Intro: Laser Cut 3D Printer Spool Holder
I won an M200 desktop 3D printer at a local makerspace contest, and I didn't have a good spool holder. This model is meant to be a very minimal holder so as not to take up a lot of desk room. It holds filament spools that are 2.9" across or so, which is pretty standard (at least in all the makerspaces I've been to).
In this tutorial, I will show you how to make and assemble the spool holder I designed.
You will need one of the following sets of files. I use Adobe Illustrator, so I have included the ai file I cut. I also converted it to a pdf for other users with different software preferences. Be sure to download both the .25" and .125" files in your preferred file type.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
This tutorial assumes you have access to and operator's knowledge of a CNC lasercutter. As each machine's software and interface are drastically different, I'll have to assume that you know how to operate the laser cutter you will be using. The laser I used accepts illustrator files, which is why I uploaded the design as an .ai file. However, I also uploaded the .pdf for people who use a different software. Open the .pdf file in your laser's software, as pdf's are very standard file types and should be accepted by your laser's software.
A hand saw, (or any sawing device)
Wood glue: I used Elmers wood glue, but any wood glue will suffice. You can probably also get away with using super glue or epoxy, but wood glue will yeild the best results.
You'll need a a small piece of 1/8" plywood (12"x12" will do), and another small piece of 1/4" plywood about the same dimensions. I used birch plywood for this that I procured from the scrap bin at my makerspace.
A 1/4" dowel, I got one for 50 cents at a local hardware store.
Step 2: Laser Cut the Pieces Out
I used a Universal Systems Laser Cutter. It has a materials data base in which you select materials and the machine then knows what power/speed/ppi settings to use. I used the material 'general medium woods' and set the thickness to .120 (for the 1/8" file) and .245 (for the 1/4" file) (using my calipers). I will have to assume for this part that you know how to use your own laser cutter, because they vary significantly from model to model.
Cut out the .25" parts file on your 1/4" plywood, and the .125" file on your 1/8" plywood. After this is done, collect all the pieces and bring them over to a workbench with your wood glue.
Step 3: Assembling the Roller
Grab one of the 8 cross pieces and insert one of the circular pieces into the middle, as shown in the first image. Next, insert a second cross piece onto this circle, and then a third. Continue until all 8 cross pieces have been slipped onto the middle circle piece. You should have something like the second image above. Next, add a dab of glue to the base of each slot on another circle piece. Look at the third image above for further clarification. Put this piece on the end of the roller assembly we've been making. It may take a bit of patience to snap on, but just be patient and line up all 8 cross pieces and it will go on. Next, repeat this process with the other side and the other circle piece. After its all assembled, clamp it together and set it aside to dry.
Step 4: Assembling the Holder
Grab one of the big side pieces and the X piece. Add a little bit of wood glue into the corners on the end of the X pieces arms as shown in the first image. Then, insert the X piece into the corresponding holes of the side piece. After this, do the same procedure with the other side piece, and stick the whole assembly in the vice to dry. You can also you clamps here. Be careful you let it dry with the two side pieces staying parallel. You may also need to use a cloth or paper towel to wipe up extra wood glue if any squeezes out.
After it has dried, add a bit of wood glue to the small circles and glue them to the outside edge of the side pieces. This acts as a cover for the slot to prevent the pin from sliding out.
Step 5: Making the Pin
Collect your 1/4" dowel, a writing utencil, a measuring device, and a sawing device.
You will want to measure out 3 and 3/8's inches and mark it on the dowel. Then, cut along your mark. This will create a 3.375" wooden rod which will be used as the pin on which the spool will roll.
After it is cut, lay down some sand paper and drag the edge of the pin along it, like you were striking a match. Roll the pin as you do this, and the edge will become beveled and smooth so it won't catch when you insert it.
Step 6: Putting It All Together.
Insert the roller assembly made in step 3 into the inner hole of the 3D printer filament roll. Next, insert the wooden pin into the center of the roller assembly. Now, you just have to slide this whole thing down into the holder. The wooden pin should just fit in the slots, and stop at the bottom of the slots. The spools spins very freely and easily for me.
I hope the spool holder works great for you and that you enjoyed the tutorial. If anything was unclear or you have any feedback, I would love to hear it in the comments.