Spool Storage Boxes

by Skalla_J, published

Spool Storage Boxes by Skalla_J Feb 12, 2017
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Spool Storage Boxes by Skalla_J is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

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Are you tired of throwing away empty filament spools? This project allows you to re-purpose them instead of recycling. It is designed for the Inland filament spools from Micro Center.

A goal of my project was to not only create boxes that fit in the spools, but to make a storage system that is stackable and portable. I also wanted to make drilling the holes for the hinges easy and repeatable.

The files contained here are:
1) 'Reel Box' - you will need four of these per spool.
2) 'Joiners' - two parts, one for the top of the hole in one reel and the bottom of the hole in the other.
3) 'Handle' - two parts, an adapter and the handle.
4) 'Drilling Guide' - assures holes are located where they belong.

There is at least one other project of this type on Thingiverse ("Spool drawer organizer" by Tanatof). I only discovered it a few days ago. Hence, my project is not a copy of that one, but I am happy to see that we have some similar features. Props to Tanatof for a great, attractive design.

Print Settings

Printer Brand:












Two shells are enough, but you can use three if you want added strength.


Hinges are #8 x 2.5

Drill bit is 5/32


The first step is to make a mark on the both edges of the spool to indicate where the first hole on each side will be drilled. Use a square or a suitable square object to make sure both marks are aligned with each other.

Place the Drilling Guide over the reel with the raised 'shoulder' inserted in the center hole. Align the guide to the mark (as pictured), then slowly start drilling. I emphasize slowly because you don't want the drill bit to 'walk'. After the first hole is drilled, simply rotate the Drilling Guide 90 degrees so the pin of the Drilling Guide is over the newly created hole. Repeat for all four holes. Then flip the reel over and repeat, but remember to carefully align the first hole with the mark you made.

Each hinge will require a #8 x 2.5" threaded rod, available at most hardware stores. Use a 5/32" acorn nut to simplify driving the threaded rod through the hole in the box. Take care to keep the rod square with the box as you begin driving it into the hole. Since it is a snug fit, drive it in slowly so you don't create too much heat. When the acorn nut bottoms out to the box, remove it and use a pliers to turn the screw in the remaining couple turns by hand until there is an even amount protruding for both ends.

Fit the protruding threaded rod ends into the new holes in the spool. Repeat for all four boxes. Voila! You have just re-purposed your spool to store small items.

The parts for the Joiners and Handles are quite simple to figure out. You will discover that the Joiners fit very tightly on the inner lip of the spool hole and must be pressed in with some force. That is by design to keep them from falling out, simplifying the task of stacking the spindles together. Use the male threaded Joiner on the top of the lower spindle so the threads go up. The Handle parts thread onto those exposed threads.

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Hey thanks a ton for these! Can you post a reel box with divider file?

I buy all my filament from MakerGeeks and there spools are a little wider then the one you used for this project. Would you be willing to make a taller bin for an opening that is 63mm?
Great project!

Comments deleted.

Any one have some dimensions of spools this works with? Or what brand spools have been used?

It works with coils of what diameter?
Thank you for your work.

This should be showcased on homepage. Extremely underated. Thank you for coming up with it.

Great design! I am very glad to find a way to effectively reuse spools. I use the same ones from Microcenter and they don't have a recycling symbol so while I have recycled them in the past they may have ended up in the trash. This is a great way to use them.

I like the way you made the handle and bottom connector with built in threads.

I am making a very tall one that could be pretty heavy. I decided to modify your design to use a 1/4 inch threaded rod through the center and up through a larger handle to hold it all together. I will credit your design when my remix is done.

Awesome. Designing them in a way to easily be stacked together. Genius. Good job :)

Is there any chance that this can be customized for different heights / diameters? In particular, I really love the handles and would like to be able to join this up with other different size spools

This is an awesome idea. I have tons of this stuff....no wait I just threw them away nooooooooooooooooo.

I saw this somewhere a long time ago, and wasn't able to find it ever since, until now! Great Idea! How am I going to know wether it fits my spools? (PrimaValue spools) Thank you for making this!

very good idea !!
thank you.

Insanely good idea yet failed. I have an XYZ Jr Printer and they use proprietary spools so I was not able to ever use Hatchbox. Feeling creative I decided to build you of my own from the ground up. I had printed the base, center, handle. All that was left was the draws and drilling; however I go to print and the draws say 28-30m each! This means 180 for two half draws on 3 spools. This alone would cost me 40 dollars in plastic and would be easier to go out and buy a self. I deiced to scrap the idea and disappointedly were forced to put my spools to waste once again. I am very curious how you did yours. I obviously took a lot of inspiration from it and admire how you had the great idea of re-purposing these. Did the one you make take 1 and 1/2 200m spools as well.

I look forward to your reply,
Justin :)

I have lots of inland brand empty spools hanging around.. Might give this a shot!

I really like this idea. Great to upcycle these instead of relying on recycling, or worse, throwing them away.

Will be printing soon and trying out. My basement workbench area needs this! Thank you!!

You are welcome. Let us know how it turns out.

Everything but the joiners turned out great. I couldn't get it to fully print where the screw meets the base. Tried it twice with the same results.

Hmm. I cannot reproduce the problem you are having. However, while I don't know the particulars of what slicer software and printer you are using, I did run a repair of the file (https://tools3d.azurewebsites.net/) and reposted it as 'joiners_repaired.stl'. Let me know if that fixed it.

I use S3D for all my slicing. I can tell immediately the difference in the original and repaired file. The repaired file shows infill all the way through, where as the original had a gap. Sending it to the printer now so with any luck we'll be all good! Thank you for your assistance on this!!

Yep! Second set of joiners worked like a charm! Loving the awesome storage compartments now! Thank you again!

Another use for those empty spools. good job

already thought of by someone else but you explain it much better