The more improvements and new features added to the Sumpod 3d printer the more I want to use the 3d printer, and adding better filament handling has gone a long way to improve the 3d printer’s ease of use.
The Sumpod’s sturdy construction has allowed me to set up a filament spool rack on the top of the printer, and adding filament feed brackets to guide the filament round to the extruder keeps friction to a minimum during the printer’s operation. This set-up will go a long way to reduce the printer’s set-up and shutdown time because the filament spool can now be left at the printer.
I’ve made the design files available for download from thingiverse should anybody want to use them. The design files might not suit all Sumpod 3d printer configurations, but the designs should provide inspirations to those looking to improve their own filament material handling.
Sumpod 3D Printer outside – are you mad!
Well, to get the best clear pictures, I make the effort to get the Sumpod outside. I have to make sure it’s a dry day though because getting the MDF case damp might upset the printer’s build platform levelling :). I’ve got more features and improvements lined up for this printer so it looks like I’ll be taking it outside a few more times yet.
And the Problems Before - Basically, I had to put the filament spool where I could get it, and that was mostly on the floor in front of the printer. The spool got kicked over a few times due to lack of space and people walking past, and when done printing, I had to remove the filament from the printer and put away the spool until needed next time. I also had to turn the printer side ways facing so that the extruder was a bit more in line with the filament spool. Which made it difficult to check the LCD screen on the front of the printer.
The solution to these problems will allow me to keep the filament set-up on the printer and have a permanent place for the Airtripper’s pocket reel rollers. Having a spool rack on the Sumpod will allow the printer to stay loaded with filament reducing set up and shutdown times.
Sumpod 3D Printer Spool Rack & Guides
Spool Rack - The spool rack legs stand on the ridge just inside the top edge of the Sumpod’s outer casing, and anchored down with small screws. There is an option to have four screws to anchor but I’ve just used one in each leg here. Once the anchor screws are in place there is no need to remove them to take down the spool rack, just slacken off the screws a bit and move each leg inward to remove or to place.
The spool rack shelf is just a scrap piece of 8.6mm ply measuring around 255mm by 100mm, basically the size to fit snugly inside the recess in the top of the Sumpod (after the legs are fitted), and the size to fit the Airtripper’s Pocket Reel Rollers. Having the spool rack stand inside the recess prevent sideways swagger, improving stability. M4 Wing nuts are used to attach the 100mm tall legs to the ply shelf which allows for easy and quick packing for transportation. Due to vibrations from the Sumpod during operation, it was necessary to fix the reel rollers to the shelf to avoid spools or reels toppling over the edge.
Filament Guide - Now that the 3d printer has a spool rack, I needed to set up a filament guide for the extruder driver on the back of the printer. The plan was to use existing fixtures to avoid drilling new holes or making new screw holes in back of the case, spoiling the paintwork.
I suppose any tube that has very low friction properties will do for the filament guide, I used PTFE tube since I have plenty to spare. Tube brackets are in place to hold the PTFE tube in position to guide the filament round to the extruder from the spool. Without a guide, the filament is at risk of folding or breaking when pulled round sharp bends.
I designed two tube brackets, one to fit on to the Airtripper’s Bowden Extruder and one to fit a case fixing bolt on the top corner of the Sumpod 3d printer. The 4mm o.d. tube is in two pieces where one piece fits between the brackets while the other is used to guide the filament in to the first bracket I call the in-feed. The out-feed bracket is the one attached to the extruder driver.
The spool rack is working very well and it is wide enough to hold more than one filament spool. However, narrow spools are at risk of toppling if the printer is used in an area where it could get disturbed, like people bumping in to the table that the printer is on. For a more secure set up, a spool rack could be made using screw rods that attach to the spool’s hub, similar to whats already out there but made to sit on top of the Sumpod 3d printer.
I can’t guarantee that the spool rack is fit for purpose and regular checks may be necessary. If I had to print these again I would make the rack legs a bit thicker and more robust, and I would also add another 20mm to the height to give the Hot End bowden cable more headroom.
Get the files from here: thingiverse