"Frictionless" PLA spool holder for overhanging mod

by Verdris, published

"Frictionless" PLA spool holder for overhanging mod by Verdris Aug 5, 2013
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I work in an environment where I can't babysit the 3D printers all the time. After fully upgrading our Replicator 2 with the extruder upgrades, glass build plate, and overhanging filament spool holder, I thought everything would be great, but we were still losing prints.

The epiphany came when I was watching the printer in action and realized that the 3/8" threaded rod we were using as the support is -- get this -- threaded!! I watched as the filament slowly made its way to the extreme right of the holder, and then when the extruder head zipped back to the front left of the build plate, the sudden tension ripped the filament right out of the extruder.

So, I devised this little upgrade.


These instructions are assuming you're using 3/8" threaded rod and standard MakerBot PLA spools. If not, you'll need to make obvious adjustments. I'm including the .sldprt file so you can do just that.

You'll need some nylon tube from McMaster-Carr (or wherever) that is 9/16" OD x 7/16" ID, a la http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/119/3596/=nxr4ou. Print two of these spool holders and install them as shown in the images.

Put the nylon tube over the threaded rod. I needed about 15.75" of tube, your needs may vary.

Enjoy frictionless printing! We've been getting wonderful parts with no losses whatsoever.

The nylon tube thing also works fine with MatterHackers spools (no inserts required), but I've found that they're so tightly wound near the end of the spool that it messes with our printer.

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I totally sympathize with your need for this. Our Rep 2 would always fail prints if you were not baby sitting it. I suggest trying out the High Tension Hinge upgrade I made and is on my profile. I no longer have to babysit the printer and have left 8 hour prints run with no one around with no problems. It also lets you print with Nylon 618 without any slippage. I hope this helps. Let me know if it does.

what about for the matterhackers spools? anything for those?

I've found that their ID is small enough such that you don't really need anything.

How is it 'frictionless' ? Don't see any magnets, nor fluid bearings.

It's frictionless in the sense that friction is negligible. I heard the term "frictionless" more than enough times during undergrad that I feel entitled to throw it around recklessly. But I'll adjust the title just for you!