Multiple Filament Dry Holder and Dispenser (Updated 9/19/2013)

by MarkTecWizard, published

Multiple Filament Dry Holder and Dispenser (Updated 9/19/2013) by MarkTecWizard Apr 3, 2013
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Update - I have three improvements See first two Pictures
1 - The changing of spools was difficult because one of the closet pole shaft holder is totally enclosed and the shaft would not lift straight up. I replaced the enclosed closet pole holder with a 1/2 enclosed pole holder with one from a second set. It is now much easier to change the spools.
2 - The spools would slide back and forth on the shaft during movement and once one of the spools started turning another spool while printing causing the other filament to unravel on the spool. I added tie wraps between each spool and left the tail on to keep the spools separate.
3 - I found when changing filaments the plug was hard to remove and replace. I drilled 1/4 inch holes in the top and added a 3 inch piece of teflon tubing secured with a tie wrap. (don't use 1/4 inch tube from Home depot it is HPFE and it has a lot of friction McMaster has PTFE tubing). When the filament is not in use I loop the end back into the tube which prevents it from slipping back into the bin.

I designed this holder to solve three problems. 1 - PLA needs to be stored in a dry environment to prevent moisture absorption into the PLA which cause printing problems 2 - The Replicator 2 needs to be moved and turned around to change filaments. 3 - The removal of the spool from the spool shaft is a struggle.

This design solves all three problems.


Materials and Price
KIS 17 Quart Omni Box Kmart Item# 011W845995110001 $6.74
Home Depot
Charlotte Pipe 1 in. x 2 ft. PVC Sch. 40 Plain End Pipe Model # PVC 04010 0200 $1.90
Closet Pro 1-3/8 in. White Metal Closet Pole Sockets Model # RP-0039-WT25 $2.72
Crown Bolt #6-32 x 1/2 in. Zinc-Plated Steel Round-Head Machine Screws (8-Pack) $1.19
Crown Bolt #6 Zinc-Plated Steel Flat Washers (30-Pack) Model # 19791 $1.19
Frost King E/O 3/4 in. x 10 ft. Rubber Foam Tape Model # R534H $3.48
Dry-Packs 1-Ounce Moisture Absorbing Silica Gel Indicating Packet B001UYEBNW $5.50
Ace Hardware
Super Lube® Synthetic Grease (21030) Item no: 8138307 $7.49 (also used to grease z axis rod)
McMaster Carr - 5033K31 Extreme-temp Tubing Made With Teflon Ptfe 1/8" Id, 1/4" Od, 1/16" Wall, Semi-clear White, 10 Ft. Length $ 3.73 per foot

Build Instructions
1 - Cut the PVC Pipe to 13"
2 - Mount the Closet Pole sockets in the center and as high as possible without the reel hitting the top lid (use a second open socket to allow for easier spool removal.
3 - Place the reels on the PVC pipe and insert into container and into the sockets. Add tie wraps between spools to stop shifting and spool to spool interference.
4 - Place the lid on the top and drill 1/4 inch holes at the center of each reel at the edge of the top of the container.
5 - Remove the lid and apply the foam tape to the lid at the edge where the lead meets the container.
6 - Add 3" piece of PTFE tube into each hole and thread the filaments through each of the tubes.
7 - Pull on the filaments and decide if grease is necessary. To apply remove the shaft and apply a small amount of grease to the shaft using a rubber glove. I used the grease and it made filament dispensing easier but it is a little messy when you change spools.
8 - If using the tubing this part is not needed. Print the filament holder plug and thread the filament through the plug small side down. This plug stops the filament from falling into the container and creates a seal when not in use The thing file has ears holding them together to prevent the parts from lifting courtesy of whpthomas Ear Raft - Makerware Print Aid thing 2872 . I use them all the time now to prevent small parts from lifting.
9 - Place the container at the back of the unit and position the filament to be used near the feed tube. I removed the feed tube and used a tie wrap to hold the tube in place. Align the tube to the hole and insure the filament feeds easily.

I love that my stock is stored in sealed dry containers and that I can have 3 to 4 colors readily available for printing.

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When I downloaded the plug, it downloads less than 1mm wide total width. Something has happened to the file and I can't get it to scale larger. Anyway you can upload this again or give instructions on how to scale this up? Thanks for your help!

Hello Brad The plugs are a waste of time. I thought it would help keep them dryer. The small holes are not an issue and the plugs are not worth the effort. I now use clear tape to plug up holes that I drilled in places because of different hub widths. Also I use 1/4 inch holes in the top to let the filament come out.

Thanks for this idea, Mark! I used your basic concept with the following mods:

  1. I found that 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe fits the reels nicely so I used it.
  2. With the larger dia pipe, the closet rod holders would not work so I designed holders to fit the 1 1/2 pipe and printed 2 copies.
    They are both "halves" for easy pipe removal.
  3. I used a single M4 screw through the center of the printed holders using "fender" washers on the inside and outside
    to distribute the force on the thin plastic box.
  4. I sawed off the excess screw lengths with a Dremel tool.

Also, looking on-line I found that you can make your own desicant "bags" using Kitty Liter (a certain kind, like pure silica) and tea bags (empty them first)! I'm going to build another box because I have more than 4 reels.

Your solution is a compact, cheap, and easy to implement design.

Great improvements.

How do you have your hood for your printer? I see you used a Tupperware on top, but do you have a "outtake" fan? How are the fumes on your setup.. I would really like to see a picture of that setup! I made a box out of a pvc frame and put an inline fan blowing the fumes out... but the box is becoming a pain.. unfortunately I do not have a metal frame on mine and I was hoping to avoid altering the wood frame.

I use the same box as in the material list and I cut a T Slot in the long side of the box. I covered the edge with clear packing tape because there was a sharp edge after cutting. The bottom of the T allows the cable and feeder tube to pass through and the top of the T allows the lateral movement. I created the top specifically to stop external cold air from blowing onto the build and causing poor layer adhesion. This top has worked out for me. For the sides I use clear plastic film like from a zip lock bag. It acts like a curtain so cold air will not blow in from the sides. If you still need a picture post another comment.

Yes Please share some photos.. I'd appreciate it. Also I am having trouble keeping my filament from jumping over to other rolls.. how did you prevent this?

How has this worked for you? The PLA I use has such a strong "memory" I'm concerned that it will try to twist 180 degrees or bind when going over the top doing a sort of "back bend".

I do not have a problem with twisting. I pull some out of the box and then feed it into the tube and it finds its own position that does not seem to bind or "twist" as it goes through the feeder tube. I do sometimes have a problem with the filament falling over the edge of the spool and when I load it and it is a pain to get it to stay between the spool sides as I place the cover back on.

Love it!
I will try it for Nylon and will use a small hygrometer to see when the silica needs to be dried.

Love it! Thanks for the inspiration!

Great idea?
Is this designed for 1.75mm or 3mm?

Could be for either size.

Could be for either size.

Also stops dust buildup. Nice!

I was going to include the dust wiper thing that is posted on Thingiverse but I decided that since the material is always covered it is unnecessary.