COMPLETE Dry spool box

Discussion in 'Guides, Mods, and Upgrades' started by Sarah Nicholson, May 6, 2016.

  1. Sarah Nicholson

    Sarah Nicholson Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't quite sure where to post this, as it's not quite a mod and I didn't make it on a BigBox either, but it is FOR my BigBox, so.... here it is.

    A couple of things I'm really looking forward to printing with on my BigBox are soluble support and nylon. However both E3D's Scaffold and nylon are quite hygroscopic and will absorb water rather readily from the atmosphere, so I created a simple sealed box to hold the spools while printing.

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    What you will need:

    • A suitable container that will fit the size of spools you want to use. I was going to make two single reel boxes, but couldn't find anything both tall and wide enough, so in the end I used a larger box that can hold two spools. The box I used was this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001CMUOBK
    • A length of M8 threaded rod slightly longer than the width of your box, 2x M8 nuts (ideally one Nyloc and one regular) and 2x M8 washers
    • Some M4 and M5 screws, nuts and washers. I used M4 x 14mm and M5 x 6mm socket cap screws.
    • Some threaded pneumatic fittings - M5 thread 4mm ID. One for each spool/filament exit point.
    • Some PTFE tubing 4mm OD 2mm ID (Bowden tubing)
    • A suitable dessicant. I use reusable silica gel in a fine nylon mesh bag, with some indicator gel mixed in so I can see when it needs drying out.
    • Optionally a hygrometer. I used this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00CGZYFO4
    • Bearings for spool reels. 2x 608ZZ for each large spool reel, 2x 688ZZ for each small spool reel.
    • Printed parts:
      • 2x axle plate inner, 2x axle plate outer
      • 1x filament plate inner and 1x filament plate outer for each spool and filament exit point
      • 1x axle spacer
      • Suitable spool reels. The large size fits most spools with 50-55mm inner hubs, e.g. E3D, ColorFabb, 3DPrima, eSun. The small size fits Taulman spools. The STL is for half a reel so you will need two for each spool.
      • Optional - 2x M8 wingnut
      • Optional - x3 dessicant retainer inner bar and x2 dessicant retainer outer plate
      • Optional - x2 hygrometer mount inner and 2x hygrometer mount outer

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    Putting it together is pretty simple. Work out the centre point of your spool and drill an 8mm hole in each side of the box for the threaded rod. Mount the axle outer plates and mark the holes then drill 4mm holes for each screw. Press M4 nuts into the recesses in the inner plate, and screw the inner and outer parts together.

    For the filament plates, decide where you want the filament to exit. I actually installed two for each spool, one that comes out the side and one that comes out the top to make it easier to guide the filament to different extruders. The outer plate has an extra hole in the bottom of the T, this is to put a short M5 screw in to swap for the pneumatic fitting and cover up the hole when it's not in use.

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    Drill a 2mm hole for the filament, then put a small piece of scrap filament through and use that to align the inner plate, then mark the two holes at the sides of the T and drill 4mm holes. Don't drill a hole for the bottom hole in the T. Press M4 nuts into the two recesses in the inner plate, and M5 nuts into the recesses in the outer plate. Mount the outer plate with the nuts against the box wall, screw the inner and outer plates together and fit the pneumatic fitting and spare M5 screw. The M5 screw needs to be very short, I used 6mm.

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    If you want to make it a bit fancier (and I'm sure someone told me that if something's worth doing, it's worth overdoing...) you can add a few other bits and pieces. I added some inner bars to hold my bag of silica gel in place. If you want to use these you'll need to scale the bars horizontally to fit your box. My box tapers so they are slightly different lengths, but you can just use a longer screw to hold them so it's not too critical to get the length exact.

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    I also put in a mount for a small hygrometer since I had a bunch of them lying around from trying to track down a damp problem and balance my central heating. It helps to check that the box is staying tightly sealed but isn't really necessary if you use indicator silica gel.

    When you want to print with it, just push a spare length of PTFE tube into the pneumatic fitting and use that to guide the filament to your extruder.

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    When you print the parts with the nut recesses, you may need to scale them slightly or tweak extrusion to suit your printer so that the nuts press in tightly. My K8400 isn't the most accurate with small holes so the tolerances on them are quite large. The STLs are also simple enough that 123Design should be able to convert them back to solids if you want to adjust them that way. None of the parts need any support, I printed them in PLA with 30% infill.
     

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    #1 Sarah Nicholson, May 6, 2016
    Last edited: May 7, 2016
  2. R Design

    R Design Well-Known Member

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    Exemplary.

    Never seen such perfectly embedded hexagonal nuts! ;)
     
  3. Springfield-Jack

    Springfield-Jack Well-Known Member

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  4. Sarah Nicholson

    Sarah Nicholson Well-Known Member

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  5. Miasmictruth

    Miasmictruth Well-Known Member

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    Stop making awesome projects that I need to do I am too far behind as it is lol

    Fantastic write up I actually really need to do this so double thanks!

