Accessories evolution: Spindle holders!

Even things that are peripheral to the RepRap and makerbot are going through some remarkable evolution! It not that strange, because they can really make life a lot easier. Some accessories, like spindle holders, are worth some trouble. So I decided to scratch the itch (lesson 1 from the Cathedral and the Bazaar). My itch was a jammed supply of filament that ruined a print job. Also, I had the impression that under the wrong circumstances the extruder would be able to pull the entire RepRap from my desk. The plastics from bits from bytes already come on really nice spindles. While more expensive, it’s a lot more convenient than in this form:

I had already designed a holder to roll this filament onto. It is a tedious job if you don’t want to make a total mess, because the coils will get entangled into each other:

But once you have it rolled onto the spindle you’re set for many hours of printing.

My own, first version.

After a while, it got picked up by Cidvilas else who made it much better!

The improved version by CidVilas

Cidvilas mentioned some problems that still needed to be addressed:

  • Spindle spins so freely that the filament itself would probably unwind itself slowly. In the future i would like to add a screw that can be tightened which adds friction to the sides. Keeping the spindle from spinning ‘too’ freely.
  • The Spindle is slightly underweight and with enough lateral force could topple. To address this issue simply attach something heavy to the base. Or add an additional acrylic piece perpendicular to the current stand to increase the base size.

At least one of these issues was fixed marvellously in a third iteration. To some it might seem like it’s perfect already, but there is often someone who thinks he can even improve on that design and make it better! That’s the beauty of open design, it often takes multiple people to make several consecutive improvements, and open design enables and encourages people to permissionlessly improve designs.

The third iteration by builttospec. Is it perfect yet?


Now this spindle holder requires a laser cutter to make, it’s more convenient if we could print it out! That’s what tbfleming came up with:

Very elegant, requires little printing. I wanted to apply this principle to my Bits From Bytes spindle, but still couldn’t resist making it more complicated. Still, I like how it came out:

I designed a new plastic holder made of plastic! Self-providing tools rock!
Because I had these three lovely colours, I printed it three times.
For more pictures, view my RepRap picasa albums or view it on

I wondered whether it will be remixed and improved! If you want to keep your eyes on the digital design market for spindle holders, keep your eyes on the ‘filament’ Thingiverse tag!

Update (26/01/10), another improved version has been published on Thingiverse by tbflemming:

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Jacky2k says:

    I am seraching for someone who can build me a basic set for a RepRap Mendel.
    Would be nice if you could contact me.

  2. Tombo9999 says:

    Erik, sorry to bother you for such a silly question, but where did you buy those “lovely colours”?
    Thanks, Luca