Spool Holder / Marble Machine

by LoboCNC Dec 30, 2015
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I completely like it (I like the theme of it) :)

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Well, it is a marble machine, after all.

That looks great! Good job!

Bro my printer is loud enough as it is

Can you make a marble that s the exact size because people do not have marbles that size.

It's just a common airsoft bb

You're my hero. Such win!

I have a suggestion for an add-on for this. Make another part that has a track on both sides, the idea being able to run two spools next to each other for dual extruder machines instead of having to have two separate sets of the current holders. so it would basically be the current left side holder, then a center dual track holder, and then the current right side track. Keep the same threaded connectors, and then you could even make a three, or four spool holder if you wanted by just adding on center sections. I would possibly suggest taking the squiggly ball return track out of the center section, and just making them straight just for space saving reasons. This would greatly reduce the foot print on my desk of two separate sets of filament holders.

Made one of the non slim version, and really love the concept.

Using airsoft pellets, with a smooth set of tracks, i find that the weight of the spools often pushes the pellets away from things, so they just bunch above and below, or sometimes pop out of the track. Tried metal bb's and they were not so bad as expected but decided the occasional metal bb popping out might not be wise near DIY electronics.

One of the possibilities is to order 6mm bearing balls (~16usd for 1500 of the things on amazon) of the metal variety and hope they like to stay put. or considering putting out the money for a bunch of 6mm ceramic balls. Harder to source, but might just work. :)

What diameter spools are you using? If the spool diameter is too small, it'll shove the balls around like you describe.

All standard 1kg - solutech pla and petg, esun abs and pla, sunlu pla, gizmodorks hips. Haven't tried my smaller spools on it.

I'm also wondering if quality of the airsoft pellets matters, these are cheapies from walmart.

Hmm, I haven't had this problem on my versions. Have you tried sanding the track underneath the spool rims to make sure it is completely smooth?

Did some basic smoothing, will grab a dremmel and give it another go this week and update. :)

super cool, however I hesitate to print anything that will make my printer even louder :P

Genius! I probably will print this soon!

So I printed this, and came out gourgeous. Only issue is the bbs I got kept getting hung up at parts. Used the slim version so...
Would like some help!

The ball channels need to be completely smooth for the balls to roll properly. Try taking a piece of steel wool or wadded up sand paper and run it all along the channels to remove any lumps.

WTF!!!! This noice!!!

Is there a version for the smaller metal bbs?

The BBs need to be at least as wide as the rims of the spool, so I don't think the smaller metal BBs will work.

This design is so cool! Kudos , and thanks for sharing !

When will it play the marble machine? :D https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvUU8joBb1Q
Still this is really cool

Errr... Am i the only one thinking Airsoft bb pellets?
Cheap as chips!

Way cool design, pretty damn awesome dude :-D
Although 22 seconds of that noise was starting to drive me crazy lmao

Actually, the description and the post printing instructions specify airsoft bb's/pellets. And they are cheap.

Glad you like the design, but you are right, it'll drive you batty after a while.

Great minds think alike ;-)
Must admit i didnt read the description. lol.
Just saw the comments about printing the bb's

This is too... wow!

Are there 3D files for the pellets? I don't have any and I figured I would ask before taking the time (however small it may be) to design them myself.

Genius idea btw

I've tried to 3D print balls and they don't work well, you'd have to make hemispheres and stick 'em together and that'd only work with big ones.... But you can get cheap bearings on some of the mail order sites if you wait a while.

A lot of toy stores or hobby stores will have plastic pellets made for BB-gun / soft-gun, and you should be able to get a whole bunch of them for a very small price. You will have a lot of spares as well in case some of them roll under a couch or into a dogs mouth

No, the pellets wouldn't print up nearly round enough for them to roll nicely.

This is gonna drive me insane hearing balls drop for hours if not days sometimes but I like it and I need it haha xD

Could you make the angles at the end of the slim version a bit steeper so the balls roll back in better? Especially if it's not totally level.

I'll look into it if I can get some time...

I love this, and it's just what I needed for the spool I bought that doesn't fit on the built in holder on my printer.

So fun ~ maybe can remix one for Prusa i3 haha .

Creative idea i like it

When I first looked at this I thought 'How random, why would I want a marble run in my filament holder' now the penny has dropped and it's made my day - a beautiful piece of Steam Punkery, hat's off to you!

You know how sometimes you come across something and you just stop, and your mouth drops open and you just think OMG THAT IS {insert expletive of choice} BRILLIANT?

Yeah, I just had that. Absolutely love this.

Hey, thanks! Although you might not think it is so #[email protected]&% brilliant after listening to the balls rattling for 5 or 6 hours :)

Any idea if adding more pellets to the tracks deadens the sound? I do love the design!

Each ball, as it falls, needs a little momentum so that it travels all the way around back to the back edge of the spool. If you have too many balls, they'll probably just get stuck at the bottom edge of the track.

If the musical whine of the stepper motors hasn't sent me up the clock tower yet, I think I can survive this. :D

Thank you! You made my day! It's super awesome!

My wife would KILL ME...

This is the best and most annoying design I've seen adding 3D printER and creativity together. Annoying because I spend half my time eliminating rattles of all sorts, and then i find myself wanting to print this. Great job!

unfortunately the balls do not roll properly. they stop before the spool starts at the edge which causes a jam

If the printed part is not perfectly smooth, you may need to run a bit of sandpaper in the ball slots to make the balls roll smoothly.

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why didnt you enter this in the filament challenge it probly would have won

Thanks! Unfortunately I didn't think of this until after the contest...

Love this design! It inspired me to make my own, and I hope you don't mind that I kept your ingenious screw design:

I don't mind at all. Thanks for the attribution.

Oh, this is frikkin' brilliant! Congrats! Nice work!

Can you publish the Solid Works files? I need to change the radius of the spool and make the conecting screws longer. In Europe it looks like the spools are usually smaller in diameter and wider. I have 10 spools here with 160-180mm diameter, so the grooves may also be trenched deeper...

I've just added the Solidworks files for the "slim" version. The design is a little bit of a mess, but you are welcome to go at it.

Great! Thanks!

great idea!!! can you make it customizable?

Unfortunately, I designed it using Solidworks which doesn't really work with the Thingiverse customizer.

how to do you get the balls?

buy them at walmart or some other store that carries airsoft bb's

Just search for "airsoft pellets" or "airsoft BBs" - thousands of stores carry them so you should be able to find them locally or on Amazon.

Wow that's actually really cool!

Impressively creative! The noise of the falling balls would probably drive me crazy in a hurry though. Chuckle.
(Come to think of it, i could have used the noise to let me know yesterday when the extrusion stalled....Kezat is right. I lost the darned print two hours in. Most annoying.)

Very creative! Nice job as always!

Extremely creative. You're quite the designer, thanks!

This is hilarious.

Good stuff!

Thanks for the kind comments! Note I've added revised files for the right and left sides that are a little slimmer and more stylish.

We totally loved your spool holder LoboCNC! :-D

Thanks for sharing the files and video.

I like it!
A added bonus is you know if you get a extruder jam as you will stop hearing the falling balls.