Duct Tape Dispenser





Introduction: Duct Tape Dispenser

About: I study (civil) electronics engineering at the VUB in Belgium. I have a passion for making things, both useful and cool.

Duct Tape is an indispensible tool for every maker. It is strong, it sticks like crazy and it’s easy to cut. It would be even better if it had a holder, such that it is easy and convenient to tear off a piece. That’s what we’ll build in this Instructable!

If you like the project, please vote for it in the Stick it! contest.

Step 1: Parts & Tools


Wooden board 3/4" thick (19 mm)

Piece of 2 x 4" (50 mm)

M4 threaded rod

BLUNT razor blade

Small screw



3D printer




This project can easily be made with scrap wood you have laying around. You can combine different kinds of wood like I did, or stick with one type. If you don't have access to a CNC, you could just as well use a manual router, or even handtools, instead.

Step 2: Routing the Base

We start this project by designing the whole structure in a CAD program. We will use Fusion360, since it also allows us to do the CAM to generate the toolpaths for the CNC machine. The source files are included, such that you can make changes and customize it to your preferences.

I designed the base to be made out of 3 pieces of wood: a piece of 2x4" (50 mm thick) in the middle and two 3/4" (19 mm) boards as sides. This makes for easier and faster milling operations and uses scraps of wood I had laying around. The hub which holds the roll of duct tape will be 3D printed.

The CAM setup is pretty easy. Instructables has a very nice class on this to learn the basics, so I will not cover them in detail here. The middle part is a simple 2D contour operation, while the sides have a 3D pocket operation followed by a 2D contour cut.

To mill the pieces, I fixed them to my CNC with hot glue. I found this to be plenty strong as workholding, and it avoids the possibility of machining into your clamps. Sand your pieces of wood first if they are rough. As always, take it easy on your feeds and speeds, and test them out on a scrap piece first.

Step 3: Assembling the Base

The milled pieces can now be assembled to form the base of our duct tape dispenser. Start by giving them a light sanding to take off the rough edges left by the milling process. Next, apply some wood glue and clamp the pieces together. When the glue is fully dry, we can sand the whole assembly and create nice smooth surfaces. I went from 80 grid to 220 grid sandpaper. The wood can now be finished as you like. I applied a simple coat of mineral oil, since that was what I had on hand.

To cut the duct tape, we will now add a razor blade. DO NOT use a brand new blade, it would be too dangerous! I used a very blunt one, and it does the job nicely. Drill a small (2 mm) pilot hole in the middle of the base and attach the razor blade such that it touches the small ridge. This keeps the blade from spinning when force is applied.

Step 4: Making the Hub

As mentioned before, the hub is 3D printed. Start by slicing the wheel and send it to your printer; a 0.3 mm layer height will do just fine. When the print is done, a 60 mm piece of 4 mm threaded rod can be inserted. The tape can now be slid over it and mounted in the base. It should slide in easily and lock itself into place.

Step 5: Enjoy

The Duct Tape dispenser is now ready to use and makes it easy to take a piece off duct tape with one hand. This project was inspired by a video from Make, but since they didn’t provide any source files I decided to make my own version and share all necessary files here.

I hope you liked the project! Feel free to check out my other Instructables: https://www.instructables.com/member/ThomasVDD/

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    20 Discussions

    Very nice. I think I'll add a layer of concrete at the bottom to give it some weight. If there's no weight, it will just slide when you try to strip some tape, still requiring two hand use.

    Good job.

    3 replies

    That's almost exactly what I thought: single hand use is obligatory. It needs weight!

    You can always use Duct Tape to hold it in place!

    A direct quote from the cited Wikipedia article:

    According to etymologist Jan Freeman, the story that duct tape was originally called duck tape is "quack etymology" that has spread "due to the reach of the Internet and the appeal of a good story" but "remains a statement of faith, not fact." She notes that duct tape is not made from duck cloth and there is no known primary-source evidence that it was originally referred to as duck tape. Her research does not show any use of the phrase "duck tape" in World War II, and indicates that the earliest documented name for the adhesive product was "duct tape" in 1960. The phrase "duck tape" to refer to an adhesive product does not appear until the 1970s and was not popularized until the 1980s, after the Duck brand became successful and after the New York Times referred to and defined the product under the name "duct tape" in 1973

    depends what country your in as to how you say and spell it I have seen it spelt both ways.

    This looks great! I have more trouble with clear packing tape, and this looks like it would work very well for that, too. I wonder if a piece of the cutting edge from a box of aluminum foil would be strong enough to work in place of the razor blade?

    How do I view the Ducktape+holder.f3d file? I don't have any autocad applications on my computer.


    5 days ago

    This is great! I'll be making one this weekend. I'll piece it out of some scrap subflooring. No 3D Printer or CNC for me (YET!)

    1 reply

    Thanks! Would love to see a picture of the finished build!

    Good idea. I intend to make one, but all in wood, and without cnc or 3D. I know it will work, but it's workable. Even the roll will make wood, I have some of this plastic holder, but it's very bad, very light.

    Boa idéia. Pretendo fazer um, mas todo em madeira, e sem cnc ou 3D. Sei que dará mais trabalho, mas é viável. Até o rolo farei de madeira, Tenho alguns desse suporte em plástico, mas é muito ruim, muito leve.

    This is great! If it was a product available in the store I would buy one!

    I wonder if I will have the spare time to do this build. As I don't have easy access to a 3d printer, the hub is a challenge. I wonder if I could make one from a piece of dowel.

    I haven't bothered to post a comment recently, so I find this particularly outstanding.

    2 replies

    A dowel that diameter? Probably better to just cut a scrap 2" X 4" to size. That should do the trick. Hole sizing would be delicate, and you would want to very slightly taper it so tape roll would start to mount easily, but become tighter as it pushes on.

    Try and locate one of those packing-tape dispensers (transparent wide tape used to seal cardboard boxes) that is held in one hand and see if that hub could be used. Packing tape and duct tape comes in similar sized rolls so that might be one solution. You can get a new one for $10-20 at a retail office supply store. Maybe cheaper on the internet. Not only could you use the hub but you could also use the serrated metal tape cutter as well. The body could be quite easily made from wood or plywood scraps with simple hand tools. Go for it and have fun!

    I think I need this in my garage.