Simple Filament Spool Holder for 3D Printer (Use the Box It Came In)
This would make a great homemade gift for any 3D printing hobbyist this year by decorating it a bit with some artistic skills (Most common 3D Printers are out of stock for the Christmas season and on back order, it's definitely a hot commodity this season).
I've recently attained a small 3D printer, but the M3d is only designed for their 1/2lb rolls of "3D Ink." They offered an adaptor that you could print which would hold other spools, but they've replaced it with a newer streamlined version which now (again) only fits their 1/2lb spools.
Wanting to get printing right away I started browsing for some spool holder files using bearings to set the spool on, but didn't find anything that screamed "Print Me!" So I decided to go with the iconic A-frame TP Dispenser style with some cardboard and a pencil, both I needn't even leave the room to attain. I would've liked to have actually printed out some T brackets for the sides, but the M3D's build area is too small to print the height needed in one piece, it's also notourilously slow and I wanted something soon.
Step 1: Working With Cardboard
First things first, grab yourself a piece of cardboard. It will need to be long enough to wrap around one side of the spool, mine was roughly 8" by 17" **NOTE: Align the cardboard flutes along the length of the piece for better strength. I started in the center and marked out the base by setting the spool on top and drawing a line on each side of the spool (for my 1kg roll I needed about a 3" gap).
Fold your cardboard on these lines to form your base. Now set your roll down sideways to see how high your axles needs to be placed to hold up the spool (My spool needed 5") and then poke a hole through with a sharp pencil or a pen. Do this on both sides.
Trim your holder up a bit, unless you like the square look then by all means keep it as is, but I roughly cut mine into that Iconic triangular A-frame shape.
Step 2: Stick a Pin in It and Be Done
Fold up your cardboard sides off the base (whichever side outward you so choose) and stick a pencil in it. You'd ideally want a tight fit around the pencil as the friction will hold the sides together.
Go ahead and design your cardboard however you'd like, unless you enjoy the simplicity of it as it is as I do (cough not artistically challenged or anything) but I'll just say I enjoy it's simplicity.
Your Holder is done! Slip your spool in and try it out!
Step 3: Wrap Up
This was a super quick and easy way to immediately solve a problem. Sure theres a hundred ways to make such a simple contraption, but I have an ever growing list of things that need done so I'm willing to skip the showmanship if it lets me use my time elsewhere.
I see a lot of people using bearings, I originally wanted to use a bearing style holder as well as I had 4 bearings sitting on my table, but in the end It was far quicker to grab a piece of cardboard which is just fine as I really enjoy cardboard.
I'm using a pen now but I'll actually switch over to a pencil soon so I can cut it down to size and be able to put the holder right up against something.
I was initially concerned that a pencil wouldn't fit the bill as the axle, after all I see everyone else using ball bearings or a 1/2inch steel shaft. The soft-plastic pen that I'm using now though works just fine and lets the spool spin freely when more filament is needed.