Tobold's Blog
Monday, January 20, 2020
Spool holder

I now tested my new Flashforge Adventurer 3 with ABS. Although the temperature of the extruder is limited to 240°C, this is just sufficient to make good prints. The bed temperature of up to 100°C and the full enclosure result in little or no warping. I only needed to solve one problem: The spool holder.

The printer has an internal spool holder, but that one holds only 0.5 kg spools. The ABS I had on hand was on a larger 1 kg spool, which are far more common. So what I needed to do was construct an external spool holder, and set it next to the printer. Fortunately there are other printers out there that need external spool holders, so the problem is a known one in the community.

One low-tech solution is to use the cardboard box the spool came in. Just remove the plastic and pull the spool out from the box by a bit, I'd say by a quarter of its diameter. Then stick a pencil through the box at the place where the middle hole is, and use that as the axis. Or, if you are feeling fancy, you can print the axis.

Me, I went for a slightly fancier solution. I still had in stock a number of 608 bearings, which I had used in the past for self-printed fidget spinners. Using 4 of those and 4 relatively small printed parts, I built an Ultimate Spool Holder. Not sure I would have called it ultimate, but I can see the advantage of supporting the two "wheels" of the spool separately. It fits pretty much any spool I can think of, has nearly no friction at all, and doesn't have to be disassembled to change the spool. So I printed the spool holder with the PLA that came with the printer, and was ready to switch to a roll of ABS next. Worked like a charm.


I could see that "ultimate spool holder" being useful in a lot of industrial applications where quick change of spools would be an advantage. Is there a danger of the spool rolling off particularly once it gets depleted and becomes lighter?
Unless you bump into the spool, I would say the energy required to roll on the bearings is always much lower than the energy required to jump over the bearings, and thus the spool will stay put and just rotate until the bearings grip (which is probable only after years of use).
Very very clever Tobold, I loved it. This is a super nice application. Bravo!
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