Without filament, FFF-based 3D printers simply would not be able to print. For those who don’t know, filament is to a 3D printer what ink cartridges are to an inkjet 2D printer. It is the plastic material that is melted and then extruded in small layers until an object is fully fabricated.
The other day, I was printing out some toys for my son. I had to leave the house for two hours, and fully expected that when I returned I would have 3 little toys laying finished on my print bed. Unfortunately, when I returned to check on my prints, the printer had completely stopped printing halfway through. I couldn’t figure out what went wrong… until I looked at the filament and found that it had become tangle up upon itself, preventing its own flow to the extruder. The 3D printer had no other option but to shut down. This was completely my fault, as I had been provided with a sample of filament to try out, and because I was in a rush, I had just put the filament to the side, rather than on a spool. This allowed it to easily knot itself up and ultimately terminate my print job.
If you were to browse websites like Thingiverse, you would discover hundreds of filament spool holders, all of which are unique in their own right. However, none are as innovative, as comprehensive, and frankly quite as amazing as one which was just created by a company called CreativeTools, and its CEO Paulo Kiefe. Called the ‘Universal Stand-Alone Filament Spool Holder’, it is entirely 3D printable and its name simply does not do it justice.
It is a fully rotating stand that can hold either spools of filament, or like in my aforementioned case, loose filament. It is designed to easily be created from only one material: 3D printer filament. “Every single component in this spool holder comes right from your 3D printer’s filament,” explained Kiefe. “Next time you need a new filament spool holder, just 3D print one!”
The spindle on the holder is specially shaped so that it can be used with virtually any filaments on the market today. It will work with spools that have shaft holes between 16 mm and 62 mm in diameter as well as unspooled filament coils. It features 3D printed roller wheels that are held in place by small clippings of filament. It also features a rather interesting filament filter, very similar to the “DIY Universal Filament Filter” that we reported on earlier in the month, which will allow you to ensure your filament is dust-free prior to it being extruded. On top of this, also included is an arm for filament guide tubes of both the common filament sizes of 1.75 mm and 3.0 mm.
This is by far the most comprehensive filament holder I have ever seen, and the fact that it is entirely 3D printable makes it even better. I know I will certainly be printing one of these this weekend, so that I never again have to worry about my unspooled filament knotting itself up. What do you think? Have you printed out this filament holder? How does it work? Discuss in the Universal Filament Spool Holder forum thread on 3DPB.com. You can download the files to 3D print your own Universal Filament holder on Thingiverse. Be sure to check out the video below, depicting all of the features on this device: