), gobbinsite (hydrated sodium potassium calcium aluminum silicate), harmotome (hydrated barium potassium aluminum silicate), phillipsite (hydrated potassium sodium calcium aluminum silicate), clinoptilolite (hydrated sodium potassium calcium aluminum silicate), mordenite (hydrated sodium potassium calcium aluminum silicate), mesolite (hydrated sodium calcium aluminum silicate), natrolite (hydrated sodium aluminum silicate), amicite (hydrated potassium sodium aluminum silicate), garronite (hydrated calcium aluminum silicate), perlialite (hydrated potassium sodium calcium strontium aluminum silicate), barrerite (hydrated sodium potassium calcium aluminum silicate), stilbite (hydrated sodium calcium aluminum silicate), thomsonite (hydrated sodium calcium aluminum silicate), heulandite (hydrated calcium aluminum silicate), stillbite (hydrated calcium aluminum silicate), and the like.

[0043] Zeolites have many related phosphate and silicate minerals with cage-like framework structures or with similar properties as zeolites, which may also be used in place of, or along with, zeolites. These zeolite-like minerals include minerals such as kehoeite, pahasapaite, tiptopite, hsianghualite, lovdarite, viseite, partheite, prehnite, roggianite, apophyllite, gyrolite, maricopaite, okenite, tacharanite, tobermorite, and the like.

[0044] Specific examples of suitable zeolites include, but are not limited to, K 12

[(A10 2 )i 2 (Si0 2 )i 2 ] · nH 2 0, Nai 2 [(A10 2 )i 2 (Si0 2 )i 2 ] · nH20, Ca4,5[(A10 2 )i 2 (Si0 2 )i 2 ] · nH20, Na 8 6[(A10 2 ) 8 6(Si0 2 )io6] · nH20, 0.6 K 2 0: 0.40 Na 2 0 : 1 A1 2 0 3 : 2.0 ± 0.1SiO 2 : x H 2 0, 1 Na 2 0: 1 A1 2 0 3 : 2.0 ± 0.1 Si0 2 : x H 2 0, 0.80 CaO : 0.20 Na 2 0 : 1 A1 2 0 3 : 2.0 ± 0.1 Si0 2 : x H 2 0, and 1 Na 2 0: 1 A1 2 0 3 : 2.8 ± 0.2 Si0 2 : x H 2 0.

[0045] In some aspects the zeolite is in the form of a molecular sieve. The structure of molecular sieve absorbents allows the water in the structure to be removed, leaving a porous crystalline structure. The pores have a high affinity to re-adsorb water or other polar molecules. Aided by strong ionic forces due to the presence of cations such as calcium sodium and potassium and by their high internal surface area (on the order of about 1000 square meters per gram (m 2 /g)), molecular sieves can adsorb a considerable amount of moisture.

[0046] In certain aspects the spool assembly includes from about 40 wt % to about 70 wt % thermoplastic resin and from about 30 wt % to about 60 wt % moisture absorbing material.

[0047] In addition to the foregoing components, the disclosed spool assemblies can optionally include a balance amount of one or more additive materials ordinarily incorporated in thermoplastic compositions of this type, with the proviso that the additives are selected so as to not significantly adversely affect the desired properties of the composition.

Combinations of additives can be used. Such additives can be mixed at a suitable time during the mixing of the components for forming the composition. Exemplary and non-limiting examples of additive materials that can be present in the disclosed thermoplastic

compositions include one or more of a reinforcing filler, enhancer, acid scavenger, anti-drip agent, antioxidant, antistatic agent, chain extender, colorant (e.g., pigment and/or dye), de- molding agent, flow promoter, flow modifier, lubricant, mold release agent, plasticizer, quenching agent, flame retardant (including for example a thermal stabilizer, a hydrolytic stabilizer, or a light stabilizer), impact modifier, UV absorbing additive, UV reflecting additive and UV stabilizer.

[0048] The spool assembly thus described herein includes a moisture absorbing material. The moisture absorbing material may in some aspects absorb moisture that is absorbed by the thermoplastic filament. In particular aspects, the moisture absorbing material in the spool assembly prevents or minimizes absorption of moisture by the thermoplastic filament in the first place.

