TechZone Horizontal Filament Spool
This simple filament spool for your RepRap is designed to be inexpensive (both to buy and to ship as a kit) and durable. It is constructed from 3mm plywood, and steel hardware including a lazy susan bearing.
This spool is a great addition to the TechZone Huxley or to the RepRap Mendel, it would of course work with any 3d printer which uses coiled filament. It can be purchased at TechZone Communications, or if you have access to a laser cutter, you can cut one from your own material.
|FILE ID#||TYPE||DESCRIPTION||AVAILABLE FORMATS||CREATED/RESERVED BY|
|Your-File-Name||MONOTRONICS BOARDS||These are the files you need to make a set of boards||.xml.zip||--Example User 12:00, Today's Date 20xx (UTC)|
|FILE ID#||TYPE||DESCRIPTION||AVAILABLE FORMATS||CREATED/RESERVED BY|
|TechZone Monotronics Firmware||MONOTRONICS Firmware||This file is the firmware for the Monotronics||.zip for use with arduino||--Tech Zone Communications Jan 16, 2011|
Click on the images to see them larger.
The tools you will want, to make the assembly of this kit simpler, are a common office stapler with staples a screwdriver, some long nose pliars, and Glue. I use polyurethane glue, like gorilla glue, but any other strong glue ment for bonding wood will work just fine. you may also want some small clamps (like spring clamps); and/or large rubber bands.
As the following steps are performed, I used a common office stapler to hold things in place until the glue dried, however, you could use some spring clamps or large rubber bands to hold it together until the glue dries.
The Housing (box)
To do this correctly, we need to idetify which side of the spool support is the top. I place the spool support into the slots of one of the sides and flip it over if needed, when it is turned the right direction it will appear to be in the center (left to right) as shown in the photo on the right. Take a moment and label the top of this support, so we don't mix it up in the next few steps.
I put glue on the edge of all pieces in the lower portions of the jagged edges which are going to be fastened together (see below). It is smart to dry fit the pieces first to see where you will want this glue, and to make sure the pieces are going the right direction.
The reinforcements should be flush with the top of this support, and project downwards from it.
I have found that an office stapler will work fine to hold things together while the glue dries (not all the staples will penetrate, so just pull out the bad ones with pliars and try again). You could also use some large rubber bands (with blocks underneath to keep it from pulling the reinforcements sideways), or spring clamps like in the picture below.
Use staples to attach each of the other four sides to the top of the box - don't forget to glue the pieces.. If you have some extra help you can glue them in place and hold them with several large rubber bands, rather than with staples. There are pictures of the assembly below to clearify/confuse this step.
I also have a photo of me tapping some of the staples into place, they were still strait, but didn't go in all the way, so I encouraged them a little.
I then put the spool support into the box, the box sides will flex enough to allow spool support so fit (photo at right). I do this with the box upside down, that means the side of the spool support which we marked as top also goes down (see picture below)
I use staples again to hold it in place, but you could stack weights on it instead, or use large rubber bands. (picture of staples below)
I start by putting four of the nuts onto the four threaded rods, almost like the first picture below - I like to put the nuts further onto the rods so that when I put the short end of the rod through the spool bottom, all I have left to do is add nuts to that end.
There are pictures to the right, and below of the rods and nuts connected to the spool bottom. NOTE the picture showing washers on the bottom of the spool is incorrect! if you put washers there, then the nuts and rods stick down too far and it will rub as it spins on the lazy susan bearing, leave the washers off I left the photo because it shows great alignment of the end of the rod and the nuts.
I recommend that you put threadlock on all eight of the nuts that fasten the threaded rod to the bottom of the filament spool.
Then, using the large Access hole in the Spool Support, attach the bearing to the bottom of the spool; as shown on the right.
Loading The Spool
Most of the time, the PLA I get can be loaded onto the spool by removing the top and setting it on over the rods. When I load it this way, I sometimes have to keep it from dropping down around the bottom and tangling (Not difficult, but I do have to pay attention and correct it when it happens). The following photos and description are how I put the filament on in these cases. The other way to laod it is to wind the filament on... that one is mostly self explanatory and a bit time consuming to do.
Slide the top of the spool onto the bars and put the last four nuts on. I usually use washers with the top of the spool, but they aren't necessary.
Thats it. You have built the box and loaded it with filament for use! Enjoy!
Design considerations and thoughts
I have created this section, because as soon as I publish a design, I get suggestions from people. Almost all the suggestions I get are good suggestions, but quite often they would depart from the objective of the design, or they are something which has been considered and discarded for some reason. I expect this section may turn into a 'discussion' which would be good, but as you add things to it, please make some identifying mark so that others reading this can follow the conversation.
The primary objective in this design was to make a filament spool which the RepRap Mendel could sit on top of. The secondary objective was to do it with a low cost - both of the kit and of the shipping. We stared with a prototype made from 1/4 in birch plywood, which we really liked, but when we weighed it and calculated shipping from the US to Europe or Australia, it would cost more to ship it that what we were selling it for. So, we redesigned and built it from 1/8 in plywood. This reduced the shipping costs quite alot, and with our notches to help strengthen it we feel it is stout enough as well.
I have been running my printers for many months from these spools and have not had any troubles with them. I usually stack four or five spools on top of each other and feed the filament out to the printers sitting nearby. I didn't like the soundboard effect of the spool with the printer directly on it. My friend on the other hand loves it being stacked, he took some bungee cords and strapped his Mendel to the spool so that when he grabs the Mendel to transport it, the spool automatically comes with it.
This Spool will work on its side, but not very well, this type of bearing is not intended to be hung on its side. I expect that after prolonged use (a year or two) the bearing would even wear funny if you use it on its side too much.