3D Filament Spool Rack

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Introduction: 3D Filament Spool Rack

About: Cogito ergo doleo.

If you're into 3D printing, you'll have run into the issue of having stacks of filament spools lying around your workspace at some point.

Sure, there are racks available out there that you can buy to organize your spools, but how about building one yourself? Even better, how about putting those 3D print filaments themselves to use in building the rack?

This Instructable will show you how to make a super cheap yet elegant rack for all your spool storing needs. Let's get crackin!

Supplies

PLA filament

3D printer

Wooden rod

Screws and anchors

Wood grain tape (optional)

Tools (measuring tape, drill, spirit level)

Step 1: Print the Brackets

Print out the STLs provided for the brackets. The two are not identical, they are mirrored copies.

I have white walls in my workspace, so I went with some white PLA. I used Cura for slicing and my Creality CR-20 for the printing. The outer side of the brackets are flat, so there is no need to add supports in this job.

The only deviation I made from Cura printing defaults was to increase the Infill Density. The brackets will be weight-bearing, so it is crucial to have them come out as sturdy as possible.

I went with a 60% infill, and it took me around 6 hours to print each bracket.

Step 2: Mount Brackets to Wall

Mark points on the wall where the brackets should be mounted.

I use a method that avoids measurement errors during this process:

  • Choose a roughly convenient position on the wall for one of the brackets
  • Align bracket vertically using a spirit level
  • Hold bracket steady and drive a thin screwdriver (or anything pointy) through the 3 holes
  • Press screwdriver to wall firmly each time (this mark points where the screws would go)
  • Keep bracket aside and drill at the marked points

Measure the length of your wooden rod and drill the second set of holes in a similar way at a distance 50mm less than the length of the rod. Then install the two brackets, making sure the screw holes are on the inside.

I used six 40mm M5 screws to mount the brackets. A washer is advised on each screw to preserve the integrity of the plastic at the mount points.

Good wall anchors are absolutely essential here. I used Fischer Duopower dowels that are great at providing a firm grip.

Step 3: Install the Wooden Rod

Get a sturdy, long wooden rod for this step. I recommend getting something made of stiffer woods like Oak or Birch. Although Cedar or Pine may work, I would not go for these options. At 1kg per spool, the rack needs to have pretty solid weight-bearing capabilities.

I used a 25mm (~1") diameter, 130cm long Oak rod to connect the brackets. I found this rod lying in a dumpster, so it was quite old and scratched up, and I wanted to enhance its looks.

This is one place in the project where you can get creative. You could stain the rod, paint it up, use it as is, or even add some wood grain tape (like I did).

I used some wood mimicking tape to cover the entire rod, making it look brand new. It was admittedly a laborious process. Instead of just taping the whole rod in one go in a spiral fashion, I did the taping in parallel sections with lengths that exactly covered one circumference at a time.

Once you've prettied up the rod, drive it through the large holes in the bracket. It should fit snugly and lie flush with the outer side of the brackets. Use sandpaper in case the rod is a little too thick for the holes. Add extra strips of tape at the ends in case the rod is a little too thin.

Step 4: Add Spools to Rack

Put your filament spools on the rack. The spools sit nicely between the wall at one end and the wooden rod at the other end.

Keeping elementary physics in mind (i.e. how moment arms work), I try to keep the heavier spools closer to the edges and lighter ones around the center. This avoids any noticeable bending in the rod when it is fully loaded.

And there you have it! Now you don't need to deal with filament spools lying haphazardly around your workplace.

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    7 Comments

    0
    tercero
    tercero

    11 months ago

    Thanks for presenting this, it's a good instructables.
    But....
    As someone who prints, sells and makes printers I can tell anyone that one of the first mistakes most people make is leaving their filament exposed to the air.
    It's a big no no. When not in use, store your filament in a bag (vacuum preferably) with a silica gel pack.
    Filament is inherently hygroscopic and will quickly become brittle and unusable if improperly stored.

    0
    Adisin
    Adisin

    Reply 11 months ago

    Hi! Thank you for the feedback, and you are correct in your observation about filaments being hygroscopic.

    However, I have been 3D printing (both professionally and personally, in various geographies, in various seasons) for several years now and it has been a long time since I stopped taking specific precautions around creating humidity-managed environments. To this day, I am yet to notice any material affect of storage on the success rate or the print quality of my creations. I know filament and printer manufacturers love to advertise how not storing spools properly will make prints worse, but... (a) I have not experienced this myself, and (b) I suspect some vested interest in such advice.

    I think if you're doing something super controlled and very specific, or believe that your print quality is poor due to how you're storing your filament, go right ahead and take the relevant storage precautions. But for almost any DIY projects, it's likely immaterial.

    0
    tercero
    tercero

    Reply 11 months ago

    You must live in an area of relatively low humidity. I've had rolls go bad in as little as 3 days in southern Ontario during the summer months.

    0
    rdkaursidhu
    rdkaursidhu

    11 months ago

    Very innovative.