Methods for Making a Spool Assembly

[0049] With reference to FIG. 2, aspects of the disclosure further relate to, at 200 methods for making a spool assembly 100 for receiving thermoplastic filament for use in an additive manufacturing process. The method includes: combining a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material to form a mixture (at 210); and forming the spool assembly 100 (at 220). The spool assembly 100 includes a barrel 110 for receiving thermoplastic filament wound thereon, a first flange 120 disposed at a first end 130 of the barrel 110 and a second flange 140 disposed at a second end 150 of the barrel 110. At least one of the barrel 110, the first flange 120 and the second flange 140 include the mixture.

[0050] In particular aspects each of the barrel 110, the first flange 120 and the second flange 140 include the mixture. As discussed above, the barrel 110, the first flange 120 and the second flange 140 may be integrally formed or formed separately and assembled to form the spool assembly 100.

[0051] The mixture of thermoplastic resin and moisture absorbing material can be blended by a variety of methods involving intimate admixing of the materials with any additional additives desired in the mixture. In a particular aspect the components of the spool assembly 100 may be formed by a melt mixing process. Illustrative examples of equipment used in such melt processing methods include: co-rotating and counter-rotating extruders, single screw extruders, co-kneaders, disc-pack processors and various other types of extrusion equipment. The temperature of the melt in the present process may be minimized in order to avoid excessive degradation of the resins. It is often desirable to maintain the melt temperature between about 230 degrees Celsius (°C) and about 350 °C in the molten resin composition, although higher temperatures can be used provided that the residence time of the resin in the processing equipment is kept short. In some aspects the melt processed composition exits processing equipment such as an extruder through small exit holes in a die. The resulting strands of molten resin are cooled by passing the strands through a water bath. The cooled strands can be chopped into small pellets for packaging and further handling.

[0052] The components of the spool assembly and/or the spool assembly itself can be manufactured by various methods. For example, the thermoplastic resin, moisture absorbing material, and/or other optional components may be first blended in a HENSCHEL-Mixer® high speed mixer. Other low shear processes, including but not limited to hand mixing, can also accomplish this blending. The blend is then fed into the throat of a twin-screw extruder via a hopper. Alternatively, at least one of the components can be incorporated into the composition by feeding directly into the extruder at the throat and/or downstream through a sidestuffer. Additives can also be compounded into a masterbatch with a desired polymeric resin and fed into the extruder. The extruder is generally operated at a temperature higher than that necessary to cause the composition to flow. The extrudate is immediately quenched in a water batch and pelletized. The pellets, so prepared, when cutting the extrudate can be one-fourth inch long or less as desired. Such pellets can be used for subsequent molding, shaping, or forming. In yet further aspects, the components of the spool assembly and/or the spool assembly itself can be manufactured by an additive manufacturing process.

[0053] Other aspects of spool assemblies formed according to the methods described herein, including the quantities and types of materials in the components of the spool assembly and/or the spool assembly itself, features of the spool assembly, and properties of the spool assembly are discussed above and not reproduced here.

Methods for Using an Additive Manufacturing Spool Assembly

[0054] With reference to FIG. 3, aspects of the disclosure also relate to, at 300, methods for using an additive manufacturing spool assembly having moisture absorbing properties. The method includes, at 310, acquiring a spool assembly 100 including a barrel 110, a first flange 120 disposed at a first end 130 of the barrel 110, and a second flange 140 disposed at a second end 150 of the barrel 110. At least one of the barrel 110, the first flange 120 and the second flange 140 include a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material. The method further includes, at 320, using the spool assembly 100 in an additive manufacturing process. The moisture absorbing material in the spool assembly 100 absorbs moisture from thermoplastic filament wound onto the barrel or from air proximate the thermoplastic filament

[0055] In some aspects the spool assembly 100 may be acquired with the

thermoplastic filament already wound thereon. In other aspects the spool assembly 100, as acquired, may be free of thermoplastic filament and the user (i.e., the additive manufacturing facility) winds thermoplastic filament onto the spool assembly 100.

[0056] The method so described minimizes additive manufacturing printing defects caused by moisture in the thermoplastic filament.

