Universal Filament Holder

by pcdangio, published

Universal Filament Holder by pcdangio Dec 10, 2015
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This is a universal spool roller that will hold your filament while printing. There are a lot of spool roller designs out there, but this one is universal and never requires adjustment. Just grab your spool, drop it on the rollers, and you are ready to go!

The design works with any spool that is larger than 15cm (5.9in) in diameter and less than 10cm (3.9in) wide. This includes spools from MakerBot, Hatchbox, Inland, DFRobot, NinjaFlex, etc.

If you look at the pictures, you will notice one side of the roller has two black guides on it. These are meant to trap one end of the spool so that it can't slide down the length of the rollers. The top of these guides are slanted inwards to make placing the spool easier.

NOTE: I've received requests for a wider base to accommodate new 5Kg spools, which are too wide for the original design. I've added two new parts: Roller (Large) and Base (Large) which extend the design so it can now accommodate spools up to 4.5in (115mm) in width.

Parts List
Here is a list of the parts you will need, including ordering links and cost:

  1. (4x) 608ZZ Ball Bearings ($7)
  2. (18x) M2.5x10 Socket Head Screws ($5)
  3. (4x) 1/2in Rubber Feet ($3)

Tapping the holes first will make your life easier, but isn't necessary.

  1. M2.5 Metric Tap ($10)
  2. Tap Handle ($6)

See post printing for assembly instructions!


Print Settings

Printer Brand:








0.1mm or 0.2mm




Step 1: Insert bearings into rollers.

The roller cylinders are designed so that the 608ZZ bearings can be press-fit into each end. It will be a little tight (by design), so just put your weight onto it or use a hammer lightly to press the bearings into place. They should be flush with the outer edge of the roller cylinder.

Step 2: Tap holes (if you want).

If you have an M2.5 tap, you need to tap all of the holes on "Brace A" and "Brace C". These are the two outermost guides.

Step 3: Assemble rollers and guides.

The two outermost guides, Braces A and C, have axles that are also supposed to be press fit into the bearing. These should be a little looser than the roller cylinders, so don't worry. Press the roller bearings onto Brace A. Then slide Brace B over the two rollers, and use the M2.5 screws to attach Brace B to Brace A. There should be 6 screws to attach them together. Finally, press Brace C onto the other end of the roller bearings.

Step 4: Attach the base plate.

Finally, use the M2.5 screws to attach the base plate to the guides. There should be 12 screws use to attach the base plate. If you have the rubber feet, now is a good time to attach them to the bottom of the base plate.

If you have any questions, please comment or message me. Enjoy!

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Those M2.5 screws you've designed for ... they don't exist here :o I went to 3 different hardware stores, one of them said they used to have them but didn't anymore. M2 and M3 were the only ones I could get :(

Any warping or anything makes the assembly horrible - or, well, if the parts are wobbled and you force them to fit the screw holes the rollers hit the sides of brace B :( had to adjust and skip some screws to make it roll with a spool of filament on.

Other than that, I like the idea and it looks nice :)

Braces are absolute garbage. Break off every single time I try to press the bearings onto the posts.

Chipps, sorry you are having issues. Can you post a picture of how the part is breaking? And can you let me know what printer, settings, and plastic you are using?

First and foremost, this is a beautiful and genius design. I had slight issues getting the 608zz bearings to fit over the braces, but all it took was a little sanding and it fit on snug. Also, the rollers fit very loosely over my 608zz bearings. Those minor issues did not cause any performance issues and the design works great! Thanks!

Printer: Wanhao I3 Plus
Resolution: 0.2mm
Material: PLA
Print Speed: 50mm/s
Fill: 25%

why are the holes in the rollers a cone shape. i had trouble when i printed everything.

The holes in the rollers are cone shaped so that you can print the roller vertically without needing to use any supports or filler material. If the inside of the hole was flat, you'd have to print with supports on, which would be a pain to remove after printing. You could print without supports and instead have the printer bridge that layer, but bridged layers are often saggy. Remnants of removed support material or saggy bridged layers would interfere with the fit of the bearing into the roller. With that particular cone shape, no supports and no bridging are needed. It creates a clean interior that the bearing can press-fit into nicely.

I'm curious what kind of issues you were having when printing the rollers. Did you print the rollers vertically or sideways? Let me know what problem you are having and we can try and find a good solution :)

I printed them vertically but on the top the inside curled up on the cone.
I often have prints curling up on overhangs but i am working on the problem.
I also think the roller needed a brim to keep it stuck.
Right now I am trying again and will let you know if it worked.

Alright, let me know how the second try goes. If it fails again, can you post a picture so I can see what the problem is? Also let me know what your print settings are (e.g. material, resolution, and temp), what printer you are using, and what slicer. Thanks!

