Introduction: Universal Stand-alone Filament Spool Holder (Fully 3D-printable)
This holder for 3D-print filament spools is designed to be fully 3D-printed with no need for extra fasteners or glue. All parts can be 3D-printed on most 3D printers with build volume of 150 x 150 x 113 mm or larger.
The spindle rotates on its own small roller wheels which fit into a circular track on the top of the base stand. An arm to hold a filament guide tube can be inserted into the base. At point where the filament enters the tube there is a pocket into which a small piece of sponge can be inserted. Its purpose is to wipe any dust of the filament and also lubricate the surface to minimise friction and thus the strain on the extruder motor.
The spindles shaft's diameter is thin enough (16 mm) to carry the smallest common spool sizes. Larger spools with an axel diameter of up to 62 mm can be used on this spool holder. The spools are kept in place and centered via a locking cone.
An attachment for holding spool-less filament coils with three claw-like extensions makes this spool holder compatible with loose lengths of filament such as Laywood, Laybrick, etc.
Attached in this instructable are all individual STL files necessary to build this spool holder. Two complete build plates are also supplied. One fits MakerBot Replicator 3D printers and the other fits most RepRap 3D-printers with a build size of 200 x 200 mm or larger.
- Fully 3D-printable (no extra items or fasteners needed)
- Fits spools with inner diameters between 16 and 62 mm
- Base always rests steadily on its three feet
- Spindle rotates smoothly on its roller wheels
- Base can hold a steady arm to hold the filament guide tube
- Guide tube can be inserted from both directions (clockwise and counterclockwise rotation)
- Built-in filter cleans and lubricates filament
- Locking cone automatically centers and fixates spools
See the video
Step 1: Download the STL Files
The following STL file represents the complete assembly:
- Assembly (complete).stl (not suitable for 3D-printing)
Two complete sets of STL-files are supplied as full build-plates as follows:
- All parts_200x200x115_mm_build_volume.stl (fits most RepRap 3D-printers)
- All_parts_MakerBot_Replicator_2_and_2X.stl (fits most MakerBot 3D-printers)
All individual parts are supplied as follows:
- Bearing wheel.stl
- Centerring and locking cone.stl
- Guide-tube holder and filament filter.stl
- Spool spindle.stl
- Spool-less coil holder (attachment).stl
- Spool-less coil holder (main).stl
- Tripod base.stl
Step 2: 3D-print and Adjust As Required
Some parts of the filament stand require a snug fit. As an example we show provide this image to illustrate a good practice in 3D-printing.
If you need to adjust the settings of your 3D-printer or maybe the 3D-file itself, it is advantageous to isolate the tolerance-affected parts to the smallest possible volume.
Simply cut the STL files and create test parts which you can 3D-print and quickly get feedback on how well they fit. Measure and test and then make required adjustments, if any.
This will save you lots of time and 3D-print filament material.
Step 3: Attach Rubber Feet
On the bottom side of the base are holes measuring roughly 1,75 and 3.0 mm in diameter. Choose the hole that best fits your rubber-like filament. These are aimed to hold a small clipping of rubber tube or filament. These will raise the base a few mm from the desktop and increase friction making it stand firmly.
- Insert the flexible filament into the holes
- Cut away the excess but leave roughly 3 to 5 mm sticking out
- If your filament is too loose in the hole, apply a drop of glue to fix it
Step 4: Insert the Guide Tube Arm Into the Base
If you wan to guide the filament from the holder to your 3D printer via a flexible plastic tube, insert the correspondent arm into the base and press/tap it gently.
The fitting is made conical thus giving it good friction to make it remain in place. It can also be removed later by pulling it outwards.
Step 5: Insert the Roller Wheels Into the Rotating Spindle
The rotating spindle has six pockets on the bottom side where small wheels reside and act as a roller bearing. The wheels axles are made of standard 1.75 mm filament.
- Insert a wheel into an empty pocket
- Align the wheel's axel hole with the correspondent filament-entry hole
- Insert 1.75 mm filament into the hole and push it firmly until it jams
- Cut off the remaining part of the filament flush with the side of the spindle
- Repeat this step until all six wheels are in place
- Rotate them and make sure they turn freely
Step 6: Attach the Spindle to the Base
The base has a vertical split axel with a ball joint at the top. Place the spindle on this axel and press evenly and symmetrically downwards until the spindle wheels rest in the round track in the base.
Rotate the spindle and make sure it turns freely.
Step 7: Use Cone to Center and Fix the Spools
Place your 3D print filament spool on the spindles axel and fix it in place by sliding the locking cone down the spindel axle. Make sure to point the tip of the cone downwards.
Step 8: Attach the Spool-less Filament Coil Holder
Some filament types don't use a spool and are supplied as a loose coil. This can be tricky to manage specially once the coil is opened.
We designed this attachment to the universal filament spool holder which will securely hold such coils during 3D-print and storage.
For for coils with larger amounts of filament the tip of each holding arm can be extended with a small loop of 1.75 mm filament bent into a U-shape. The ends of this U-shape can be inserted into corresponding holes.
Step 9: Insert the Filament Guide Tube
The filament tube holder has two holes to fit flexible filament guide tubes in two different size to fit bot 1.75 mm and 3.0 mm filament. The holder is symmetrical which lets you choose to insert the tube from the preferred side depending on how your filament spool unwinds (clockwise ore counterclockwise).
Step 10: The Filament Filter
3D printers of the FFF kind feed a long stock of round filament by the help of a motor which pulls or pushes on the filament along a path. The two common externa factor which can interfere with a smooth 3D print are the following:
- Foreign particles clog the extruder nozzle - Sometimes dust particles can travel along the filament and enter into the extruder's inner workings. If the particle is small enough (smaller than 0,2 mm) it usually just passes through. Sometimes particles can get stuck in the nozzle, resulting in a clog which stops the plastic extrusion. Commonly known as "air prints" the 3D printer continues to 3D print a "ghost" model in the air but no plastic will come out of the extruder.
- Friction from the filament path strains the motor - Most extruders in 3D printers today use stepper motors. When the strain they can take exceeds a certain value, they will stop turning and thus stop the extrusion. This can be recognised by a mechanical ticking which can also be heard.
The build-in filament filter in the guide tube holder serves two purposes which alleviate the two problem causes describe above. The filter scrapes off any dirt from the surface of the filament and can also be used to apply a thin coating of lubricant on the surface of the filament so that it offers the least possible resistance during extrusion.
- Cut a small piece of common household cleaning sponge
- Use tweezers to jam it into the pocket close to the guide tube holes
- Drop a few drops of oil to soak the sponge for filament lubrication. Any commonly used mineral oil (for sewing machines, door hinges, etc) will do fine. Standard cooking oil also offers good filament lubrication.
Step 11: Fits Almost Any Filament Spool Size!
You can use virtually any commonly used filament spool size as well as loose spool-less filament coils.
Download your universal filament spool holder now and 3D-print it!
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