[0057] In certain aspects of the method each of the barrel 1 10, the first flange 120 and the second flange 140 includes the thermoplastic resin and the moisture absorbing material. As described herein the barrel 1 10, the first flange 120 and the second flange 140 may be integrally formed or formed separately and assembled to form the spool assembly 100.

[0058] In some aspects of the method moisture in the thermoplastic filament is minimized without the use of a secondary drying procedure, such as a desiccant dryer or without the use of separate desiccants such as silica gel packs.

[0059] Other aspects of the method described herein, including the quantities and types of materials in the components of the spool assembly and/or the spool assembly itself, features of the spool assembly, properties of the spool assembly and methods of making the spool assembly are discussed above and not reproduced here.

[0060] Various combinations of elements of this disclosure are encompassed by this disclosure, e.g., combinations of elements from dependent claims that depend upon the same independent claim.

Aspects of the Disclosure

[0061] In various aspects, the present disclosure pertains to and includes at least the following aspects.

[0062] Aspect 1 : A spool assembly comprising a barrel for receiving thermoplastic filament, a first flange disposed at a first end of the barrel and a second flange disposed at a second end of the barrel, wherein the spool assembly comprises a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material.

[0063] Aspect 2: The spool assembly according to Aspect 1, wherein one or more of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange comprise the thermoplastic resin and the moisture absorbing material.

[0064] Aspect 3: The spool assembly according to Aspect 1 or 2, wherein the thermoplastic resin comprises polypropylene (PP), poly(p-phenylene oxide) (PPO), polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyamide (PA) or a combination thereof.

[0065] Aspect 4: The spool assembly according to any of the previous Aspects, wherein the thermoplastic resin comprises PP, PA, PC or a combination thereof.

[0066] Aspect 5: The spool assembly according to any of the previous Aspects, wherein the moisture absorbing material comprises activated alumina, silica gel, a zeolite, adsorbent clay, kaolin, activated bauxite or a combination thereof.

[0067] Aspect 6: The spool assembly according to any of the previous Aspects, wherein the moisture absorbing material comprises a zeolite.

[0068] Aspect 7: The spool assembly according to Aspect 6, wherein the zeolite is in the form of a molecular sieve.

[0069] Aspect 8: The spool assembly according to any of the previous Aspects, wherein the spool assembly comprises from about 40 wt % to about 70 wt % thermoplastic resin and from about 30 wt % to about 60 wt % moisture absorbing material.

[0070] Aspect 9: The spool assembly according to any of the previous Aspects, wherein the moisture absorbing material in the spool assembly absorbs moisture from the thermoplastic filament.

[0071] Aspect 10: A method for making a spool assembly for receiving thermoplastic filament for use in an additive manufacturing process, the method comprising:

combining a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material to form a mixture; and

forming the spool assembly, the spool assembly comprising a barrel for receiving thermoplastic filament wound thereon, a first flange disposed at a first end of the barrel and a second flange disposed at a second end of the barrel,

wherein at least one of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange comprise the mixture.

[0072] Aspect 11 : The method according to Aspect 10, wherein each of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange comprise the mixture.

[0073] Aspect 12: The method according to Aspect 10 or 11, wherein the barrel, the first flange and the second flange are integrally formed.

[0074] Aspect 13: The method according to any of Aspects 10 to 12, wherein the thermoplastic resin comprises polypropylene (PP), poly(p-phenylene oxide) (PPO), polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyamide (PA) or a combination thereof. [0075] Aspect 14: The method according to any of Aspects 10 to 13, wherein the thermoplastic resin comprises PP, PA, PC or a combination thereof.

[0076] Aspect 15: The method according to any of Aspects 10 to 14, wherein the moisture absorbing material comprises activated alumina, silica gel, a zeolite, adsorbent clay, kaolin, activated bauxite or a combination thereof.

[0077] Aspect 16: The method according to any of Aspects 10 to 15, wherein the moisture absorbing material comprises a zeolite.

[0078] Aspect 17: The method according to Aspect 16, wherein the zeolite is in the form of a molecular sieve.

[0079] Aspect 18: The method according to any of Aspects 10 to 17, wherein the spool assembly comprises from about 40 wt % to about 70 wt % thermoplastic resin and from about 30 wt % to about 60 wt % moisture absorbing material.

