A lot of small 3D printers do not really come standard with a solution for actually feeding the filament into them. This was the case when I got my Pritnerbot Simple. They sold some parts to set the spool on top of the bars but they only really supported certain sizes of filament spools and I tend to try a bunch of different filaments so I knew that was not going to work. Besides, I was not a fan of adding more height to it and making it top heavy as I can have a tendency to be clumsy.
My solution was to make a free standing base that would hold the filament in a horizontal fashion because in that way I can make the printer have to pull the least in order to advance the filament and support nearly any size of filament spool I want.
What are you going to need?
- 3D printer filament
- 1 Bearing 40 OD, 17 ID, 12 wide (http://www.amazon.com/6203-2NSE-Bearing-17x40x12-Sealed-Bearings/dp/B0045E0E8U)
- About 6 in. of threaded rod (I used M4 but the parts have enough tolerance that you should be able to use M5)
- 1 Lock nut that fits your threaded rod
- 1 standard nut that fits your threaded rod
- 1 wing nut that fits your threaded rod (or another standard. The wing nut is just for ease of use)
- 2 Fender washers that fit your threaded rod (I made my own by just drilling a hole in some scrap metal)
- Length of pipe with an inside diameter of about 35mm. This should be the height that you would like the bottom of your spool to be at.
- Piece of material to mount the pipe to. I used metal and I will cover some other options I thought about in the step for this.
- 3D Printer
- 2 pairs of pliers
- Metal saw to cut the threaded rod and pipe down if needed
- Welder if doing the base the same as me
Step 1: Print the Parts
You need to print the following parts:
1 x filament_stand_-_bearing_center.stl
1 x filament_stand_-_bearing_holder.stl
2 x filament_stand_-_spool_center.stl
If you need to you can modify any of the parts if your bearing or pipe are different then what I suggested. They can be accessed here:
Step 2: Assemble the Base
What I did:
First off you are going to need to determine how tall you want your stand to be. The length of the pipe plus the base plus about 20 mm will be where the bottom of the filament spool is. I wanted the spool to sit just above my printer when the z was maxed out so I measured that and added a bit just to be sure and cut the pipe appropriately.
For the bottom of the base I wanted the it to be decently wide and have a fair amount of weight so I got some 1/4" plate metal to attach the pipe to. I just welded the pipe to the center of the plate and then cleaned the whole piece up with a grinder and a wire brush.
Don't have a welder? What you could do:
If you are lacking a welder that is fine. There are lots of other options. All that you really need is something that is going to hold your pipe straight up and not be prone to tipping over. If you have a large hole dill bit or forstner bit you could drill a hole in wood the approprite size, and glue the pipe in with hot glue so it does not rattle.
If you don't I have made a backup. Here is a pipe clamp I made up to make this project more accessible (hole drills are prices especially if you only need one for one thing).
What you will need:
- Piece of wood to mount to
- More 3D printer filament to print this new part
- 4 screws of an appropriate length depending on your piece of wood
- 1 M4 nut
- 1 M4 screw
- 1 x Pipe Base Clamp https://tinkercad.com/things/5IXXLMV61o3
When you get the part printed out just screw it into your piece of wood, stick the pipe in, and add the set nut and screw. Again, if you need to modify the part at all you can make a copy of it at the link and adjust it to fit your needs.
Step 3: Assemble the Filament Stand
You should now have everything you need to put it all together. To assemble:
- Insert the bearing holder into the top of the pipe
- Insert the bearing into the bearing holder
- Screw the plain M4 nut onto the threaded rod an inch or two
- Add the fender washer beneath it (on the side of it with less threaded rod)
- Add the bearing center with the flair facing up towards the washer
- Screw the lock nut onto after just so that the threaded rod is just flush with the bottom side of the lock nut
- Screw the top plain nut back down to sandwich them all together. Use your two pairs of pliers to torque them down (you can see this in the picture where I am holding the filament spool. The piece of metal I used there is what I used in place of a washer because I had extra scrap metal but no washers at the time.)
- Insert the bearing center with all its new found acoutrement into the center of the bearing
- add one of the spool center pieces threading it onto the the rod to sit with the bottom (as it was printed) down covering the nut and washer
- Add your filament spool
- Add the other filament center facing down so the pointer parts of the two are facing each other
- Add the second washer on top of that
- Tighten down with the wing nut. Make it nice and snug
Step 4: Print Away
You are all done and ready to print with ease. Give it a test and try spinning the spool. It should rotate with ease and given a push it should be able to rotate many times before stopping.