The second attempt failed again because it curled up at the top and the nozzle pushed it over.
I edited the top hole in meshmixer so i wasn't a cone and just a hole.
Everything printed fine and i think it will still work.
Nice design btw

Hey there - getting started printing this today, quick question.. Can I get by with 3mm screws? I already have a 3mm tap, would save a few $$$ to not have to buy a 2.5.

I haven't personally tried it, but the plastic should be soft enough for you to thread the M2.5 holes with an M3 tap. Just take it extra slow and back out the tap when needed... you will be removing a lot of material. The only issue I can think of is if the diameter of the tap tip is too wide to fit and bite into the pilot hole. If you are using a high-taper through-hole tap you should be fine, but if all you have is a blind tap you may be out of luck.

Let me know how it goes!

Ultimately decided that 3mm would be too big for the taps into the bottoms of the rails. Then couldn't find any metric taps locally, so instead I went with 4-40 tap and screws and it worked out great.

Did have an issue where the bearings were fitting too loosely into the rollers, and the the roller was spinning around the bearing rather than on it - I ended up having to glue the bearings into the rollers to fix that.

Thanks again.

Glad you were able to get it working with the 4-40 screws.

As for the bearings being loose... did you print the parts as is or did you scale them at all?

I printed as-is using PLA. One bearing fit nice and snug, the other three were loose.

I had to print the rollers a couple of times. Initially, I experienced some deformity in the initial 1/4 - 1/2 inch that printed - it was "shrunken in" a bit compared to the rest of the roller (see pics). I haven't figured out why this happened (if you have insight, please fill me in), but the problem repeated on a subsequent run. Ultimately to make it stop I had to add supports up under that first hollow area through CURA. That little bit of support seemed to hold things from shrinking in as that first part printed.

Still very new to this, so anything you see that bears pointing out, please do.


I'm having an issue with the spool falling off when they get a little light on filament.. Any ideas on how to fix this?

Hmmm, which way are they falling off? And what material is the spool made of?

Pulling over the top and it's made of PLA.

Where is your spool/roller positioned relative to your printer? And which direction is the filament getting pulled off the spool from, relative to the spool roller?

If you aren't doing so already, make sure that the filament is fed underneath the spool (not over the top). If the filament is being fed over the top of the spool and getting pulled sideways, I could see the spool getting pulled off the roller once it gets light enough.

Let me know thanks!

I have this issue too. PLA (Hatchbox, 1.75mm PLA). Feed is over the top, pulling horizontal. Here's a couple pics: https://imgur.com/a/lB2hC

I have been using masking tape and a pen to keep the spool from going walkies, but that's a real kludge. Any ideas how to prevent this?

Shot in the dark here, but could you widen the base and rollers by 10mm? I'm trying to find a good roller set up for 5KG rolls from 3dxtech. They are exactly 4 inches wide, so an additional 10mm should do the trick. Thanks!

I added two new parts, Roller (Large) and Base (Large). This extends the design to support up to 4.5in (115mm) spools. Happy printing!

You rock! Thanks!

I really like your design. This is the solution I was looking for.

I made one out of Hatchbox PTEG. Had to use a 10mm skirt in Slicr3 around the base of the rollers to keep them stuck to the print bed on the PEI on my Prusa i3 MK2

Thank you very much for sharing your design

I like the design. I made it. I printed mine in ABS, so I scaled it +1% to compensate for shrinkage. It seems like the rollers are a little too tight end to end, and the shiny rollers often stay locked in place. This is more common the lighter the spool seems to be. I'll work on it a bit and see if I can remedy the situation at all. I was half tempted to try and modify the design to allow me to use a TPU sleeve for the roller. I think that would help give the spool more traction. Really though, that would just ultimately put more stress on the extruder, so maybe I just need to figure out if I can get it to spin more freely.

Glad you like the design! Can you elaborate a little more on where the tightness is for the rollers? Are they rubbing on another component?

I imagine some tightness could be created if you scaled it up 1% and the shrinkage was less than 1%, meaning the part came out larger than it was designed to be. If so, that would cause the rollers to rub on the sides of the braces. The way it is designed, the rollers should not be in contact with anything at all (except for the bearing of course). If you believe that this problem may be the case, you might want to experiment with lower scaling values.

If you'd like, I can take a look at my CAD drawings tonight and let you know what the exact dimensions should be after printing.

Since I printed all the pieces at +1%, I figured that even if the shrinkage was more/less, all the parts should still be to the same scale. My main concern was fitting the non-printed bearings into the parts. With ABS' normal shrinkage, that probably would have been very difficult. I may try reprinting the cylinder parts, but dropping the height down a percent or two, while leaving the X and Y untouched.

Nothing really rubs that I can see. I think there is just too much pressure between the A and C brace to allow motion as smoothly as it should happen. That mixed with the lack of grip on the rollers means that some times the rollers don't spin when the spool is turning. Some times the rollers do spin.

Best roller I have come across. Implementation of bearings and screws really makes it sturdy and perform great. The 100% 3D printed Ted rollers I have tried have all been lacking in a few ways.

Thank you very much!

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