[0080] Aspect 19: The method according to any of Aspects 10 to 18, wherein the moisture absorbing material in the spool assembly absorbs moisture from the thermoplastic filament.

[0081] Aspect 20: A method for using an additive manufacturing spool assembly having moisture absorbing properties, the method comprising:

acquiring a spool assembly comprising a barrel, a first flange disposed at a first end of the barrel, and a second flange disposed at a second end of the barrel, wherein at least one of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange comprise a thermoplastic resin and a moisture absorbing material; and

using the spool assembly in an additive manufacturing process, wherein the moisture absorbing material absorbs moisture from thermoplastic filament wound onto the barrel or from air proximate the thermoplastic filament

[0082] Aspect 21 : The method according to Aspect 20, wherein the method minimizes additive manufacturing printing defects caused by moisture in the thermoplastic filament.

[0083] Aspect 22: The method according to Aspects 20 or 21, wherein each of the barrel, the first flange and the second flange comprise the thermoplastic resin and the moisture absorbing material.

[0084] Aspect 23: The method according to any of Aspects 20 to 22, wherein the barrel, the first flange and the second flange are integrally formed. [0085] Aspect 24: The method according to any of Aspects 20 to 23, wherein moisture in the thermoplastic filament is minimized without the use of a secondary drying procedure.

[0086] Aspect 25: The method according to any of Aspects 20 to 24, wherein the thermoplastic resin comprises polypropylene (PP), poly(p-phenylene oxide) (PPO), polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyamide (PA) or a combination thereof.

[0087] Aspect 26: The method according to any of Aspects 20 to 25, wherein the thermoplastic resin comprises PP, PA, PC or a combination thereof.

[0088] Aspect 27: The method according to any of Aspects 20 to 26, wherein the moisture absorbing material comprises activated alumina, silica gel, a zeolite, adsorbent clay, kaolin, activated bauxite or a combination thereof.

[0089] Aspect 28: The method according to any of Aspects 20 to 27, wherein the moisture absorbing material comprises a zeolite.

[0090] Aspect 29: The method according to Aspect 28, wherein the zeolite is in the form of a molecular sieve.

[0091] Aspect 30: The method according to any of Aspects 20 to 29, wherein the spool assembly comprises from about 40 wt % to about 70 wt % thermoplastic resin and from about 30 wt % to about 60 wt % moisture absorbing material.

[0092] Methods described herein can be machine or computer-implemented at least in part. Some examples can include a computer-readable medium or machine-readable medium encoded with instructions operable to configure an electronic device to perform methods as described in the above examples. An implementation of such methods can include code, such as microcode, assembly language code, a higher-level language code, or the like. Such code can include computer readable instructions for performing various methods. The code may form portions of computer program products. Further, in an example, the code can be tangibly stored on one or more volatile, non-transitory, or non-volatile tangible computer- readable media, such as during execution or at other times. Examples of these tangible computer-readable media can include, but are not limited to, hard disks, removable magnetic disks, removable optical disks (e.g., compact disks and digital video disks), magnetic cassettes, memory cards or sticks, random access memories (RAMs), read only memories (ROMs), and the like.

[0093] The above description is intended to be illustrative, and not restrictive. For example, the above-described examples (or one or more aspects thereof) may be used in combination with each other. Other aspects can be used, such as by one of ordinary skill in the art upon reviewing the above description. The Abstract is provided to comply with 37 C.F.R. §1.72(b), to allow the reader to quickly ascertain the nature of the technical disclosure. It is submitted with the understanding that it will not be used to interpret or limit the scope or meaning of the claims. Also, in the above Detailed Description, various features may be grouped together to streamline the disclosure. This should not be interpreted as intending that an unclaimed disclosed feature is essential to any claim. Rather, inventive subject matter may lie in less than all features of a particular disclosed aspect. Thus, the following claims are hereby incorporated into the Detailed Description as examples or aspects, with each claim standing on its own as a separate aspect, and it is contemplated that such aspects can be combined with each other in various combinations or permutations. The scope of the disclosure should be determined with reference to the appended claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.