Introduction: Zim Filament Spool Adapter Project

This is my project to create a an easy to use solution to buying costly cartridges or having to endure the tedious job of repeatedly refilling them. I do quite a bit of printing, so the whole refilling process, for me, got old very fast. In this instructable you're going to learn how to make a spool fed filament system for the zim without making a single modification to the printer itself. The ZFSA (zim filament spool adater) is not a modification, it's an accessory.

The ZFSA system is comprised of mosly 3d printed parts, however there are a few inexpensive componants you will need to purchase to complete the system. The ZFSA is capable of using both 1lb and 2.2lb rolls of filament. Switching between the ZFSA system and the original cartridge system is as easy as switching between cartridges.

Please feel free to comment and ask questions. I've worked very hard to make this instructable as easy to follow as possible.

Step 1: Requirements

1. Zim 3d printer single or dual extruder

2. 1 - refillable zim filament cartridge (any color)

3. 5' of 2mm ID 4mm OD teflon tubing 5' PTFE Tubing or 10' PTFE Tubing if you're making 2

4. 1 - 4mm Push Connect Fitting

5. 1 - 2.2 lb (1kg) spool or 1 - 1lb spool of filament (any color)

6. Download the included .stl files

Step 2: Before You Begin

There are 6 individual printed parts making up 4 components and 2 additional parts that must be purchased with 1 of those parts being optional. (it's not as complicated as it sounds)

Tools: The only tool required is a utility knife, however a pair of pliers and a sharp scraper would be helpful.

Step 3: Getting Started

Before you get to printing we're going to create a few new presets.

Preset 1 is going to be used to print the Cartridge Adapter and Cartridge Adapter top

Preset 2 is going to be used to print the Spool Holder and Spool Holder Hanger

Preset 1: Go to the Settings and Support and click on printing presets.

Create a new preset based on Standard Quality with following modifications:

1. Under Support Material, turn off "Don't Support Bridges"

2.Under pattern select "Honeycomb"

3. Select the Fan tab and turn on auto cooling

4. Last, change the max fan speed to 40

5 Save your preset as "Standard with Auto Cool Honeycomb"

Preset 2 is the same as Preset 1 but leave the support material patter as pillars.

Save this preset as "Standard with Auto Cool Pillars"

Step 4: Printing

There are 5 .stl files included with this instructable.

1. The Spool Holder has 2 files, one for the right side and one for the left side. You only need to print both if you want adapters for both sides. Each spool holder prints with an adapter for larger rolls. Each Spool holder fits 1lb rolls, the adapter bushing works with 2.2 lb rolls.

2. The Spool Holder Hanger. You need one of these for each Spool Holder. One design fits both sides.

3. The Cartridge adapter snaps into the Zims Cartridge holder and funnels the filament from the spool through the zim feed system. The adapter tray prints with a separate neck piece which you will need to attache to the adapter.

Step 5: The Spool Holder and Hanger

Once you've printed the spool holder and hanger you'll need to assemble them. Start by trimming the support material from both the Spool Holder and the Hanger. Once you're satisfied, snap the two parts together using moderate force. The two parts should fit together snug and no fasteners should be required.

*Note If you believe that the fit is not tight enough, you can use screws to hold the two parts together. Any screw of adequate size will work, however I sized the hole to easily work with computer case or drive screws which most people have lying around. The screws are purely optional and not necessary in most cases.

If you're using a push connect fitting, thread it into the hole by applying moderate force while turning the fitting clockwise into the hole. The fitting should thread in pretty easily, cutting its own threads along the way.

If you've chosen to not use a fitting, move on to the next step but note that you can always add a fitting at a later time.

Step 6: Step 2: Cartridge Adapter

The Cartridge Adapter prints in 2 parts. To assemble the adapter take the neck piece and press it into the T slot on the adapter tray. The Parts are meant to go together tightly. Be sure the parts are fully inserted as this affects the alignment of the filament and filament tube.

Step 7: Preparing Your RFID Tag

The Cartridge Adapter printed with a recess in the bottom for your RFID tag. The RFID tags are stickers which are adhered to the inside bottom of the zim cartridge. Rather than risk damaging the fragile RFID sticker, I've opted to cut the RFID out of the bottom of the cartridge. You're going to sacrifice a refillable cartridge for this, so I suggest choosing your worse cartridge for the sacrifice.

Disassemble your cartridge and set all the parts aside except the bottom piece with the white sticker on it. Measure the recess that printed into the cartridge adapter (it should be around 2 3/16 X 3 7/16". Make a mark on the front of the RFID tag to indicate direction. Make a mark around the white RFID sticker in accordance with your measurements. There is a hole in the center of the Adapter Tray which much match up with the nipple in the middle of the RFID. Using a sharp utility knife start cutting along the lines. Be sure not to cut any part of the white sticker. I like to make the initial cut a bit larger and then trim it to fit properly. The RFID card should fit snugly into the recess, but even if it's a bit loose you can use some tape around the seam to hold it into place.

Step 8: Installation

Remove the upper and lower covers from your printer. If there's a cartridge in the side you're using, unload and remove it.

There's an internal cover being held in place by 2 Phillips screws. You'll need to remove this as well.

There is small gap beneath the white service port on the back of the zim. Take your Teflon tube and fish it through the hole pulling it out the other side.

Next, take your Teflon tube and press it into the cartridge adapter slot, then snap the cover on the adapter if you're using one.

Step 9: Installation Con't

Hang your Filament Roll Holder on the back of your zim in accordance with the side you printed. Take the Teflon tube that is now protruding from the back and gently twist and turn it up and press it into the built in tube holders on the Filament Roll Holder, avoiding any sharp bends. Make a loop at the top and plug it into the push connect fitting.

Install your roll of filament to the spool holder. If you're using a 1lb roll, it should snap right on, for larger 1kg rolls, install the bushing to the roll and snap it on.

Unspool a bit of filament and carefully start to push it through the tube. Push it up through the tube until you see it start to come out of the cartridge adapter. Make sure the cap is on the cartridge adapter and snap it into the zim.

From here on it's standard cartridge loading.

Put the top and bottom covers back in place. The internal cover you removed with the Phillips screws is not really necessary, however it can be reinstalled. If you pull a bit of slack on the tube, the cover will make it over it. The downside to reinstalling the cover is that it makes it more difficult to remove the cartridge adapter if you need to insert a standard cartridge instead.