I've always found myself wandering around the house for ages, looking for some sticky tape and it's corresponding dispenser to stick some things together. Wouldn't it be better to have your tape easily accessible on your side all the time?
I therefore designed this small and portable tape dispenser, slightly bigger than a normal roll of tape, equipped with or without a little ring to attach it to your keychain. The dispenser is easy to print, and with only two parts and no additional tools or materials it can be used instantly - Just drop in the tape, screw on the lid and it's good to go. The lever on the side of it can be pressed down to hold the roll in place while pulling on it.
I have tried to keep it simple, and while it certainly is, a metal blade can be added to help cut the tape better (in case your printer can't print the cutters out well enough.)
In this Instructable I will show you, how to print and use it, and how it was designed - Maybe encouraging you to make your own designs? Its great!
Step 1: Printing - Instructions and Tips
Lets finally start then, shall we?
For this project only a 3D printer and some plastic, PLA for example is needed. You may also need some tools like a thin knive, sanding paper and more. I have attached an archive including the stl's for the project including the main part, and either a normal screw-on lid or one with a hole for keychain rings.
I printed the parts on a Printrbot Simple Metal, at 190°C, at 200 Microns and two outer shells. For the biggest part - the body - support material is needed. Make sure to enable support material in your slicing program to generate supports for the cutters and the handle. Print both parts seperately, and make sure to have good ventilation while printing, otherwise warping may occur, ruining the print. The lid doesn't need supports, and it can be printed on its flat side.
Step 2: Cleanup & Assembly
After printing remove any support material, sand the whole part except for the cutters, and break free the lever. The lever can be found as the cut out part on the side, next to the cutters. Cut inbetween the lever and the main body with a knive to make the lever movable. It should be able to be pressed in, when pushing on it, and should return to its original position when finished.
Assembly is simple. The tape goes in like the picture above, with the tape going through the slot, which is then stuck in place on the lever to keep it from going loose. The lever part is the thing next to the cutters, slightly sticking out and freely movable once seperating. Now screw the lid back on, and put your keychain ring through the lid, if you'd like to do so.
Step 3: Usage
To use the dispenser, simply pull some tape out, press on the lever to hold the tape in place, stretch the tape over the cutters and press the tape down. Thats it! If the cutting won't work well, follow the next step in order to improve the cutter.
Step 4: Improving the Cutter
Since the tape is going to be cut with the plastic blades, which dont always do a good job, it may be worth to upgrade your cutter with a metal blade. To do so, simply cut out some sheet metal from a soda can, put it over the original cutter and trace around it with a marker. Then cut the metal sheet out and glue the new blades on top of the old ones with super glue. A similar example can be seen in the pictures above, which was used to make the blades of another tape dispenser better.
Step 5: Designing the Parts - Onshape Is THE Tool for You
This project seems to be simple, but in fact designing it would be too hard when just using TinkerCAD or Autodesks 123Design. I needed a tool which is easy to use and learn, yet powerful enough to create parts like these.
Unless you've worked with CAD programs before, this may be something new to you. Unlike in other programs, where a cube is simply just added, moved around and grouped with other objects, in Onshape there first needs to be made a sketch, which is then extruded to the right thickness, thus creating an object.
Designing started with a simple sketch, like all my other designs did too. The sketch then gets revolved - a way to extrude a sketch around an axis - then the middle tape holder part gets added and so on. Once you get the hang of it, you'd always want to use this tool instead of oldschool ones. With Onshape great precision can be achieved since every single line, point and plane can be defined to your needs. It's worth at least checking them out and trying to learn to use it, it's worth it! (Especially if you have a 3D printer!)
Step 6: Last Words
Creating this instructable was fun, and I hope it will become useful to you instructlers out there! :)
Creating the part in my head, then getting it working into the real world was hard, and the design is far from perfect. If you plan on using the design, I would recommend adding some metal blades to it, but my design is free to use and can be edited from anyone. There were many problems to get around, which created even more problems. Use this design for fun or even as a real helper in your daily routine, I hope it does its job well!
This Instructable was intended to be much longer, much more detailed, with more pictures, tips etc. I had this project in my mind for a long time now, but time went on, and I just needed to release this Instructable. This was my first Instructable, excuses if there is something not explained. I will update or even redo this Instructable and the project once I have more time for it, but this will have to do now.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below,
and thank you for reading!