    Two small and non necessary ideas for this.
    1. They make plugs for pneumatic fittings to cap them when not in use, they just slid in and out like airline, it would make your swaps much quicker.

    2. This one is definitely not necessary using a flexible filament you should be able to create a gasket around the hygrometer, then you could make a cutout making it easier to read.
     
  6. Miasmictruth

    Miasmictruth Well-Known Member

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    On second thought where is the moisture sensors on the hygrometer, maybe idea #2 is very bad lol
     
  7. Miasmictruth

    Miasmictruth Well-Known Member

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    For those who live in the US

    hygrometer: (Will have to redesign mount)
    http://www.amazon.com/Instant-Read-...TF8&qid=1462797870&sr=1-6&keywords=hydrometer

    container: (still looking for an affordable option, this is the same container though...)
    http://www.amazon.com/406-Fluid-Rectangular-Container-Handle-50-Cup/dp/B001CMUOBK/ref=pd_sim_79_5?ie=UTF8&dpID=41z-2dMC5OL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160,160_&refRID=11V111KBCHTT9CVPDRXW

    For half the price this container might be used, its much larger though... Possible could hold more spools.
    http://www.amazon.com/IRIS-Weathert...201_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1Q1FA8XZCDBSNDDQQ0C3
     
    #7 Miasmictruth, May 9, 2016
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  8. Miasmictruth

    Miasmictruth Well-Known Member

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    Any idea what an acceptable humidity level is to keep nylon and scaffold?
     
  9. R Design

    R Design Well-Known Member

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    On hygrometers:

    As @Sarah Nicholson points out this one stops working at 20% humidity - and ones I've played with have stopped at 30%. Below that they have nothing to say.

    As far as I know silica gel is capable of getting humidity down VERY low.

    So the hygrometer is really nothing more than an "everything has gone wrong" alert. Which means either you've left the lid off or forgotten to dehydrate the silica after it has become saturated. (My silica has coloured balls mixed in with it that indicate the state of saturation.)

    ps electrical dehydrators are much less effective than silica gel in terms of how low they can drive the humidity.
     
  10. Miasmictruth

    Miasmictruth Well-Known Member

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    Humm didn't think about that the one I ordered apparently goes as low as 10 but probably still not that useful I'd imagine. Thanks for the info. Will silica gel get it 100% printable or would I still need to thrown the nylon in the oven to dry it out before use?
     
  11. Sarah Nicholson

    Sarah Nicholson Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I've seen anything specific. On Taulman's site they talk about reducing humidity to 10% to dry nylon out before using. I try to keep mine below 20% and that seems to work well, not run into any problems with moisture absorption so far.
    Yep, I only really stuck it in because I happened to have half a dozen lying around, although it does provide an early warning that the moisture level is starting to creep up which can be easier to spot than a minor change in the colour of the indicator gel. I think you can probably obsess too much over these things, so far I've not had any problems due to moisture absorption by keeping all my filament below 20% relative humidity, which is already a lot better than the 40-60% it would be exposed to from just lying around in my house.
     
  12. Miasmictruth

    Miasmictruth Well-Known Member

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    Cool, thanks for the info, I have a spool of nylon I have been afraid to remove from the bag lol. I broke down and ordered the container your using, it was either go huge or go small.
     
  13. Miasmictruth

    Miasmictruth Well-Known Member

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    Does the PTFE tubing 4mm OD 2mm ID (Bowden tubing) slide into the bottom of the titan or did you do something special there.
     
  14. Sarah Nicholson

    Sarah Nicholson Well-Known Member

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    That's not a Titan, it's the standard K8400 Bowden extruder (although I have actually swapped the other extruder on it for a Titan). The tube isn't attached to the extruder in any way, I just run the filament from the box through the tube and then feed it into the extruder, and once it starts spooling the tube will be naturally drawn up to the extruder and held in place. You could do exactly the same with the feed tube for the direct extruder.
     
  15. Miasmictruth

    Miasmictruth Well-Known Member

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    lol guess I didn't really look at the extruder oops :)
     
  16. R Design

    R Design Well-Known Member

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    Probably one should distinguish between "get it 100% printable" and "KEEP it 100% printable".

    Baking seems to be the recommended approach for drying out damp filament, though perhaps a low humidity environment will do the trick EVENTUALLY (my hunch is that there's a rate/speed element to this).

    But if it's already dry then the dry box is going to keep it that way!
     
  17. Miasmictruth

    Miasmictruth Well-Known Member

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    Good point that was what I had meant to ask.
     
  18. Mike Kelly

    Mike Kelly Volunteer

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    Great setup! I had a very similar idea as well, but I like your execution a great deal.
     

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