Amateur Designer Uses K’NEX Kit to Create a Cheap 3D Printing Filament Spool Holder
Back in 1992, Joel Glickman invented a construction toy system he called K’NEX, and it’s roughly like, and in direct market competition, with Lego, Tinkertoys, and Meccano.
A lot like the Tinkertoy, the tiny building system is made up of interlocking plastic rods, connectors, gears, wheels and various other components which are pieced together to form models, machines, and architectural structures. It all began when Glickman, while at a wedding, began playing with a straw and wondering if he could connect it with other straws. Glickman and his brother, Bob, started the K’NEX company and launched the toy on the US market in 1993.
K’NEX tried to peddle their invention to the the four largest toy companies, Hasbro, Mattel, Lego, and Tyco, but they got shot down in each attempt. So the Glickmans went straight to the toy retailing giant, Toys R Us, and as a result, the brothers produced and sold K’NEX directly. The K’NEX system is now distributed in more than 25 countries.
“When I first got my Printrbot Simple, I used a lazy susan from the kitchen to hold my filament,” she says. “This worked exactly as poorly as it sounds like it would. Lacking access to a laser cutter to make a wooden one – or the money to buy a spool stand – I improvised one with the only building material I had: K’NEX.”
And the spool is simple indeed.
“This is made with only red and yellow sticks, and purple, white, and red connectors,” she says. “The structure itself doesn’t have any wheels or axles, but the spool spins freely on the bar at the top.”
Manthony7 adds that she’s also made the system versatile enough to handle a variety of different materials from various manufacturers.
“This works for my Pet + filament spool, in the tall skinny spools with the big hole,” she says. “If you have Matterhackers filament – or other filament in wide spools with small holes – skip step 6 or use my other instructable.”
To make the system function in the most effective way, the designer says how you load the filament is a key.
“Make sure that the filament is coming off the top of the spool when you load it,” she says. “This makes it easier for your 3D printer to pull. It’s at a really good height for my Printrbot Simple, but if you want it taller, you can always scale up by using the next size bars.”
The designer says that the device only needs common K’NEX pieces and four bearings that fit over the rods. She used 608 bearings, and those bearings are commonly used in skateboards and 3D printers. Have you ever seen any other 3D printing accessories which use existing building blocks to make printing easier? Let us know in the K’NEX 3D Printing Filament Spool forum thread on 3DPB.com.
You May Also Like
Interview with Scott Sevcik, VP Aerospace Stratasys, on 3D Printing for Aviation and Space
Out of all the possible industries that are deploying more 3D printers, aerospace is probably the most exciting. By reducing the weight of aircraft components, by iterating more, by integrating...
Researchers Use Autodesk Ember 3D Printer to Characterize 3D Printed Lenses
In the recently published ‘Characterization of 3D printed lenses and diffraction gratings made by DLP additive manufacturing,’ international researchers studied digital fabrication of optical parts using DLP 3D printing. Examining...
3D Printing in Dental Prosthetics: The Effects of Parameters on Fit & Gap
In the recently published ‘Effects of Printing Parameters on the Fit of Implant-Supported 3D Printing Resin Prosthetics,” authors Gang-Seok Park, Seong-Kyun Kim, Seong-Joo Heo, Jai-Young Koak, and Deog-Gyu Seo delve...
Longer3D Launches the Orange 10, Affordable SLA 3D Printer
3D printer manufacturer Longer3D has launched a highly competitive resin printer, the Longer Orange 10, an affordable SLA 3D printer with performance and specs that position it competitively in its...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.