Besides learning how to level the print surface and properly apply kapton tape to my heated bed, I had to learn a hard lesson about using spooled ABS filament when I’m printing. I was told that anything more than 1 lb would be difficult to deal with unspooled, but since I was just dealing with 1-lb packages, I figured I’d throw them on the bar and print away. This ruined at least three prints. At some point in the middle of the print, the filament would become so tangled that I’d have to cancel the print to untangle (or cut) it so I could continue. (I tried pausing and restarting a print. It didn’t work, but I’m not 100% familiar with all the settings yet.)
So, I needed to get a spool. I didn’t have any laying around from empty filament yet, so I figured I’d head over to Lowe’s or Menard’s to get one. Neither had them. What was I to do? Sure, I could fashion one from cardboard, wood or other stuff laying around the house, and then it hit me… I have a 3D printer. I’ll make my own damn spool.
I loaded up some CAD software and quickly mocked up a little spool half. I printed it (in ABS), and the results were pretty nice. I printed a second half and bonded the two together with acetone. (Acetone used in small doses is an EXCELLENT glue for ABS.) The second half didn’t turn out as perfect due to bed leveling issues (as discussed in an earlier post), but I’m pretty happy with it for a production piece. It’s pretty solid, doesn’t use a TON of plastic, and has a few little holes built in so I can easily stick some filament through the holes to get it started. (I originally printed it with smaller holes, but later enlarged them. Both sizes ended up working though.)
If you’d like to download a copy of the STL file I made, you can grab a copy over at Thingiverse.
UPDATE: The 2.2 kg spool of ABS filament I bought from Lulzbot came pre-knotted for my convenience. About 10 minutes into the print, I looked over and the printer was wobbling. I inspected closer, and found that the filament was tied under itself in the middle of the spool. I had to cut the line and cancel my print before anything got further messed up. Way to screw me over Lulzbot! I hope the filament I bought from Ultimachine works out a little better…