$10 DIY Makerbot filament spool

I can’t believe it took this long, but I finally had a bad filament tangle last week, and a few aborted prints because my old setup wasn’t working. I really needed to get my filament spooled so that it would nicely dispense, and not jam, tangle, or unspool.

I really love the way the official makerbot kit looks, and I bet it really works smoothly. I just don’t have $90 sitting around. I’ve already spent that on ABS, relays, arduinos, and prusa parts!

I went down to the old Home Depot and picked up a cheap ($8) extension cord spool and a few feet of nylon water tubing. My extruder hasn’t had any trouble with its grip, so this creation has the extruder just pull the filament off the spool. I drilled out the handle and carefully spooled the ABS on the spool. THAT took a while, but it’s way better than having to constantly babysit the machine.



It has worked flawlessly for three prints today, and I’m really happy with that. I’m probably going to try to cut down or cut off the handle. I can see it snagging on some wires and making a huge mess out of things. I hope this helps someone!

4 Responses to $10 DIY Makerbot filament spool

  1. How has this been working out for you over the long term?
    I just ordered the parts for a prusa and have been reading on up the various approaches to filemant spooling.

    I too am tempted by the makerbot filament spool, but the dimensions are a little small and im pretty sure the reprap wont sit sturdily on top of it.

  2. Dek – I haven’t has a single problem with it yet. My makerbot has been broken and fixed a few times since then, but the spool keeps on turning. The only thing to do is to make sure it doesn’t snag the handle on wires or flip itself over. I’m planning on taking the handle off at some point so that will fix that.

    I like the concept of the printable spools, but they all use some threaded rod and some use bearings. If I’m going to have to buy something for this, I’d rather not have to spend a whole day printing parts as well.

    Give it a shot!

  3. Yes! You did help. I’ve tried six times to print out someone’s spool and for some reason it will not stick to the BP. This was a SLAM DUNK. I live close to the Depot and just dropped in – got it and am a happy camper. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Holy crap!.. This totally works!.. man a million thanks!
    You really need a donate button or something.. Tangling filament has cost me many failed prints, and so far this has worked like a charm! Again thank You!!! .. only thing I will suggest is NOT to cut the handle off.. it works great for winding up filament. I also wound up the filament through the drinking line tubing. This made a tight and even wind on the spool..

    John