While designers, enthusiasts, and hobbyists may have lots of at-home 3D printing needs today, it’s impossible to turn ideas and projects into completed parts without a steady supply of good filament…and that can get pricey if you don’t know where to look for affordable materials. But the other issue that comes part and parcel with purchasing lots of 3D printing filament is what to do with the plastic spool holders it comes on once they’re empty. These spool holders can take up a lot of unnecessary storage space if you decide to keep them, and if not recycled properly, they can end up in a landfill, contributing to our global waste problem.
The 3D printing community knows that it’s important to reduce the industry’s plastic consumption, and UK filament manufacturer 3D Print Works has highlighted this problem as a major business motivation. That’s why it’s joined the Masterspool project, designed by RepRap pioneer Richard Horne – better known as RichRap.
Horne, already well-known for his projects such as the open source, 3D printed universal pellet extruder, has experience with developing ideas that solve real problems faced by 3D enthusiasts, such as filament spools.
Having seen a similar idea first from Thingiverse designer Dingoboy71, Horne designed the Masterspool, which is currently on its fourth design iteration and comes in two 3D printable parts, available on Thingiverse. The first component screws into the second one, which creates a reusable holder that can then be loaded up with refill spools of filament.
According to Duncan Campbell in a 3D Print Works blog post, the “Masterspool eradicates the need for traditional spools which can be heavy and most often create unwanted plastic.”
The company is now hard at working designing refillable spools that are compatible with the Masterspool design. 3D Print Works packages the spools in vacuum resealable foil bags, so they won’t be damaged during shipping and product quality won’t suffer.
The bag also allows users to store filament for future use in a protective, moisture-free container – if filament doesn’t stay dry, failed print jobs can ensue. The resealable bags also come with stickers, so users can label and organize their filament.
The Masterspool V4 was designed so reusable zip ties can latch around it without needing to take the filament off – this way, the refillable spools won’t untangle if you need to remove a partially used one.
Even better – the filament that 3D Print Works is selling to go with the Masterspool is affordable. Right now, the company is offering 750 gram reels of 1.75 mm PLA filament for just £17.99, while refills in the same color variation are going for £13.99.
“We are a UK based filament manufacturer, we just joined the Masterspool Project, ultimately to reduce our plastic waste output and get cheaper filament to our customers. I’m trying to reach out to 3D enthusiasts at the moment to spread the word and get people on board,” Campbell told 3DPrint.com.
“We are happy to support the project here in the UK. looking forward to seeing how the project develops even further!”
3D Print Works promises that over the next few months, it will keep listening to the greater 3D printing community for feedback, while it continues to develop its refillable spools for the RichRap Masterspool project.
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